Royal Ascot: Frankly, it must be Frankel
Northern Ireland is closely associated with jump racing, most notably through the exploits of 16-times champion jockey Tony McCoy.
Links with the flat are not quite as obvious, but this week an Ulster-born trainer will be sending five horses to Royal Ascot.
The Royal meeting is one of the great showpieces of the flat season and Stan Moore — originally from Dromore, County Down — is relishing the prospect of seeing his horses go for glory.
All eyes at Royal Ascot will be on Frankel, the current superstar of the sport who runs in tomorrow’s St James's Palace Stakes, worth £250,000 to the winner. Moore said: “It will be a great race, a very tactical race.
“I don’t think Frankel will go off in front. They might try and anchor him.
“I had Slim Shadey up against him at Ascot last year and Frankel just sailed past us.
“He’s an exceptional horse who will take a hell of a lot of beating.
“I can’t see him being beaten tomorrow,” said Moore, whose Slim Shadey — one of his Royal Ascot hopefuls — was also fourth behind Frankel in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket in April.
The Royal meeting starts tomorrow and concludes on Saturday.
And it’s the opening day which holds most interest for Moore, the Lambourn-based trainer having three of his five runners in action.
Evervescent was second behind Fulbright in the Woodcote Stakes on Derby day at Epsom last weekend and goes in the Coventry Stakes tomorrow.
“Evervescent ran a fantastic race at Epsom. He finished very well. But he’s in a pretty hot race at Ascot — but then they are all hot! It won’t be easy,” said Moore.
“I have two in the Windsor Castle Stakes — Crowning Star and The Penny Horse. Crowning Star in particular is a real nice horse.”
On Wednesday, Moore has very high hopes for Traffic Sister — Jamie Spencer is in the saddle — in the Sandringham Handicap. “She’s in great form but wouldn’t want much rain — she wants pretty fast ground,” he explained.
The following day Slim Shadey will contest the Tercentenary Stakes.
“He is moving up to a mile and a quarter which will suit him. He doesn’t mind what way the ground goes,” said Moore.
He continued: “This is my biggest week of the year. We’ve been lucky enough to have a few nice horses at Royal Ascot in the past.
“Royal Ascot and the Dubai Carnival would always be the two biggest events of the year for me. Hopefully I will have three or four heading to Dubai, where the racing just gets better every year.
“I normally have one or two at Royal Ascot but five this time round is the most I’ve ever had at the meeting.
“It’s great if you have even one runner at Royal Ascot, even better if that runner has a decent chance.
“So to have five there is very exciting. I would say three of those have great each way chances — Crowning Star, Slim Shadey and Traffic Sister.
“If my arm was twisted, of those three I would say Traffic Sister has the best chance — as long as the ground stays quick.
“My best at Royal Ascot is a fifth place finish in the Coventry Stakes so I would be hoping to better that this year.
“And I can’t wait to see Frankel in action again. He’s a truly awesome horse.”