Royal Ascot thrives on international competition. So it was hard to believe it had been 10 years since the great Australian mare Black Caviar graced British shores. The way her compatriot Nature Strip lit up day one in the King’s Stand Stakes will surely open the floodgates for more challengers in the coming years.
On a thrilling first afternoon – where crowds returned to the showpiece fixture in their thousands following the pandemic – Baaeed started the meeting in style with a straightforward win in the Queen Anne Stakes, while Coroebus followed up his 2000 Guineas triumph in a blanket finish to the St James’s Palace Stakes. The pair could now meet in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
All that somewhat overshadowed another Royal Ascot victory for Hollie Doyle on Bradsell – but you get the feeling there will be plenty more of those to come.
There might be for young Callum Hutchinson, too, as the apprentice rider enjoyed a moment he will never forget in guiding Coltrane to a narrow success over favourite Bring On The Night and Ryan Moore in the Ascot Stakes.
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Wednesday’s highlight is without question the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. Fresh from Derby glory, Sir Michael Stoute fields the favourite in the progressive Bay Bridge. It is far from a walkover, however. Japanese challenger Shahryar, Lord North and the globetrotting State Of Rest, plus the French mare Grand Glory, all hold chances.
There is also a stellar renewal of the Queen Mary in store with 12 fillies defending unbeaten records.