Mullins makes rare visit to Royal Ascot

WILLIE MULLINS makes one of his rare forays to the Royal meeting with Rattan in the Ascot Stakes today.

The champion Irish jumps trainer sent out Sesenta to finish second in this race in 2009, and his representative this time round was once trained by Henry Cecil and owned by Khalid Abdullah.

Mullins has booked Richard Hughes for the ride and he partnered the horse twice as a two-year-old.

The Royal Anthem gelding had 17 months off but has had no problems this year and has had six races over hurdles for the Co Carlow handler.

“We haven’t run him on the Flat since we got him. We thought he’s fit and well from jumping and I just put him in hoping he’d get in and he did, so we’re going to take our chance,” said Mullins.

“All the rain they’ve had there will be a help to us and I think Richard (Hughes) will suit the horse.

“He’s fine now. He hasn’t had any setbacks since we started back at him after his lay-off.”

nCHAMPION British jumps trainer Paul Nicholls is set to have his first runner at Royal Ascot this week when chaser Pepe Simo will have a crack at winning the last race of the meeting, the Queen Alexandra Stakes on Saturday.

Nicholls, who hopes Ryan Moore will ride, claims he has no idea how competitive the 147-rated chaser will be but is greatly looking forward to saddling his first runner on the Flat since Blue Aeroplane contested a Windsor handicap in July 1993.

"Highclere were quite keen we ran Pepe Simo, so that's why we've done it," said Nicholls.

* SO YOU THINK is a red-hot favourite to land his first British Group One when he faces six rivals in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot tomorrow.

The ex-Australian five-year-old has created a huge impression since switching to Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle powerbase in Ireland, winning the Tattersalls Gold Cup by four and a half lengths last time out.

The in-form Ryan Moore, favourite to be leading jockey at the meeting, rides for the second time.

Leading the opposition is the Elie Lellouche-trained French raider Planteur, winner of the Prix Ganay in April under Christophe Soumillon.

Soumillon is unbeaten in two starts on the four-year-old and keeps the ride.

Godolphin saddle the Mahmood Al Zarooni-trained Dubai Sheema Classic winner Rewilding, with Frankie Dettori taking the mount, as well as Arlington Million winner Debussy.

The gallant Twice Over, beaten a length when fourth in 2009 and half a length when runner-up 12 months ago, bids to make it third time lucky for the Sir Henry Cecil team.

O’Brien is also represented by Jan Vermeer while Roger Varian’s Sri Putra completes the line-up.

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