Racing: It's a right royal showdown

The Queen and Prince Philip will go head to head with their son and daughter-in-law. Photo / AP
The Queen and Prince Philip will go head to head with their son and daughter-in-law. Photo / AP

The Queen could have seven runners this week as she seeks a 23rd Royal Ascot winner to help fuel her 90th birthday celebrations but she will not be the only one in the royal box hoping to make it into the winner's enclosure.

Charles, Prince of Wales and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, will have their colours carried by two fancied runners trying to give them a first success at the royal meeting.

The Queen's hopes will largely be pinned on the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Dartmouth in Saturday's Hardwicke Stakes, but Carntop will carry equal optimism for her son and daughter-in-law in Friday's King Edward VII Stakes.

The royal rivalry should add to a meeting where this year's special celebrations are being recognised by running Thursday's Gold Cup in the Queen's honour and having a design of Royal Enclosure badges based on her colours. Carntop would have run in the Derby had he won the Lingfield trial instead of finishing second to Epsom fifth Humphrey Bogart.

Trainer Ralph Beckett is hoping the decision to keep the son of Dansili fresh for Royal Ascot bears fruit.

He said: "The Lingfield form is solid. Humphrey Bogart was fifth in the Derby and [Lingfield third] Across The Stars ran well at Epsom [in 10th] for one so inexperienced. Carntop is a decent stayer in the making. He would have run in the Derby if he had won at Lingfield, but after the decision to miss it, this race made perfect sense."

Beckett has trained for the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall since 2007. They are officially also the breeders of the colt, although Carntop was a gift "in utero" when the Duchess was given the pregnant dam Milford Sound by Saudi Arabian Prince Khaled Abdullah, who bred and raced the mighty Frankel.

The Duchess was at York in May when Pacify, a gelding she did breed, was second.

Beckett added: "Pacify has run into two well-handicapped horses on both his runs this season. The Wolferton Stakes is exactly right for him and the stiff 10 furlongs should suit him. The Duchess came to York and is enthusiastic about the whole enterprise."

Although Dartmouth is the Queen's flag-bearer, there will also be great interest in her largely inexperienced team which is big on potential.

Among them is William Haggas-trained Newmarket maiden winner Daphne. She could run in Thursday's Queen's Vase, a race won in 2012 by the Queen's Estimate, 12 months before that mare memorably landed the Gold Cup.

That was the last royal meeting success for the Queen, who landed her first when Choir Boy won the 1953 Royal Hunt Cup.

Haggas said: "Daphne is in the Vase and [shorter] Ribblesdale Stakes. We think she will stay but don't want the Ribblesdale to collapse with the rain. If that scuppered a few smart ones, we'd want to be on the case."

• The TAB will take betting on and provide full coverage of Royal Ascot on Trackside. All races from the five-day carnival will be screened live on Trackside2, starting with the Queen Anne Stakes at 1.30am tomorrow. There there will replays of the races throughout the day during the week. The TAB will provide tote and fixed odds betting on the first three races each day but fixed odds betting only on the later races.

- Daily Mail

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