ROYAL ASCOT DAY 1

AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

Exclusive: OISIN MURPHY Royal Ascot Preview | TUESDAY

👑 It’s great to have teamed up with Star Sports for such a special week – Royal Ascot. I’m writing this on my way back from Chantilly on Sunday where I rode a Group Three winner for Mario Baratti which was great. Running Lion ran no sort of race though in the Prix de Diane and even though we were trapped out wide, I was beat turning in. Hopefully she’ll bounce back from that because that wasn’t her running.


Anyway, I’m so looking forward to riding back at Royal Ascot this week. It’s always been a significant week for me even when I was a child. I used to watch at home and see the likes of Kieren Fallon and Jamie Spencer riding winners for Ballydoyle. From an early age I always dreamed of being a part of it.

It’s a place of massive highs and lows. I remember back in 2021 winning the Commonwealth Cup aboard Dragon Symbol and then losing it in the Stewards room. Then, in the very next race, I won the Coronation Stakes for Andrew (Balding) aboard Alcohol Free. That was a hell of a day.

Looking ahead to this year and I feel I’m riding okay. I’ve ridden plenty of seconds this week, which is always frustrating, but I didn’t leave any winners out there at Sandown on Saturday.

The first day of the meeting is always exciting and I’d say of my six rides I’ve a few chances to get on the scoresheet…


BERKSHIRE SHADOW
2.30pm Queen Anne Stakes – Group One

The first of the Group One races is the Queen Anne which I’m yet to win – hopefully Berkshire Shadow  ? (pictured with me below) can rectify that! Andrew has done a brilliant job with this fella and has never lost faith in him. By gelding him (he was never colty), he made him easier to train and slowly built up his confidence again with a couple of nice wins on the all-weather. He ran great in the Lockinge at Newbury where he ran on nicely to be third. I suppose I don’t have to ride him cold, but I’d imagine he will be slowly sneaking into it and will stay on nicely. I’ve plenty of respect for Modern Games who has won all over the world, while Inspiral has been working nicely in the build-up to this apparently. They look the obvious two, but we’ll give it our best shot.

QUEEN ANNE MARKET


SPANISH PHOENIX
3.05pm Coventry Stakes

I’ve teamed up to win the Coventry Stakes with Andrew before (Berkshire Shadow 2021) and we will be trying to repeat the trick with Spanish Phoenix ? . He built on his Kempton debut nicely when winning nicely at Leicester last time. He’s very different to Berkshire Shadow but he’s still improving and has grown up a bit since Leicester. I’m hoping he’ll run well. Looking at the rest and I know Ryan thinks the world of River Tiber as I travel a fair bit with him. However, it will take a good one to beat Asadna. He’s a really nice colt who I sat on in a gallop at Chelmsford a few weeks back.

COVENTRY STAKES MARKET


DESERT COP
3.40pm Kings Stand Stakes – Group One

We were very disappointed with the way this lad ran here at Ascot in the Commonwealth Cup trial back in May, but Desert Cop  ? (pictured when winning with me on AW Finals Day at Newcastle in April) bounced back with a much better showing behind a smart one in Shaquille at Newbury next time. That was much more like what he can do, and I’m convinced he can outrun his odds here. We’d have obviously like to have gone for the Commonwealth Cup but sadly as a gelding he cannot run in that. This race has a great international feel with the Australians back for more but I’m a fan of Highfield Princess. The daughter of Night Of Thunder was a triple Group One winner last season and I thought ran a cracker with her penalty on her return. Jason Hart is in great form too riding a few winners on the weekend.

KINGS STAND MARKET


4.20pm St James’s Palace Stakes – Group One

No ride for me in the St James’s Palace Stakes where it will be fascinating to see how Chaldean gets on from stall one. I actually think that things have worked out well for Frankie here as he will be able to go forward and I’m pretty sure those around him will let him do so. If he is allowed to make the running, he should take some pegging back. I expect Cicero’s Gift ? to run well – it wasn’t what he beat at Goodwood, it was the way he did it. I was taken with the way he ran to the line and he looks a good horse.

ST JAMES’S PALACE STAKES MARKET


URBAN ARTIST
5.00pm – Ascot Stakes

I’m looking forward to riding my aunt’s horse Urban Artist ? for Hughie Morrison in the Ascot Stakes. I finished second on her a few years back and she’s finally back off a similar mark. Hughie has his team in good nick which is a plus and I’m hopeful of a good spin if I can get her settled into a nice rhythm. This is always a tough contest as plenty of jumps trainers target this with one for months in advance.

ASCOT STAKES MARKET


BUCKAROO
5.35pm – Wolferton Stakes

This lad would be my strongest chance on the opening day. Buckaroo  ? (pictured below) ran really well on fast ground in France last time in a Group One. If I’m honest I’d say I definitely hit the front too soon. Joseph (O’Brien) and I have yet to discuss tactics, but I’d say I’m likely to be more patient. It’s always a competitive race and I can see both of Andrew’s (Foxes Tales and Notre Belle Bete) running well if a bit of rain arrives. Saga will be popular as he’s the King’s horse ridden by Frankie Dettori. However, we won’t be far away.

WOLFERTON STAKES MARKET


BERKSHIRE ROCCO
6.10pm – Copper Horse Handicap

My final ride of the day is Berkshire Rocco ? , another one for Andrew. I’m looking forward to it as I think the drop to this trip suits him now. He travelled a little bit close to too strong a pace last time and is better than that. He’s won at Ascot in the past and the handicapper has loosened his grip a fraction. Millie rides him at home everyday and says he’s well. He’s also been doing some fast work with Coltrane and there won’t be anything of his class in here.

COPPER HORSE HANDICAP MARKET


I’ll be back tomorrow. Be lucky.

Oisin


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