Royal Ascot running behind closed doors, but Americans ensure international flavor remains.
Even though the pageantry will not be present this year, two notable US owners are sending horses to compete at the festival.
When Royal Ascot starts behind closed doors on June 16, with not a top hat or morning coat in sight, you might imagine that the international competition on the field of play will be, for one year only, restricted to our nearest European neighbors, Ireland and France. One of the great attractions to Australian and American owners is not so much the money, because they can usually win more at home, but the challenge, the occasion and the whole ‘Royal Ascot’ experience; the dressing up, the Royal Procession, the post-race picnic in the car park.
And while, understandably, there will be no raiders from the southern hemisphere this year, it is America which is providing the international flavor. Ascot regular Wesley Ward already has seven two-year-olds stabled at the National Stud in Newmarket while, next Tuesday, Graham Motion’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf winner Sharing will arrive ahead of her run in the Coronation Stakes at the end of the week.
“We said if it worked out we’d do it but if it was complicated we won’t,” said Motion who has engaged man-of-the-moment Oisin Murphy to ride Sharing who warmed up by beating a solid field in a listed race over a mile on the turf at Churchill Downs last month. The filly is the third horse Motion has brought over. His Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom ran in the Queen Anne in 2013 while Miss Temple City finished fourth on two of her three visits to Royal Ascot.
“Really the only tricky part was the 14-day quarantine period for people arriving in the country,” he added. “It means I can’t come but we sent over Alice Clapham on Sunday before that kicked in. She’s English and is going to spend a week with her family so that works. “Sharing is owned by Eclipse Thoroughbreds, which is a big syndicate, and Gainesway Stable so they’d have been normally been there in force. The big thing is that we’re not missing anything here by doing it.
“If she stayed at home there’s only be a couple of Group Threes for her and she might have an advantage because she’ll have had a gap of a month between races while the British horses might not have had a run or only a fortnight to get over it.
“I saw Oisin in Qatar and mentioned we might do it. It’s no slight on Manny Franco but it’s not practical for him to do a 14 day quarantine. So it’s all coming together.”
Murphy, along with Frankie Dettori, will be on the panel of a charity Royal Ascot preview evening hosted by Francesca Cumani from 6.00 on Wednesday. For £10 you can join the preview on zoom by purchasing a ticket for £10 from www.justseats.org.
Racing resumed in Ireland on Monday at Naas. Aidan O’Brien took the first race, a two-year-old maiden, with More Beautiful who won by three and a half lengths. She is now 7-2 favourite for the Queen Mary.
Information and Image have been shared from an Article by Marcus Armytage, Racing Correspondent, published at The New York Times, on June 18th, 2020. Image Credit: Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images, 2020.