Royal Ascot: Three key storylines to watch this week

The Queen herself is hoping to land a winner on Thursday, but plenty of international runners and riders will be looking to make their mark.

Fans are also back at full capacity for 2022, the first time since the pandemic.

Here are three key scenarios to watch over the week…

A royal winner?

In his Jubilee weekend Saturday night speech, Prince Charles made reference to the fact that if events had turned out differently, the Queen might have marked the occasion with a Derby winner.

The horse in question, Reach For The Moon, was a favorite to race but missed the Epsom Classic after suffering a setback earlier in the season. He’s back in form and has a hearty urge in Thursday’s Hampton Court Stakes.

Crowds

It will be the first royal gathering with a full crowd since 2019, although numbers are guaranteed to be down from three years ago as organizers, in a welcome move, have reduced the capacity of several enclosures in a bid to improve the spectator experience.

The question is how far could they fall? Amid the worsening cost of living crisis, several racetracks have reported a drop in attendance this season and at the time of printing tickets are still available at varying tiers for each of the first four days.

International Raiders

One of the attractions of flat racing over its jumping counterpart is its global presence and Royal Ascot is often all the better for a strong international challenge to take on the Brits and Irish.

That has faded since the start of the pandemic, with Australian and Japanese powerhouses not represented last year due to the complexity of quarantine restrictions, but with the usual strong American squadron both are back, Japan seeking a first Royal Ascot winner after breakthrough success at the Breeder’s Cup in the United States last year.


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