Tuesday’s opening day kicks things off with a glittering array of stars on show across a card that differs slightly from tradition. The enhanced 36-race schedule starts with seven races on the first afternoon, including two Group 1 contests.
The Queen Anne Stakes (race two, 13:50) is an early-season chance to lay claim to the champion miler title and has been won in recent years by such legends as Frankel and Goldikova. This year’s star attraction is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Circus Maximus – a dual Group 1 winner in 2019, including in The St James’s Palace Stakes at last year’s Royal Ascot. He is warm favorite to follow up here but faces a host of talented rivals, including the 2019 Lockinge Stakes winner Mustashry, and Terebellum for Frankie Dettori and John Gosden.
The second Group 1 race on Tuesday, The King’s Stand Stakes (race five, 15:35), revolves around the flying machine that is the odds-on favorite Battaash. The top-class sprinter will be seeking to make it third time lucky at the Royal Meeting, having been edged out in the last two runnings of this race by the brilliant Blue Point.
With his old rival now retired, it will be a shock if the six-year-old Battaash doesn’t get his head in front in one of the most prestigious five-furlong sprints of the season. As always at Royal Ascot, there are plenty of quality horses in opposition, headed here by Glass Slippers. Kevin Ryan’s speedy filly finished 2019 on a real high, winning three consecutive pattern races in France, the last of which was the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbeye de Longchamp Longines. She defeated a below-par Battaash on that last start and shouldn’t be underestimated, with conditions likely to suit her.
In a slightly revised running order, the two Grade 1s on Tuesday are complemented by a trio of Group 2 contests: The Ribblesdale Stakes (race three, 14:25) and The King Edward VII Stakes (race four, 15:00) in which we will see several runners engaged in the Oaks and the Derby respectively, and The Duke of Cambridge Stakes (race six, 16;10), which looks like one of the most competitive races of the entire meeting. With two valuable handicaps bookending the card (13:15 and 16:40), we’re all set for a thrilling first afternoon.
All 36 races across the Royal Meeting will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Racing, with 31 shown live on ITV1.
As well as being able to watch the action live, you can join us in celebrating Royal Ascot 2020 via our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels and the official Ascot app.
Royal Ascot Press Release
Photo credit: Ascot Racecourse