As we shuttle towards summer, the sporting calendar gets a whole lot more interesting across the board. Tennis fans have Wimbledon, football lovers have the World Cup to look forward to in Russia and, in July, the 147th Open Championship will keep golf followers happy for a weekend at Carnoustie.
Not to be left in the shade, the sport of kings enjoys Royal Ascot between Tuesday 19th and Saturday 23rd June. A collection of top-class flat races is decided in the glorious sunshine of Berkshire before the watchful eye of the British Royal Family and distinguished guests. What’s more, it’s an open-invitation meet with over 300,000 visiting the festival each year, making it Europe’s best-attended race meeting.
St George v Big Orange – repeat or revenge?
Highlighted by the Ascot Gold Cup on Thursday, this year’s Group One bill-topper is sizing up to be one of the most competitive renewals in living memory, as ante-post favourite Order Of St George looks to gain revenge for a narrow defeat to Big Orange last time.
Aidan O’Brien’s talented six-year-old arrives in great shape, having won four of his five outings since finishing second in this contest 12 months ago, where he was beaten by a short-head. Fancy a punt on the action? You’ll find betting tips ahead of Ascot suggesting Order Of St George can’t be trusted after letting backers down at odds of 5/6 but he has done nothing but improve since, and the 3/1 currently available on him taking revenge ensures plenty of shrewd backers will be in a rather more forgiving mood.
Group one races run on each of the five days
The Gold Cup isn’t the only big race of the week, of course, with a number of Group Ones taking place on each of the five days. Getting off to a fast start, you’ll find the Queen Anne Stakes, King’s Stand Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes run on Tuesday, and the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on the Wednesday.
Then there’s that intriguing Gold Cup to sort through on Thursday before the weekend gets started on Friday with the Commonwealth Cup and Coronation Stakes. If there’s anything left in the betting pot by the time Saturday comes around, there’s to be one final Group One run – the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Harry Angel will be popular on Saturday
The Tin Man won the latter in 2017 off a useful 9/2 and he’s back for more of the same, carrying a bumper 14/1 price tag. James Fanshawe’s pride was ridden to the prize by Tom Queally, with Tasleet second and pre-race favourite Limato making up the medal positions in third. The victor has failed to win another in three goes since – third in the Haydock Sprint Cup Stakes in September the best to show for his efforts.
Recent form goes some way to explaining the price for two-in-a-row, with traders much preferring the chances of Harry Angel. His involvement is yet to be confirmed by trainer Clive Cox but the four-year-old colt brings a CV reading four wins and three seconds from eight starts, ensuring he’ll be popular in the build-up.