Maids Causeway wins Coronation Stakes
Westerner Ends Drought For France
Valixir is Magnifique
Order of Running 2005
The quality of the horseracing action on offer during Royal Ascot week remains unsurpassed, and the 2005 meeting at York Racecourse looks to uphold that tradition once again.
The Royal Meeting now includes six Group One and seven Group Two contests, following the elevation of the Coventry Stakes and Queen Mary Stakes to Group Two status and the introduction of a brand new race, The Windsor Forest Stakes, in 2004.
A superb programme on the opening day features two Group One contests, the Queen Anne Stakes, won in 2004 by Godolphin’s Refuse to Bend, and the St James’s Palace Stakes, where Azamour stamped his credentials as a potential champion. From Brigadier Gerard to Rock of Gibraltar, some of the greatest three-year-old colts have won the St. James’s Palace Stakes and the race traditionally features winners of the early season Classics.
The Prince of Wales’s Stakes, over one and a quarter miles, forms the centrepiece on Wednesday and is often the scene for a scintillating clash between the best older horses. This is a race that has produced some great winners in recent times, including Dubai Millennium, World Champions Fantastic Light and Grandera, Nayef and Rakti in 2004.
First run in 1807, Thursday’s highlight, The Gold Cup is the oldest and most prestigious race of the Royal Meeting and over the last two centuries has provided the ultimate test for Europe’s top stayers. Papineau won the 2004 renewal in convincing style to become Godolphin’s fourth winner of the Blue Ribband since 1996.
Friday includes The Coronation Stakes for three-year-old fillies – often a target for winners of the English, Irish and French 1,000 Guineas. The record-breaking dual Guineas heroine Attraction was the star of the show in 2004.
Royal Ascot Saturday provides a great climax to the week, with the sprinters taking centre stage. Fayr Jag won the final Group One race of the meeting in 2004, the Golden Jubilee Stakes, beating a star-studded international field that included the French-trained Crystal Castle and Cape of Good Hope from South Africa.
Add some of the most competitive handicaps of the season, including the Royal Hunt Cup on Wednesday and the Wokingham Stakes on Saturday, and you have five days of exhilarating action that is sure to make Royal Ascot at York 2005 another magnificent and memorable occasion.
York Gold Cup day tickets sell out
York's Royal preparations going well
In order to run races like the Gold Cup over two and a half miles and the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which is over a further two furlongs, the Knavesmire track had to be lengthened.
A fully drained and cambered three furlongs had to be constructed to complete a full circuit of the course.
All the earthworks were finished last month and clerk of the course William Derby said today: "Luckily, all the excavating was done before the rains arrived and we now plan to turf the new part of the track in June.
"It will make the whole circuit 15 furlongs, so the Gold Cup start will be at the five-furlong start and the Queen Alexandra will start from the seven-furlong."
The new surface will be thoroughly tested before next June as Derby explained.
He said: "We plan to have a long-distance race before next year's Royal Ascot fixture, hopefully at next year's May meeting. That would give the turf time to settle, but we would do some trials and gallop some horses on it before then."
A limit of 50,000 paying customers has been put on each of the five days of Royal Ascot at York, but officials at the track still intend to have a free area on some of the 110 acres of the Knavesmire, which is common land.
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