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The Armchair Jockeys: Royal Ascot
The Armchair Jockeys: Royal Ascot
Sporting Life


The Armchair Jockeys' are back ahead of Royal Ascot and they've previewed the seven Group One races at the meeting, all part of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

The videos include interviews with British-based trainers Roger Charlton, Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden, Mick Channon, Marco Botti and Brian Meehan, as well as John Oxx from Ireland and Paul Messara from Australia.

There are also interviews with Prince Khalid Abdulla's racing manager, Lord Grimthorpe, and Trevor Cruz from Hong Kong, assistant trainer to his father, Derek Cruz.

The two best racehorses in the world, Frankel and Black Caviar, in effect open and close the world's most iconic race meeting, respectively in the Queen Anne Stakes on Tuesday (June 19) and Diamond Jubilee Stakes on Saturday (June 23).

Armchair Jockey pundit Steve Mellish, who is joined in the programme by co-presenters Rishi Persad and Lydia Hislop, said: "I just want to see a great horse start the meeting and a great horse finish the meeting. That'll do'me."

Click on the links below to watch the Armchair Jockeys videos:

Queen Anne Stakes

Lord Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Prince Khalid Abdulla, said of Frankel: "He's got this incredible stride... You see it in his races. He's taking one stride while the other horse behind him is just having to do that little bit extra just to keep up."

Of running over a mile in the Queen Anne Stakes and waiting until later in the season before stepping Frankel up in trip, he said: "I don't know of a Group One race that is a penalty kick - even for Frankel."

He added: "I think from the Prince's point of view, he wants to let Henry [Cecil, his trainer] make him as good as he can be."

King's Stand Stakes

Roger Charlton clearly prefers to run Bated Breath in the King's Stand rather than the Diamond Jubilee Stakes: "I think his best chance will be in the King's Stand."

He confesses that he's "a bit fed up of finishing second in Group One races and it's my job to make Bated Breath a stallion."

Of Bated Breath's win in the Temple Stakes, the first race in the Sprint division of the QIPCO British Champions Series, he said: "I was impressed... He was always winning the race. He showed terrific speed two [furlongs] out. He was absolutely flying... And it was a course record, which is great."

He added: "He's a sweet, charming horse."

Australian raider Paul Messara also prefers his chances with Ortensia in the King's Stand Stakes over taking on Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee.

He says: "The stiff five furlongs is probably similar to a six-furlong at home, so we feel that's probably her most suited trip."

Of her Dubai success in the Al Quoz Sprint, he says: "I think it was probably the best win of her career to date."

He concludes: "The fact is I do think she's better than ever."

Trevor Cruz is the assistant trainer to his father, Derek, who is based in Hong Kong and has sent over Joy And Fun to contest the King's Stand Stakes.

The nine-year-old horse has battled back to form following a serious injury two years ago, after which he was operated on at Newmarket.

Trevor Cruz says: "At that stage, we were just thinking of the horse to make sure he gets through this all right... He went back to Hong Kong... in his first few runs... he'd lost a bit of confidence [but] when he could think of using his leg again, he's come back."

St James's Palace Stakes

Brian Meehan runs the unbeaten and improving Cogito.

He said: "He's got a really good finishing style. He grinds it out...He's got an excellent temperament, he's very straightforward, an easy horse to deal with."

Of Cogito's win in the Heron Stakes last time, he observed: "Frankie [Dettori] set out at Sandown to teach him a little more. I think he could probably have won easier... if that hadn't been the case."

John Gosden could run all three of his entries, The Nile, Fencing and Gregorian.

Of Fencing, who ran sixth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, he said: "He's built as a miler but his pedigree says a mile-and-a-quarter."

Reflecting on Fencing's run in the Dante last time out, he said: "William [Buick] got off and said this horse doesn't get an inch over a mile."

Of The Nile, he said: "I like the horse a lot. He's got a good profile, a lovely stride and good balance."

Prince Of Wales's Stakes

Sir Michael Stoute speaks warmly about Carlton House, who could provide Her Majesty the Queen with a Royal Ascot winner in her Diamond Jubilee year: "He's very honest."

He added: "He's got a great attitude... at Sandown the other night, he really wanted it."

Reflecting on his defeats in last year's Derby and Irish Derby, he said: "We think he's better over ten furlongs."

Ascot Gold Cup

John Oxx says Saddler's Rock has "a rare quality" among horses who stay extreme distances.

He said: "He conserves his energy, which is what you need for Cup races, and then produces a good turn of foot at the end."

Coronation Stakes

Mick Channon has two chances of winning the Group One Coronation Stakes for the first time with Samitar and Laugh Out Loud.

Of Samitar, he reflected that when she ran in the Poule'D'Essai Des Pouliches "everything went wrong" whereas in the Irish 1000 Guineas "Martin [Harley] got it spot on... From halfway you always knew, if she picked up, she was going to win."

Of Laugh Out Loud, he revealed that her progression has not come as a surprise to everyone at his yard.

He says: "We always knew she was pretty good. She's always had a lot of speed."

To watch the Arcmchair Jockeys Royal Ascot preview in full click here.

View the original article over at Sporting Life

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