Terebellum and Frankie Dettori aim to get Godolphin off to flying first day at Royal Ascot
The event might be lacking the glamour, glitz and spectators this year due to Covid-19, but the quality pf racing remains top-notch
Royal Ascot remains one of Britain’s celebrated sporting and social events – a spectacular horse-racing meeting that is renowned across the world.
However, the five-day meeting, starting on Tuesday with two Group 1s and three Group 2s, will not to be the same this year due to the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Queen Elizabeth II will not attend and there will be no fans in watching from the stands.
Although it will miss the glamour and festive atmosphere that is synonymous with Royal Ascot, the quality of the races remain high as ever in an expanded card of 36 races (previously 30) across the five days.
The highlight on Day 1 is the Queen Anne Stakes and the King’s Stand Stakes, the two Group 1 prizes that are on offer.
Godolphin – the hugely successful racing operation owned by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai – has several of their top stars lined up across the five days, but carrying their hopes in the Queen Anne Stakes, the first of the two Group 1 prizes, in the opening day is Terebellum.
Trained by John Gosden with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, the four-year-old Sea The Stars filly arrives after an impressive victory in the Group 2 Dahlia Fillies Stakes at Newmarket as recently as June 6.
She may find Aidan O’Brien’s Circus Maximus, winner of two Group 1 prizes, as her biggest challenge. But Terebellum’s connections believe she holds a realistic chance with a recent run under her belt to provide the royal blues a flying start in the meeting.
“Terebellum won well at Newmarket and has a lot of speed,” Gosden told godolphin.com. “I think a straight, stiff mile will suit her and she has been in great form since the Dahlia Stakes.”
Godolphin doesn’t have an entry in the King’s Stand Stakes but Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Battaash clearly is a leading candidate for the sprint prize.
Denied by Godolphin’s Blue Point in the last two years in the race, the six-year-old Dark Angel gelding can be third time lucky in the absence of the royal blues’ sprint sensation, who was retired to stud after winning the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the same meeting four days later.
Gallery of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid at Royal Ascot
Godolphin’s Magic Lily, third behind Terebellum in her most recent start, runs in the Group 2 Duke Of Cambridge Stakes, also over the straight mile on the same card.
Charlie Appleby’s New Approach mare started her year with three excellent performances at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
“We were pleased with Magic Lily’s first European run of the season in the Dahlia Stakes, when she ran a good race under a penalty,” Appleby said.
“She has come out of that well and we feel that the drop back to a mile is within her compass, as she won the Cape Verdi over the same distance.
“She has a penalty again but a repeat of any of her performances so far this year is going to make her very competitive.”
Sheikh Hamdan’s Nazeef is expected to challenge the Godolphin mare as he steps up to Group level after stretching his winning streak to four at Kempton Park two weeks ago.
Updated: June 16, 2020 08:36 AM