THE attraction of brown paper packages tied up with strings has always escaped me, but in a match bet on whether those or French jockeys figured in a list of British punters' favourite things, I know where my money would be.
Royal Ascot BBC, Tuesday-Today
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GENERATIONS have come and gone since the inaugural running of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in 1807, but few will have seen anything as special as the record-equalling victory of Yeats yesterday.
GIVEN the blue-bloods who attend the meeting, someone of his relatively lowly aristocratic standing wouldn't normally be able to pull rank at Royal Ascot, but Duke Of Marmalade can reign supreme this afternoon.
CHAMPION stayer Yeats again proved different class to the opposition as the odds-on favourite romped home under Mick Kinane to land consecutive runnings of the Gold Cup on Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot.
THEY say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so given how many of its namesakes are doing the rounds nowadays Ascot obviously came up with a real winner when they decided to stage their first Gold Cup back in 1807.
FRENCH raider Manduro has a number of big-race options open to him after powering to success in the Prince Of Wales' Stakes at Royal Ascot.
THE way some of the naps have been running this week I have been hearing a lot about long walks (and short piers), so it must be fate that today Ascot hosts the Long Walk Hurdle - a chance of redemption for a tipster if ever there was one.
THE return of Royal Ascot to its home in Berkshire this year after its guest appearance at York in 2005 was hailed as a major success - for those that could see it.
IN RACING'S version of The Magnificent Seven, Frankie Dettori was Yul Brynner, Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson et al rolled into one. Eli Wallach's role, on the other hand, was played by Gary Wiltshire.
GOOD things come to those who wait, and Soviet Song's perseverance was finally rewarded yesterday when James Fanshawe's popular mare swept to the Royal Ascot success she so richly deserved.
IT WILL hurt many a whinging Pom to admit it but Aussie rules, OK! Takeover Target, the £500 bargain buy trained by part-time taxi driver Joe Janiak, yesterday edged his career earnings a step closer the £1 million mark with victory in the King's Stand Stakes on the opening afternoon of Royal Ascot.
WHETHER by accident or design, the BBC's decision to last night screen the drama chronicling the life and times of Beau Brummell was a neat piece of telly timing.
ASCOT'S multimillion-pound makeover is progressing according to plan, and the 2006 Royal meeting will return to its ancestral home. Either that, or the course executive has fallen for the old builder's line of: "Don't worry, guv, we'll be out of here soon."
GOOD, but was it good enough to silence the critics?
CAPE Of Good Hope capped a fine week for overseas raiders at Royal Ascot at York as he struck for Hong Kong in the Golden Jubilee Stakes yesterday.
DAY four of Royal Ascot at York belonged to the Hills family, as trainer Barry and his twin sons Michael and Richard enjoyed an afternoon to remember, with Maids Causeway's thrilling win in the Coronation Stakes the undoubted highlight.
WITH only today left of the Royal meeting at York I think we can judge the whole enterprise at least a qualified success. Despite my misgivings, everyone seems to have had a lot of fun, both for the men who dress like penguins and the ladies who dress - well, like ladies.
MY FATHER was right. God is a Yorkshireman. At Royal Ascot Ladies Day yesterday he awarded the prime plumage event of the social calendar a truly thrifty amount of sunshine. The wind blew. The rain spattered, but even skies grey at Thirsk cottage could not inhibit the birds' of paradise parade. When pride is the vice of choice, comfort and maintaining a normal body temperature are minor considerations.
DAMSON can star at Royal Ascot tomorrow when the Irish-trained filly looks set to take the Group One Coronation Stakes (3.45pm).