It’s sunny! All the amateur John Kettleys at Ascot yesterday got it delightfully wrong. We were supposed to be down in the doldrums until Friday at the earliest but with blue skies overhead Ascot on day 2, this is a much happier place.
I am next to the Daily Express’s Royal correspondent, Richard Palmer, in the press room today. Palmer is a top man and a fount of all royal knowledge. We’ve just been told the Prince William is joining Prince Charles and the Queen in the first carriage today. This makes it the first time in the history of Royal Ascot that the monarch, heir and heir to the heir have all been to Royal Ascot together. I can feel the sense of history on my shoulder (although it might be the bank manager, encouraging me to scale back.)
Tepin was my highlight yesterday — the supermare from the States landed the opening race despite drifting like an unmanned barge in the market. Truly, Royal Ascot is the greatest international festival of Racing in the world. Yes, we celebrate the British traits, but more than that we welcome the international feel.
One guy who has been spotted is the former One Direction star, Niall Horan. He came in with 13 (and I counted them, I think) bodyguards. If we judge Ascot on bodyguard count, Horan is up there with Her Majesty. His navy suit and shiny shades were a bit off-beam but he’s got 25 million twitter followers and if he tells them he’s had a rattling good time, then we should all hold our tongue.
As I type, the Queen is probably exiting Windsor Castle and, guess, what, the snappers have all just run and told us it is tipping down. Do the carriages have windscreen wipers? The blue skies were too good to last, weren’t they.
A Japanese superstar, A Shin Hikari, looks to be the pin-up in today’s feature, the Prince of Wales’s Stakes and is the unfamiliar name on everybody’s lips. He’s odds-on but beginning to drift a little in the market. He’ll have to be good to turn over the ultra-consistent Found under Ryan Moore. The word from the East is this is their greatest horse ever, knocking the likes of Orfevre and Deep Impact into cocked hats. For the sake of the game I hope they’re right. A Japanese winner here today would crown the global appeal of this meeting like never before.
Elsewhere, we’ve barely an hour to go until the Jersey Stakes so if you don’t read this in time, spare a thought for those of us siding with Ribchester who ran out of his skin in the 2000 Guineas a month or so ago. Later in the card, I reckon the Queen has a terrific chance at a price with Make Fast in the Sandringham. The Andrew-Balding trained filly posted her best performance yet at Epsom on Derby Day and can be fancied to improve. If that dream scenario unfolds, will Wills and Kate be whooping for joy? If God is a racing fan, he will allow them both to catch the bug and we will look forward to welcoming the Cambridges back here for many years to come, rain or shine—and today, we have both!