Turf giant Goldikova to open Ascot in style

Goldikova can make it an incredible 14 Group 1 victories in the Queen Anne Stakes today in what is a brilliant opener to Royal Ascot 2011.

Freddie Head's incredible mare won this race 12 months ago, beating Richard Hannon's Paco Boy. This year Hannon will try to get his revenge with Canford Cliffs, who has won at the last two Royal meetings, the Coventry Stakes as a juvenile and the St James's Palace last term. But in Goldikova he is meeting a true giant of the turf, who can win in any eventuality. She puts her races to bed in a matter of strides and may to have too much class for the young pretender.

With Frankel looking the proverbial steering job in the St James's Palace Stakes, Japanese raider Grand Prix Boss is the each-way call. Gone are the days when overseas challengers are readily dismissed by the British press, and runners from the Far East have claimed some of the biggest prizes all over the world. After the Melbourne Cup win of Delta Blues and Victoire Pisa's success in the Dubai World Cup, Grand Prix Boss should be respected.

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In further Group 1 action Astrophysical Jet is worth another chance in the King's Stand Stakes. Ed McMahon's speedball has not got off to a great start as she disappointed in the Palace House but was subsequently found to be suffering from a virus. On official ratings she is not far off the best of them and the fast pace should be right up her street.

Aidan O'Brien's first winner of the week can come courtesy of Power in the Coventry Stakes, while Zigato stands out in the two-and-a-half-mile Ascot Stakes.

The Windsor Castle Stakes looks a minefield but you could not fail to be impressed by Frederick Engels when he won by six lengths at Musselburgh.

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