Royal Ascot – The International Challenge

The story of the Cheltenham Festival is the English V Irish runners, a grudge match that has spanned the generations.  Royal Ascot however has a much wider International feel with runners from the US, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore joining the usual French, German and Irish raiders in 2016.

Here’s a rundown of 10 of the most prominent raiders.


1 – The Gurkha (Ireland) – St James’s Palace Stakes

A wide margin winner of the French 2000 Guineas, a trip to the Derby was briefly on the agenda before connections decided to keep him to a mile and take in this contest.  He looks likely to face English and Irish Guineas winners Galileo Gold and Awtaad respectively in what is shaping up to be one of the races of the week!

2 – Acapulco (USA) –  King’s Stand/Commonwealth Cup

It is not yet clear where Wesley Ward’s speedball will run at the Royal meeting with engagements over both 5 and 6 furlongs.  The shorter trip would look to suit this barrel of a sprinter better but she would be running against her own age group if taking in the Commonwealth Cup.  Wherever she goes, her brutal early speed will be a pleasure to watch.

3 – A Shin Hikari  (Japan) – Prince of Wales’s Stakes

It is not often that a Group 1 is won by a margin of 10 lengths but the level of superiority that A Shin Hikari showed in the Prix D’Ispahan was breathtaking.  It was unsure how suitable heavy ground would be for him that day but it appeared to be no problem.  With quicker ground proving suitable in his native Japan, he could make a huge Ascot impact.

4 – Ervedya (France) – Queen Anne/Duke of Cambridge

Despite being a little disappointing on her return when turned over by Vadamoss, it is hard not to have huge respect for the French filly.  Never out the first 3 in her 11 race career including 7 wins (3 at Group 1 level) she is a fascinating raider with a victory over Found at Royal Ascot in 2015.

5 – Order Of St George (Ireland) – Gold Cup

Yet to run over further than 1m6f but Aidan O’Brien won this race with both Yeats and Leading Light who had also never won beyond that trip.  He has won his last four starts by an average of 7 lengths and he looks an exciting stayer in the making.

6 – Holler (Australia) – Golden Jubilee

Australian sprinters boast a strong pedigree at the Royal meeting and Godolphin’s representative will be looking to add to that.  He has stepped up over the winter to win a Group 3, a Group 2 and then a Group 1 at home and this improving type could be a big player for the boys in blue.

7 – Tepin (USA) – Queen Anne

One of the most highly anticipated International runners will get her chance to shine in the very first race of the week.  She is the cream of the crop in the States and while it is not entirely clear how good her Breeders Cup beating of Mondealiste is compared to the exploits of the Europeans, it will be fascinating to find out.

8 – Qemah (France) Coronation Stakes

A stumble briefly unbalanced her when she was a beaten favourite in the French 1000 Guineas.  The quicker pace of racing in England may allow her to settle a little better while any of the forecast rain falling would play to her strengths.

9 – Gold Fun (Hong Kong) – Golden Jubilee

Richard Gibson’s raider will be glad not to have Chautauqua or Peniaphobia to take on at Royal Ascot.  A Group class winner over a mile, he has been staying on to good effect at the end of 6f races this season.  The slight uphill finish at Ascot could be exactly what he is looking for if able to find the gaps.

10 – Spectre (Germany) Coronation Stakes

5th in the French 1000 Guineas, doing best of those held up off the pace, the German raider is likely to start at a sizeable price for the 3yo fillies contest.  She finished to good effect on that occasion and it could be that the different style of racing here will see her in a better light.

Read the full race preview for all 30 races on our Royal Ascot Betting Tips!

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