THE Royal Ascot meeting runs from Tuesday to Saturday this coming week but it will take place without the traditional pomp, top hat and tails.
Unfortunately, the racing will go ahead without spectators but there are some mouth-watering clashes throughout the entire meeting.
Tipperary trainer Denis Hogan is sending over his stable star Sceptical who will have the services of Frankie Dettori in a clash with star sprinter Battash.
This horse was a castoff from Godolphin and was bought at the sales for €2,800. Sceptical has won three races at Dundalk before bolting up at Naas this week.
However, talented apprentice Joey Sheridan, who has ridden Sceptical on the previous two occasions, does not meet the criteria to ride in the King’s Stand, and Hogan has turned to one of the best in the business as a replacement.
Hogan said: “A lot of the top jockeys have been ringing throughout the past 24 hours to get the ride at Royal Ascot.
“To be fair to the McAuleys and Jim Gough [owners], they love Joey Sheridan and they were prepared to stick with him, but he doesn’t meet the criteria and their decision has been made for them.
“It’s a pity for Joey but it would have been a very big ask for a 7lb claimer in that company but he’s only young and he’ll have loads of days.”
Hogan added: “It’s wonderful to be able to get one of the best jockeys in the world and I never thought we’d have one going to Royal Ascot that was fancied with Frankie Dettori riding.
“We’re looking forward to it. I’m sure he’ll get a good tune out of him. He came out of Naas well and we’ll look at travelling over there at the weekend. Hopefully he travels well now.
“He’s going to be entered in the Diamond Jubilee as well but if he was at all sore after the King’s Stand and if we aren’t happy, he’s too nice a horse to be risking.
“His first target is the King’s Stand and we’ll see what happens after that.”
It certainly was a weekend to remember for jockey Oisin Murphy who rode Kameko to victory in the 2000 Guineas for Andrew Balding.
Despite running into plenty of traffic problems on route the Champion Jockey powered clear in the final furlong to edge out Frankie Dettori and the Aidan O’Brien trained Withita. Pinatubo went off an odds-on favourite but simply wasn’t good enough on the day.
He wont be the first Champion two-year-old who disappointed in the quest for Classic glory. Kameko is now the 4/1 favourite for the Epsom Derby and connections are likely to take their chance with the son of Kittens Joy.
Of course Aidan O’Brien is likely to have a number of entries including Mogul, Innisfree and possibly Russian Emperor.
Another for the shortlist is the John Gosden trained English King who really impressed at Lingfield. The Derby is still regarded as the greatest Classic of them all and this year’s renewal promises to be a cracker.
Love was a very convincing winner of the 1000 Guineas for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore. She was a standout juvenile for Ballydoyle and gave connections and punters no worries throughout a smooth victory.