The sense of anticipation at Ascot is simply awesome!
15 Oct 2011
The sun is beating down, Ascot looks magnificent, racegoers are pouring in, The Queen will be arriving soon and the stage is set for Frankel and a host of other equine stars to light up Britain's richest ever raceday.
The magnificent winner’s arch at a sun-drenched Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day. Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.
There’s an hour to go before the first race and racegoers are pouring into a sun-drenched Ascot on the richest day in British racing history, when a plethora of equine stars are being prepared for action.
The sense of anticipation on QIPCO British Champions Day can be felt all around the stands and one name is on everyone’s lips – Frankel!
The Sir Henry Cecil-trained phenomenon has been setting the Newmarket gallops alight over the last ten weeks since his demolition of Canford Cliffs in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes, his eighth career victory out of eight.
The big question now is can he make it nine out of nine by blowing away French star Immortal Verse and the highly regarded Excelebration in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes sponsored by QIPCO.
The Queen will be arriving soon to watch the race named in her honour at 3.35pm and and from a quick straw poll of racegoers, the vast majority expect Prince Khaled Abdulla, Frankel’s proud owner, to be the man receiving the magnificent trophy from Her Majesty after the race.
As if that wasn’t enough, there are three championship races to savour before the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, while the richest race ever run in Britain, the £1.3m QIPCO Champion Stakes, follows it at 4.10pm. What an afternoon lies ahead!
Celebrities have also been arriving. TV stars Ant and Dec are here, as is Olympic rowing gold medallist, Tom James, four members of the Great Britain men’s hockey team, Rob Moore, Simon Mantell, Nick Brothers and Richard Alexander, former Olympic swimmer, Sharron Davies, and Rolling Stones guitarist, Ronnie Wood.
Frankie Dettori is here – he’s been to look at the fantastic array of Triumph motorbikes that are on display – and so too are racing legends like Lester Piggott, Pat Eddery, Willie Carson, Kevin Darley and Joe Mercer who have just started signing autographs together with Hayley Turner and Johnny Murtagh.
The going on the track is Good and so far only Bolivia, one of the outsiders in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at 3pm, has been declared a non-runner.
The live BBC coverage starts at 1.35pm on BBC2 and switches to BBC1 at 2.15pm. Don’t miss it!