We’ve had five Royal Ascot winners so far and I’m hopeful we can notch another one up this year. The horses have been in rude health all season and continue to run really well which always gives you confidence ahead of a week like this one. Our best chances probably come in the handicaps, which, as we all know, are never easy to win but I’m very happy with where the horses are and we’re looking forward to it.

Here are my thoughts on my runners on Tuesday and Wednesday.


We kick things off with Paddy’s Day in the Coventry Stakes (3.05pm). He’s owned by Sir Alex Ferguson and Paul Nicholls among others, and he showed at Windsor that they’ve got a really nice one to look forward to. He won nicely there on debut where he showed great amounts of speed. His work at home had been good but you never really know if they are going to transfer it to the track, so it was great to see him do that first time up.

It looks a pretty good Coventry this year, but my horse has a great attitude and he won’t be fazed by the occasion. It’s a big step up in grade but you can say that about all of them.

Both Khaadem and Equilateral take their chance in the King’s Stand (3.40pm). Both are really good horses and in these big sprint races anything can happen. The two international horses look the ones to beat, and they’re drawn a bit higher than us which probably isn’t a bad thing. We don’t want to get drawn into a speed war with them early on, so we’ll see how they go and take it from there.

I’ve been delighted with Equilateral at home and we’re really looking forward to running him. He’s had a long break, but he goes well fresh and was second to Battaash in this two years ago.

Khaadem is another who goes well fresh, so we’ve deliberately kept him back for this since Newmarket. He’s in good form and if anything, I actually think he’s got quicker with age.


We’re really looking forward to running Dark Shift in the Royal Hunt Cup (5.00pm). He’s drawn right in the middle in 15 and while we’d ideally have liked to have been slightly more to one side, it does give us options. We’ll see how the track rides on Tuesday and Wednesday and then we can make a plan.

He’s in great form at home and given his strong record at Ascot, you’ve got to be hopeful. It’s the Royal Hunt Cup and it’s always incredibly competitive but we wouldn’t swap him for anything else, that’s for sure.

It’s great we’ve got James McDonald to ride him. We go back a long way and I think he’s a brilliant jockey and probably one of the best in the world, so we’re delighted he’s going to be on board. I’ve always been a massive supporter of his and it would be fantastic if we could get a winner together. We haven’t booked him for nothing, and fingers crossed it can all fall into place.