Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Power struggles playing out at Royal Ascot

Telegraph Sport: where the debate gets started

Frankie Dettori
Frankie Dettori

Struggling giants with aspirations to get back to the summit. New money fuelling bids to dominate the major prizes.

The Premier League fixtures may have been published this week but parallel clashes are currently being played out at Royal Ascot.

Dubai-owned Godolphin are the former power struggling to live up to past glories, while Qatar Racing and Al Shaqab are the new-money outfits flexing their financial muscle.

Frankie Dettori is the star player – take your pick in the football world – who was the hero at one big team but has now transferred his allegiance to another. The face of racing was once the big name at Godolphin but is now the leading light at Al Shaqab, winning on board Baitha Alga in the Norfolk Stakes yesterday.

Throw in the fact that the new powers are both Qatari outfits and the link with football grows even stronger given the 2022 World Cup controversy.

Northern Ireland is traditionally jump racing country but tomorrow attention turns to the Flat with the €100,000 Ulster Derby at Down Royal.

And it's a meeting from which plenty have been promoted to the Premier League. Pat Smullen has won two races at Royal Ascot this week and has two Ulster Derby triumphs on his glittering CV.

One of those was on the brilliant Media Puzzle who went on to win the world-famous Melbourne Cup.

The big crowds at Down Royal might just get to see something very special.

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