ROYAL ASCOT started yesterday as scheduled in the racing calendar but behind closed doors, so Solario Racing hosted a “Royal Ascot At Home” and we were delighted that the event raised £300 for the local homeless charity, DENS.
There was no crowd, no royal procession or pageantry, the Queen missed Royal Ascot for the first time in her 68-year reign and the meeting began not with the traditional curtain-raiser, the Queen Anne Stakes but with the Buckingham Palace Handicap.
However, not daunted by the new feel royal meeting, around 25 Owners and local business people gathered on Zoom at 10am for a first day preview ahead of the Solario Racing tipster competition. Jockey Sophie Ralston joined us during her morning break to talk about the course, the advantage of the draw and she also gave the names of one or two horses she was looking forward to riding this year.
Most people dressed up and we had award-winning milliner, Mary Spiteri to judge the Best Hat competition which went to Jane O’Gorman of local recruitment company, Ten2Two, so she was the winner of a bottle of champagne. As for the racing, somethings never change with Frankie Dettori doing a flying dismount after winning the Ribblesdale on the impressive and “could be anything” Frankly Darling. The stars of the show were undboutedly owners, Sheikah Hamdan and retained jockey, Jim Crowley who rode a 118/1 treble for his owner, aboard Motakhayyel, Battash and Nazeef. At last, the fastest horse in the world, Battash overcame the King’s Stand hoodoo to win at the third attempt.
We reconvened via Zoom at 5.15 to find out the winner of the tipster competition. Yours truly did not cover himself in glory finishing a never threatening mid-div but the winner was Laura Devine, who generously donated the £150 winning prize to DENS. Laura was a guest of Rayden Solicitors, who kindly took 9 tickets for the event.
It was Royal Ascot with a difference but the racing was superb, covered expertly by the ITV team and a very worthwhile, charity, DENS, was the overall winner.