GBI RACING

5 things we learned on the opening day of Royal Ascot

Rain did not dampen the spirits on the opening day of Royal Ascot

Queen Anne offers more questions than answers

Lord Glitters (grey) comes out on top in the Queen Anne
Lord Glitters (grey) comes out on top in the Queen Anne (Mike Egerton/PA)

Before the Queen Anne, the mile division was searching for a star and it still is after a blanket finish went the way of David O’Meara’s six-year-old, who had previously had plenty of chances to stamp his class. The first three home were priced at 14-1, 20-1 and 20-1.

Masterful O’Brien lands the Coventry, again

Arizona swooped fast and late to win the Coventry
Arizona swooped fast and late to win the Coventry (Adam Davy/PA)

While it was not a performance to match the ‘wow’ factor of Calyx 12 months ago, Arizona looked a colt with a real future after getting going late on to provide Aidan O’Brien with a ninth win in the Coventry Stakes. The further he goes, the better he promises to be.

Battaash finds Ascot a bridge too far once more

Blue Point again had Battaash (striped cap) behind him
Blue Point again had Battaash (striped cap) behind him (Adam Davy/PA)

The general  consensus is that Battaash is just about the fastest horse in training – but he has come up short against Blue Point in the last two renewals of the King’s Stand Stakes and having tried to make all last year and come from behind this, there appears little argument that over course and distance Blue Point is the better of the two.

Never doubt the Coolmore operation

Circus Maximus held off King Of Comedy in the St James's Palace Stakes
Circus Maximus held off King Of Comedy in the St James’s Palace Stakes (Adam Davy/PA)

When Circus Maximus won the Dee Stakes at Chester, few would have marked him down as future St Jame’s Palace winner. Having finished sixth in the Derby, Aidan O’Brien took what seemed a drastic decision to drop him half a mile in trip and put a pair of blinkers on. Of course, he obliged at 10-1.

First of many?

The Grand Visir provided Ian Williams with a breakthrough victory
The Grand Visir provided Ian Williams with a breakthrough victory (Adam Davy/PA)

Ian Williams can lay claim to being the best dual-purpose trainer in Britain and registered his first Royal Ascot winner when The Grand Visir defied top-weight and landed something of a gamble in the Ascot Stakes. He has now joined an elite list of trainers who have tasted success at both the Cheltenham Festival and Royal Ascot.

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