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Favourites Dominate Royal Ascot Opener

Wednesday, 17th June 2020

Despite being unable to attend crowd-free Royal Ascot, racing fans around the world have celebrated the opening day of the iconic five day meeting in England in fine style. From the opening feature to the last there were mostly champagne results. Ballydoyle’s Circus Maximus struck first when Circus Maximus Galileo) scrambled home by a head in the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes (1 mile). Anthony Oppenheimer’s Frankly Darling (Frankel) was sent off a short-priced favourite for the Gr2 Ribblesdale Stakes (10 furlongs), with the John Gosden-trained filly in complete command – see below. Bookmakers were given some respite when Pyledriver (Harbour Watch) scored in the Gr2 King Edward VII Stakes (10 furlongs) before Battaash (Dark Angel) finally got his Gr1 King’s Stand Stakes (5 furlongs) victory with an effortless display. Owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum celebrated a memorable double forty-five minutes later when his mare Nazeef (Invincible Spirit) proved best of three runners trading at around $4.00 in the Gr2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1 mile). Looking improbable six weeks ago, Royal Ascot’s return – albeit behind closed doors – has brought some cheer in the United Kingdom which has been particularly hard hit by Covid-19.

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