The blazing temperatures have resulted in Ascot adjusting their dress code and gentlemen can remove their hats and jackets … but not until the Royal Procession has floated past at 2pm!
Queen to miss Ascot again
The Queen has three runners today – her trainers were put on Platinum Jubilee year alert for this meeting well in advance – but she is again not going to be here, according to reports. The Daily Mail’s royal correspondent must have had a sneak look at the Royal Procession list as she is “expecting some glamour in the carriage procession”. The betting with olbg.com was 2-1 for the Queen to attend on Friday. Presumably the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have now gone odds-on.
… er, there isn’t any. It’s hot, hot, hot everywhere, as the front-page of the Racing Post reflects, and it’s Groundhog Day where the ground is concerned. The going at Royal Ascot is Good to Firm (again).
GoingStick readings at 8am:
Stands side: 8.7
Far side: 8.8
The far side (the higher the number the quicker the ground) is slightly quicker but there’s not much in it. Clerk of the course Chris Stickels has had a quiet week (so far).
Good morning from Ascot, ahead of what promises to be one of the hottest days at the Royal meeting for many years – so much so, in fact, that the famous dress code has been relaxed, and racegoers will be allowed to remove jackets, ties and hats in all enclosures this afternoon (once the Royal procession has made its way down the course, at any rate).
The first – and only other – time that Ascot felt the need to resort to such extreme measures was 2017, when the rule on jackets was relaxed on the hottest day at the meeting for 20 years. This year’s relaxation goes further still, with temperatures at the track forecast to peak at around 31C in mid-afternoon.
The British Horseracing Authority’s precautionary measures to ensure the welfare of both human and equine competitors will be in place, with extra cooled water and ice available, areas of shade available before and after horses race and earlier access to stables to allow trainers to travel horses early and avoid the worst of the heat.
There are several big fields on today’s card, with 28 runners in the handicaps at 5.00 and 6.10 and 20 declared for the Group One Commonwealth Cup at 3.05. That could well be one of the best races all week, with runners from four countries – Britain, Ireland, France and the USA – and most of the field going to post with at least one piece of form that gives them a chance.
Elsewhere on the card, the field for the Coronation Stakes includes the 1,000 Guineas winners from Britain (Cachet) and France (Mangoustine) but neither is likely to start favourite as Inspiral, last year’s best juvenile filly, is finally ready to make her three-year-old debut.
The Queen, meanwhile, has three more chances to land her 25th Royal winner in her Platinum Jubilee year, with Just Fine, in the Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes at 3.40, by far the best of them according to the bookies. Sir Michael Stoute’s gelding is vying for favouritism at around 5-1, while Discretion, in the Sandringham Stakes at 5.00 and Spring Is Sprung, in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap at 6.10, are priced up in double figures at 16-1 and 22-1 respectively. Victory for any of her three runners would be a “hats off” moment – or it would, if they hadn’t all been removed already.
The action will be under way with the Albany Stakes at 2.30, and you can follow it all here on the blog as the mercury rises and another thrilling day at the Royal meeting unfolds.