Royal Ascot 2015: Overview & Race Schedule for All Five Days
The highlight of the summer season, Royal Ascot begins Tuesday and runs through Saturday.
Daily selections for all of Royal Ascot’s Group races are free at Brisnet.com, with Tuesday’s sheet already available and Wednesday’s due to be posted this evening.
To map out the scene, here’s the race schedule for the five-day stand. Six races are carded each day, and all times are ET.
Tuesday starts off with a terrific clash between Hong Kong star Able Friend and Freddie Head’s Solow in the Queen Anne (G1). The one-mile test down the straight is the first race of the whole meeting, set for 9:30 a.m.
Next up at 10:05 a.m. is the six-furlong Coventry (G2) for two-year-olds. Wesley Ward sends out Finnegan versus Jim Bolger’s well touted Round Two and Aidan O’Brien’s Air Force Blue. But with a giant field of 18, there’s no shortage of promising types.
At 10:40 a.m., Sole Power aims to become the first three-time King's Stand (G1) winner. To make history, he’ll have to overcome 18 challengers, led by Muthmir, Mecca’s Angel, G Force and Australia’s Shamal Wind.
Rounding out the top-level events on opening day is the St James's Palace (G1) for three-year-old milers at 11:20 a.m. O'Brien's Gleneagles, the English and Irish 2000 Guineas winner, is heavily favored to complete the hat trick over Ascot’s round course. But he faces another classic winner, Make Believe from the Andre Fabre yard, who was supplemented after wiring the French 2000 Guineas.
The last two races on Tuesday are the 2 ½-mile Ascot S., a handicap, at noon and the five-furlong Windsor Castle for juveniles at 12:35 p.m. As ever, both feature contentious fields – the Ascot has 20 and the Windsor Castle has just the 27.
Wednesday was to have marked California Chrome’s appearance in the marquee race, the Prince of Wales’s (G1), but in a late-breaking development Monday, the U.S. Horse of the Year will probably be out with a foot bruise. But this being Royal Ascot, fans still have a lot to savor on day two.
The Jersey (G3) at 9:30 a.m. looks like a good opportunity for Ivawood to regain the winning thread after placing third to Gleneagles in the English and Irish Guineas, but the seven-furlong affair has lured a few other solid sophomores among his 15 opponents.
Holding even more intrigue is the Queen Mary (G2), a five-furlong dash for two-year-old fillies at 10:05 a.m. If you can land on the right ones in this ferociously competitive field of 23, you’ll be well rewarded.
Older distaffers then take the stage in the Duke of Cambridge (G2) at 10:40 a.m. Beverly D. winner Euro Charline tackles defending champion Integral and course specialist Rizeena in the contest on the straight mile.
Even without California Chrome, the Prince of Wales's (11:20 a.m) has global appeal. The 1 1/4-mile prize features contenders from Ireland (favored Free Eagle), France (Ectot and Gailo Chop), Japan (Spielberg) and Australia (Criterion) along with a stout home defense from The Grey Gatsby, Western Hymn and Cannock Chase.
Day two wraps up with a pair of handicaps on the straight mile course – the Royal Hunt Cup at noon and the Sandringham, a listed stakes for three-year-old fillies, at 12:35 p.m.
Thursday kicks off with the five-furlong Norfolk (G2) for juveniles at 9:30 a.m., followed by the Tercentenary (G3) for sophomores over 1 1/4 miles at 10:05 a.m.
By longstanding tradition, Thursday is dubbed “Ladies’ Day,” but the day’s only race restricted to females is the Ribblesdale (G2) for three-year-old fillies (10:45 a.m.). Irish 1000 Guineas star Pleascach looms large in her first try at this 1 ½-mile distance, which could propel her to the Irish Derby against the boys.
Highlighting day three is the world’s most prestigious race for stayers, the 2 1/2-mile Ascot Gold Cup (11:20 a.m.). Dermot Weld’s unbeaten Forgotten Rules is favored – if he runs (needs the ground to have a bit more give than it does at present).
A pair of sophomore handicaps comprise the remainder of the card – the Britannia at a straight mile (noon) and the King George V over 1 1/2 miles (12:35 p.m.)
Friday begins with the Albany (G3) for juvenile fillies at six furlongs (9:30 a.m.) and the 1 ½-mile King Edward VII (G2) for three-year-olds (10:05 a.m.).
Perhaps the most anticipated race on day four is the inaugural Commonwealth Cup (G1) for sophomore sprinters (10:40 a.m.). Ward’s BC Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny and fellow American Cyclogenisis will line up in the hot six-furlong test, which is also expected to attract star fillies Tiggy Wiggy and Anthem Alexander and top colts Adaay, Muhaarar and Limato.
Graham Motion shipper Miss Temple City takes on Europe's best three-year-old filly milers in the Coronation S. (G1) at 11:20 a.m., where her leading rivals include Ervedya, Found and Lucida.
Following in the race order is the Duke of Edinburgh (noon), a 1 1/2-mile handicap, and the two-mile Queen’s Vase, a listed stakes for aspiring three-year-old stayers (12:35 p.m..
On Saturday, two-year-olds contest the seven-furlong Chesham (9:30 a.m.) and older horses square off over 1 1/4 miles in the Wolferton, a listed handicap (10:05 a.m.).
Telescope bids to repeat in the Hardwicke (G2) at 10:45 a.m., but he could face a sterner test this time from the likes of Eagle Top and Postponed in the 1 1/2-mile affair.
The six-furlong Diamond Jubilee (G1) is the main attraction on this concluding day at 11:20. Australia's Brazen Beau and Wandjina, Ireland’s Mustajeeb and Gordon Lord Byron, and Ward's Undrafted lend it a truly international flavor.
The Wokingham, a handicap held over the same six-furlong trip, comes next (noon), and the Royal meeting’s curtain-closer is the Queen Alexandra (12:35 p.m.), a conditions race held over the quaint trip of two miles, five furlongs and 159 yards.
Remember to check out the free Daily Selections on Brisnet -- I'm scribbling the Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday cards, while my colleague Vance Hanson guides you through Thursday and Friday.