The opening day of Royal Ascot is arguably the best of the week, with three of the eight Group 1 contests being decided on day one. The card opens with the Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile, a contest that has seen English, Irish, French and American winners in the last five years. Ballydoyle will think they have the 2018 winner in the shape of Lockinge victor, Rhododendron, who arrives looking for her fourth Group 1 success.

There are plenty of speedballs on the card, with the Coventry for juveniles over six furlongs and the King’s Stand over the flying five following the Queen Anne. Lady Aurelia will be the star on show in the latter, back to defend her title and looking to win at Royal Ascot for the third year on the bounce. The American runner is one of the quickest seen in recent years and while she has been a little disappointing since her 2017 victory, Wesley Ward will no doubt have her spot on, on her return to Berkshire.

The feature race on day one of Royal Ascot is the St James’s Palace Stakes, run over a mile. A race that has seen five odds on winners in the past decade, the 2018 contest has a more open look to it, with John Gosden’s unbeaten Without Parole looking to make the big step up from a Listed win to a Group 1.

A very competitive handicap, the Ascot Stakes over two and a half mile comes up at 5.00pm, a race that saw Thomas Hobson land a gamble for Willie Mullins in 2017. Mulins also won the race in 2012 and 2015, so a runner for the master of Closutton has to be as highly respected at Royal Ascot as they are at the Cheltenham Festival.

The day one card closes out with a Listed contest over ten furlongs in the shape of the Wolferton Stakes where John Gosden has been the man to follow in recent years, winning three of the last seven renewals. One day down and four to go, punters will be looking to get on top on the opening day with plenty of top class action to get stuck into.

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