Superstars of world racing eye Royal Ascot battleground

| January 30, 2018

Superstars including World Approval target the Royal Ascot meeting.

Horse racing enthusiasts who had been licking their lips at the prospect of seeing a real star of the sport compete at June’s Royal Ascot meeting were dealt a blow when connections revealed they are unlikely to send Winx to the UK.

The Australian-based showstopper, boasting a stunning unbeaten run, was whispered to be interested in a run-out at the Royal meeting in Berkshire, and he had been installed as favourite for the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday 19th, with 4/1 doing the rounds early in the year here on the William Hill site. Handlers don’t fancy making the trip, however, telling the press travelling with a mare could be a big concern.

A let down for those hoping to see the gifted six-year-old in with the best British and Irish racing has to offer but that does blow the early betting market wide-open, with the shortest price taken out of the running. There’s no lack of talent waiting to take her place either, including World Approval, current 8/1 second fav.

Another six-year-old with a glittering CV, the Mark Casse trained gelding would have no problem coming to England and proving his worth. He has carved out a frightening reputation on the other side of the Atlantic, starting 2018 showing five wins in-a-row. That purple patch includes victory at Del Mar late last year in the grade one Breeders Cup Mile.

An 11/4 favourite at the off, he lived up to his billing and then some, crushing the field over the one-mile trip to bank an earth-shattering winners’ cheque. Second home that day was Aidan O’Brien’s charge Lancaster Bomber, runner-up at the Royal meeting last year when following Barney Roy home in the St James’s Palace Stakes.

If fans had their way, Ascot would be opened by a decider between international heavyweights Winx and World Approval, and what a clash that would be. Never say never but it has become highly unlikely.

Prefer something a bit more familiar, or perhaps just a selection at a bigger price? The Andrew Balding sharpened Beat The Bank has been quoted in the early exchanges, available at double-figure odds. He may only be a three-year-old, with a limited number of runs in the book but, what he lacks in experience, he more than makes up for in ambition.

Having won five of his first seven, Beat The Bank was too good for a decent field on debut at Dundalk in a maiden over seven furlongs, winning by 2 ¾ lengths, and that was a taste of things to come. He scored in the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at Newmarket and the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood, both over a mile, before completing the hat-trick when posting a personal best in the Shadwell Joel Stakes in September of last year.

A step up in class ended without incident, finishing down the pecking order in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes over track and trip towards the end of 2017, despite being well quoted in the pre-race betting. Excuses can, and have, been made for the bare result, but connections will be eager to prove their pride has what it takes to take on the best the world has to offer in this sphere.

Category: Betting, International

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