First Frankel on parade, then Ascot King Frankie

Never mind the weather. On the Turf, this is already proving a vintage summer, and Royal Ascot this week promises its own contribution in jubilee year. The monarch herself has a fine chance of a first Group One winner since 1977, when Carlton House lines up for the Prince of Wales's Stakes tomorrow. And the meeting is book-ended by two unbeaten champions – Frankel and Black Caviar – saluted by some, in their respective hemispheres, as the best of all time.

Black Caviar, the Australian speedball, promises a suitable climax on Saturday, while the immaculate Frankel raises the curtain in the opener today.

He will be expected to do so in suitably ceremonial fashion, having long established himself as without peer over a mile on turf. Once again, Excelebration looks best of the rest in the Queen Anne Stakes, and Frankel has already thrashed him four times. The sport is increasingly impatient, in fact, to see Frankel embrace a fresh challenge – but must evidently wait until he tries a longer trip, at York in August. Even in mere procession, however, Frankel (2.30) offers an increasingly arresting spectacle, such is the buoyant virility of his maturing physique.

Options seem pretty short even for those seeking an each-way intrusion upon Frankel's persecution of poor old Excelebration. Strong Suit certainly has the class to get involved, having won here at both two and three, but must confirm his stamina over the eighth furlong. Worthadd could offer some value, in the betting without Frankel, as he may simply have failed to handle Epsom last time.

The meeting is certainly front-loaded with quality – perhaps culpably so, diluting the four days to follow – and things duly look far more competitive once Frankel has done his stuff. Ortensia could easily lay down a marker for Australia in the King's Stand Stakes, but her trainer fears that slow ground may stifle her acceleration. Admittedly, the straight course drains quickly nowadays, but in principle conditions must also be a concern for the leading home candidate, Bated Breath. Wizz Kid (3.05) handles cut underfoot and performed exceptionally against older rivals last season, when still immature. The turn of foot she showed last time suggests a new peak is imminent.

There could be traffic trouble in the St James's Palace Stakes, contested by a big, closely matched field over the turning mile. Fencing (3.45) is ridden by one of the great Ascot masters in Frankie Dettori, fired up by his bizarre treatment by Sheikh Mohammed – who has fast-tracked a relative greenhorn, Mickael Barzalona, at a time when his stable lacks good horses even for one top jockey. Fencing, a physically striking, superbly bred colt, looks value at 12-1. He did not stay 10 furlongs in the Dante Stakes at York last month, and had previously done well to finish sixth in the 2,000 Guineas after missing his trial with a setback.

Power, the favourite, has an awkward draw but won the Coventry Stakes at this meeting last year and confirmed his class in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Born To Sea also finished off that race well, and could be about to come good, but both may have been flattered by the way a hot pace collapsed that day. Cogito and Most Improved remain eligible to progress for Manton, while Gabrial could make much of the significant improvement required. All in all, a fascinating race.

This time round, the Coventry sees Cristoforo Colombo and Dawn Approach forfeit their status as the two Irish bankers for the week by running against each other. There is also the small matter of Sir Prancealot, so impressive at Sandown, albeit that was another occasion when the leaders went off too hard.

With so many other improvers in the field, perhaps you should simply rely on the seasoned judgement of Jim Bolger, who could have run Dawn Approach (4.25) over another furlong here on Saturday.

The other juvenile race, the Windsor Castle Stakes, is little easier but Pay Freeze and Trinityelitedotcom (5.35) represent solid and bold picks respectively. The latter hails from a stable finding a bit of form and, after shaping well in bad ground on his debut, showed abundant speed until collared by a smart prospect next time.

The first handicap of the week, meanwhile, could rest between a pair from leading jumps yards. Veiled won this emphatically last year, and remains feasibly handicapped, but is drawn wide on slower ground this time and Simenon (5.00) makes his first start on the level since taking off for Willie Mullins.

Turf Account

Chris McGrath's Nap: Wizz Kid (3.05 Ascot)

Next best: Simenon (5.00 Ascot)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Prince Harry is clearing enjoying the Commonwealth Games judging by this photo
people(a real one this time)
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mechanical Lead

£65000 - £75000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Mechanical L...

Defendant Personal Injury 2+PQE

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - NICHE DEFENDANT FIRM - Defendant Pe...

Java Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: JAVA DEVELO...

HR Business Partner (Maternity Cover 12 Months)

£30000 - £34000 Per Annum 25 days holiday, Private healthcare: Clearwater Peop...

Day In a Page

The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on