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Ascot - Horse Racing: Five to Look For

It's the most prestigious meeting of the British summer and Royal Ascot is set to dominate the racing landscape next week.

The Berkshire course will be packed to the rafters, with this year's meeting set to incorporate the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

They've got five days of top class action, laced with Group 1 races and devilish handicaps in equal measure.

What: Royal Ascot

Where: Ascot Racecourse, Berkshire

When: Tuesday 14th-Saturday 18th June, 2022

How to watch: ITV Racing, Sky Sports Racing or bet365 Live Stream

Odds: Trueshan 7/2 (Ascot Gold Cup), Baaeed 1/3 (Queen Anne Stakes), Golden Pal 15/8 (King's Stand Stakes)

With the Royal Ascot countdown now firmly into the home straight, we've picked out five horses to look out for at the meeting next week.

Baaeed, Queen Anne Stakes - Tuesday 14th June, 14:30

What an opening to the Royal meeting on Tuesday as racing's superstar in the making Baaeed goes for the Queen Anne, a race he's already 1/3 to win.

The William Haggas-trained son of Sea The Stars won six out of six last season as a three-year-old, culminating with Group 1s at Longchamp in September and on British Champions Day at Ascot in October.

In the latter, the Shadwell-owned colt got up by a neck to foil Palace Pier, widely viewed as the leading miler in Europe at that point, in the QEII Stakes.

In May, Baaeed returned to action with a power-packed success in the Lockinge at Newbury, easily pulling clear of the field. He's unbeaten and comparisons with Frankel have started to become the norm.

The Group 1 Queen Anne gives him a chance to emulate that modern-day great still further.

Native Trail, St James's Palace Stakes - Tuesday 14th June, 16:20

Charlie Appleby last month referenced the St James's Palace Stakes as 'the last race where three-year-olds can take each other on at that level over a mile' and the opening day Group 1 could be a mouth-watering occasion if he fires his big guns at it.

The Godolphin handler did just that in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, where Coroebus upset his more fancied stablemate Native Trail in a one-two for Appleby.

Hitherto unbeaten and the champion two-year-old from last season, Native Trail had no answer to Coroebus, as James Doyle's mount readily fended off William Buick's colt, the pair clear of Luxembourg.

It looked a good 2000 Guineas at the time and Native Trail has already done his bit for the form in winning the Irish version at the Curragh, completing a sweep of English, French and Irish Guineas for Appleby in doing so.

Native Trail was too strong in Ireland and it's widely accepted he wasn't done any favours at Newmarket in racing on the wrong part of the track in the Rowley Mile Classic.

Appleby hinted he could be St James's Palace Stakes-bound after his Curragh win and he's 13/2 to land the Royal Ascot contest, while Coroebus trades at 4/9.

Stradivarius, Ascot Gold Cup - Thursday 16th June, 16:20

Stradivarius is widely accepted as the finest stayer of his era and on Thursday next he'll have a second chance to try and emulate Yeats by winning his fourth Ascot Gold Cup.

Winner of the Royal Meeting's crown jewel in 2018, 2019 and 2020 - things didn't go to play for Stradivarius last summer as he finished only fourth in a race won by Mark Johnston's Subjectivist.

Frankie Dettori perhaps would have reflected on traffic woes in the middle part of the race, but Stradivarius simply didn't have the turn of foot we had come to associate with him on that day.

Victories at York and Doncaster followed, but he was twice behind Trueshan at Longchamp and Ascot in the autumn as it seemed the mileage on the clock had started to take a toll.

Now aged eight, Stradivarius returned last month with a smooth success in the Yorkshire Cup and is 4/1 regain the Ascot Gold Cup.

It won't be easy, with Alan King's Trueshan at 7/2 and rising star Kyprios at 7/2, while popular Irish runner Princess Zoe is 12/1 for Tony Mullins.

Stradivarius is hugely popular in his own right and, allied to have the Frankie factor, he's assured a tidal wave of support in his quest for a slice of Gold Cup history.

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Golden Pal, King's Stand Stakes - Tuesday 14th June, 15:40

It wouldn't be Royal Ascot if there wasn't a speedball trained by US handler Wesley Ward being heavily touted.

Ward is renowned for his handling of precocious speed merchants and he is no stranger to Royal Ascot success.

Golden Pal is 15/8 to win the King's Stand Stakes on Tuesday and his trainer feels he's ready to roll.

Narrowly beaten by The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes in 2020, Golden Pal missed Ascot last summer and was only fifth in York's Nunthorpe Stakes in August - ensuring he's failed to win in two starts on British soil.

He ended last season with a Breeders' Cup win and began with further success at Keeneland in April and Ward has labelled him the 'best he has trained' and the 'fastest of the fast' in the Royal Ascot countdown and it will be interesting to see if that faith is repaid.

Toshizou, Royal Hunt Cup - Wednesday 15 th June, 17:00

The handicaps at Royal Ascot are notoriously tough. Big fields are assured and plenty can rest on a good draw.

It's a mild surprise that Joseph O'Brien hasn't got his name to a winner at this meeting as a trainer, given what he has achieved elsewhere already, but that is surely only a matter of time.

One who could run well for him is Toshizou in the Royal Hunt Cup on Wednesday and he's currently 14/1 in the betting.

The Galileo colt has only raced seven times and remains open to plenty improvement. He was well-held when fancied in the Irish Cambridgeshire last summer, but returned with a near miss at Limerick in April off a mark of 95, only denied by a rival getting lots of weight.

He's got stamina on his side, a positive for the Hunt Cup, and is taken to build on that pleasing comeback run. O'Brien is a fine target-trainer and a race such as this may have been in his thinking for a while.

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