With 72 Royal Ascot winners already under his belt, Henry Cecil could be forgiven for taking his foot off the gas as the years roll on but the legendary trainer has one of his strongest ever teams this year.
The betting suggests that Frankel just has to turn up to win the St James’s Palace Stakes, while stable stalwart Twice Over is raring to have a crack at So You Think in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes.
With unexposed types such as World Domination and Arizona Jewel also running next week, it would be no surprise were the great man to end the week as leading trainer.
“I’d like to have one or two winners at Ascot but it’s very hard, you’ve got some of the best horses in the world competing there, it’s not easy. It’s a challenge but we’ll see what we can do,” said Cecil.
“I still remember Greville Starkey winning the Queen Alexandra on Parthenon in 1970, my first winner, and I remember feeling as if I had just won the Derby.
“I’ve always loved the Ascot Gold Cup and it’s rather sad at the moment that I haven’t got a Gold Cup horse, it’s a lovely race to win.
“I was very lucky that I had Ardross and Le Moss who won a couple each, but I’d love to have another one.”
Twice Over has already given Cecil two Champion Stakes wins and an Eclipse success yet despite those victories he is seen as something of an outsider against the great Australian import So You Think.
“He’s very well, Twice Over, and I know So You Think is obviously very good but I’m looking forward to running against him. I think our horse is in great form. I’m not saying we’re going to beat him, but I hope to be able to give him a race,” Cecil told At The Races.
“As long as World Domination works well tomorrow morning he could run in the King Edward VII and I might run Glencadam Gold who is an improving horse and is very tough, I haven’t got to the bottom of him at all.
“He could go for the King George V Handicap but as that’s likely to be a bigger field and he’s a bit of a baby I might keep him to the smaller field.
“World Domination is quite immature and had the setback but that’s wasn’t an excuse for the Dante, he wasn’t ready for a race like that. I think he’ll keep progressing and may be a Leger horse if he gets the trip.
“I think Arizona Jewel will go in the Ribblesdale. I thought she ran quite well in the Musidora as she was coming into season. A lot of the time it doesn’t bother them but it bothered her like anything.
“Solar Sky will probably go for the Vase, he stays well and I think a mile and a half in top company at the moment may be just too much for him.
“Midsummer Sun, Midday’s half-brother, is in the Hampton Court and Chachamaidee and Jacqueline Quest are in the Windsor Forest.”