While Royal Ascot has maintained its traditional slot in the racing calendar, this year’s Royal Meeting will not feature its usual pomp and ceremony as the five days of racing takes place behind closed doors from tomorrow.
A total of 36 races will be run at the Berkshire track and Tuesday’s action begins with the re-introduced Buckingham Palace Handicap, a contest that will be run over 7f and has attracted a field of 24 runners, with the John Gosden-trained Daarik likely to go off favourite.
Circus Maximus, winner of last year’s St James’s Palace Stakes, will make his first start of the season in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes against 15 opponents.
His challengers include Accidental Agent, winner of the 2018 running of this race, and Terebellum, who was an eye-catching winner of the Group 2 Dahlia Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month.
Also among the field is the William Haggas-trained Skardu and 2018’s QIPCO 1,000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook.
The other Group 1 on Tuesday is the King’s Stand Stakes and all eyes will be on the Charlie Hills-trained Battaash to see if he can finally get his head in front at Royal Ascot.
In the last two editions of the 5f sprint, the six-year-old son of Dark Angel was denied by the now retired Blue Point. With his old foe out of the picture he should prove very hard to beat.
Glass Slippers, winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye in October, will be bidding to add another top-level race to her record for owner-breeders Bearstone Stud.
Royal Ascot’s card also features the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes over 1m4f, the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes (1m4f) and the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1m).