Three Group 1s Highlight Royal Ascot Opener Tuesday

For racing fans worldwide, the Royal Ascot meeting has always represented the most elite of racing seasons with each day of the five-day race meeting every year steeped in history and filled with the best horses, trainers and jockeys — not to mention fashion — traditions and royal pageantry.

Royal Ascot Photo.

The Royal Family attending the races during the Royal Ascot meet is a revered tradition

And this year once again His Majesty King Charles III and Queen Camilla, along with many members of the British royal family, will attend to the delight of racing fans and royal watchers alike.

And once again this year top-notch runners from around the globe will be on site to contest the 35 races, of which eight are group 1, beginning on Tuesday, June 18 and concluding on Saturday, June 22. NBC Sports via their Peacock Network will present daily live coverage of Royal Ascot and as usual FanDuel TV will also a team live on site and in studio for their expert analysis.

Also, four of the prestigious races at Royal Ascot are Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win & You’re In” events meaning the winners will receive an automatic berth all-expenses-paid journey to Del Mar for the Breeders’ Cup on November 2 and 3.

Champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is the meet’s top active trainer, having saddled a total of 85 winners since he sent out his first one more than two decades ago. Top jockey Frankie Dettori, is the meet’s leading rider of all time with 80 winners, but will not be in the saddle this week. He will be on site and enjoying the races as a VIP spectator, however.

Also, prize money for Royal Ascot this year will be a record £10 million ($12.7 million) over the week.

The weather in Berkshire this week is expected to be beautiful all weel with highs hovering in the lower 70s, providing what will likely be a firm course.

Breeders’ Cup Challenge Races on Tap Opening Day

The £953,000 ($1.21 million) Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday is a “Win & You’re In” qualifier for the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T) and also part of the British Champions Series, UK’s leading Flat racing series consisting of 35 of the best races across 10 leading racecourses in the United Kingdom.

Named in honor of the founder of Ascot Racecourse and for the meet’s inaugural running in 1840, the Queen Anne boasts an amazing list of winners over the history of the one-mile event, including the legendary runners Ribchester, Declaration of War, Frankel, Goldikova, Cape Cross, Kalanisi, Intikhab, Barathea and Warning. American-based Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse sent champion and Breeders’ Cup heroine Tepin over to England in 2016 to take the victory. In 2020 Circus Maximus won the Queen Anne for his only win of the year and 4 ½ months later capped of his career with a second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1T) at Keeneland. The once-defeated Baaeed was successful in 2022 and the Kevin Ryan-trained Triple Time was first across the finish a year ago.

Eight for St. James’s Palace

The £835,000 ($1.05 million) St. James’s Palace Stakes is also on tap for the initial day of the famed Royal Ascot meet. The event is named after St. James Palace, which used to serve as a royal residence during the Tudor period (1485 to 1603 in England and Wales). It was contested for the first time in 1834 and was initially given group status in 1971. Big names to be acknowledged as previous winners include Kris, Marju, Kingmambo, Grand Lodge, Dr. Fong, Giant’s Causeway, Black Minnalouche, Shamardal, Henrythenavigator, Frankel, Gleneagles, Without Parole, Circus Maximus, Palace Pier and classic winner Paddngton a year ago.

The St. James’s Palace Stakes usually features horses who have previously run in the 2,000 Guineas (G1T), the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (G1T) (French 2,000 Guineas) or the Irish 2,000 Guineas (G1T).

King Charles III Stakes Boasts Impressive List of Past Winners

The other group 1 on the opening-day card is the five-furlong King’s Charles III Stakes (G1T), worth £835,000 ($1.05 million), previously run as the King’s Stand Stakes and another of the British Champions Series. Like all Royal Ascot stakes events, the King Charles III Stakes is deeply rooted in history and boasts a number of global champions as previous winners since it was first run in 1860, including two-time winner and Irish Horse of the Year Sole Power, as well as Scenic Blast, Takeover Target, Choisir, Pivotal, Sheikh Albadou, Last Tycoon. Cartier champion sprinter, Battaash, took home the victory in this event and Hollie Doyle was aboard Bradsell for the win last year.

American filly Lady Aurelia was victorious in 2017 for trainer Wesley Ward, who has had the most success of all foreign trainers at Royal Ascot having saddled 12 winners since 2009.

The first Royal Ascot race on Tuesday leaves the gate at 9:30 a.m ET.

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