Tepin: winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year at Keeneland
PICTURE: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos
The international runners at Royal Ascot each year are part of the huge excitement at the meeting. This year some stars names from around the globe are set to line up. Here are just some of the big names that we can look forward to seeing…
Age/trainer: 5/Mark Casse
Race: Queen Anne Stakes (4-1f)
Why she’s exciting: A near-flawless record on turf since the start of last year with nine wins from 11 starts. Tactical speed and a sharp change of speed have helped her succeed over tight two-turn miles in the USA, including when winning the Breeders’ Cup Mile last year. Star quality in abundance for the first race of Royal Ascot.
What they say: “I’m in a position where I’m bringing across a filly that is being talked about as one of the all-time best turf females in North American racing and I want her to be able to show that,” Mark Casse, trainer.
Acapulco: a scintillating winner at the royal meeting last season
PICTURE: Coady Photography
Age/trainer: 3/Wesley Ward
Races: King’s Stand Stakes (8-1) or Commonwealth Cup (5-1)
Why she’s exciting: Monstrous filly whose size and speed were something to behold during her two starts in Britain last year – a dominant win in the Queen Mary and a gung-ho attempt to make all in the Nunthorpe. Two wins in two starts this year in preparation for Royal Ascot and set to line up with all guns blazing.
What they say: “She’s very special. Wesley said she’s like a four-year-old, and she rides like one. She’s got a great attitude and loads of pace,” Ryan Moore, rider.
A Shin Hikari: romped to a ten-length victory at Group 1 level in France
PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
Name: A Shin Hikari
Age/trainer: 5/Masanori Sakaguchi
Race: Prince of Wales’s Stakes (2-1f)
Why he’s exciting: ‘Wow’ was the universal reaction in racing to A Shin Hikari’s ten-length destruction of his rivals in the Group 1 Prix d’Ispahan at Chantilly last month, and he is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated international runner at the meeting this year. While winning the Arc remains the Holy Grail for Japan, a first Royal Ascot win would likely send the racing-mad nation into pandemonium, especially as national hero Yutaka Take rides.
What they say: “I will ride my race and let the horse do all the talking,” Yukata Take, talking to The Sun.
Gold Fun: possesses a sharp turn of foot in his races
Country: Hong Kong
Age/trainer: 7/Richard Gibson
Race: Diamond Jubilee Stakes (14-1)
Why he’s exciting: An ex-Irish runner trained in Hong Kong by an Englishman who made his name training in France, yep Gold-Fun is as international as it comes. He is also very fast. While he may be just short of Group 1 level in Hong Kong, a nation that is among the strongest in the world when it comes to sprinters, Gold-Fun still possesses a rapid change of speed and stays further than 6f, an important asset on Ascot’s stiff uphill straight course.
What they say: “We’ve kept this horse very fresh and he runs very well fresh,” Richard Gibson, trainer.
Mongolian Saturday: could take both sprints at Royal Ascot
PICTURE: Getty Images
Horse: Mongolian Saturday
Age/trainer: 6/Enebish Ganbat
Races: King’s Stand Stakes (16-1) and/or Diamond Jubilee (25-1)
Why he’s exciting: Produced one of the best stories of the Breeders’ Cup when winning the Turf Sprint, a first victory at the meeting for a Mongolian-born trainer. Enebish Ganbat, who trains Mongolian Saturday for wealthy businessman Ganbaatar Dagvadorj, formerly trained ponies to race 20 miles in his home country but has proved just as good at trainer fast horses in the US. Down the field in his latest outing, Mongolian Saturday is sure to be primed to run a big race at Ascot next week.
What they say: “I told all my employees to never call him Mongolian Saturday, only the Champion. In my training book, always write Champion,” Enebish Ganbat, trainer.
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