Calm before the storm? Tell that to TV viewers on a day full of speed
The lull before the storm of Royal Ascot next week has been the story of this Saturday slot but not any more, at least further up country and into Scotland.
Many may be readying frocks and tailcoats down south but Musselburgh and York, where Royal Ascot was evacuated to in 2005, put on proper Saturday cards along with Sandown 20 miles down the road from Ascot.
ITV4 straddles all these three course in its live coverage while racegoers have the added choice of six other meetings in Britain and Ireland comprehensively covered by their host broadcasters of either At The Races or Racing UK, beginning at 1.35pm in Scotland on RUK and ending with the 9.10pm at Leicester.
When does it all start on screen?
The Opening Show at 10am on ITV4 whets the appetite for an hour looking ahead to the seven races crammed into 100 minutes in the afternoon and 420 miles apart from Musselburgh through York to Sandown.
ATR starts earlier with morning news and RUK is not far behind with the previewing Mark Your Card.
ITV4, with the team at York, gets rolling with the action from 1.30pm through to 4.00pm, starting with the Queen Mother Cup (1.50) for lady amateur riders at York.
There may be eye-rubbing switching between England, Yorkshire and Scotland as with the good prize-money on offer trainers and jockeys will be popping up in unusual locations, almost back to front in some cases.
The £100,000 on offer in the William Hill Scottish Sprint Cup has attracted the Epsom Dash winner Caspian Prince, trained by Tony Coyle in Yorkshire, while William Muir takes Stepper Point up from Lambourn and George Baker travels Harry Hurricane from his new base at Robin’s Farm in Sussex.
The popular Queen Mother’s Cup has some interesting teams with Charismatic Man’s trainer Ralph Beckett having booked Lisa O’Neill, who will be remembered for her cool ride to win the NH Chase on Tiger Roll at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
David O’Meara, who has his usual strong representation at York including old favourites Mondialiste and Custom Cut, also sends runners to Musselburgh and Sandown, where he has the favourite Fashion Queen ridden by Ryan Moore in the televised feature Randox Health Scurry Stakes (Listed) at 2.40 with Tim Easterby's Copper Knight next in the betting.
Scoop6 bonus hunt
The only winner of last Saturday’s £209,439 Scoop6 could nearly triple their winnings if they can bag the bonus fund by digging out the winner of the JCB Handicap (2.20) at York.
The anonymous player is seeking to add the £407,958 bonus pot to take their total haul to £617,397. The race in question, however, is an 18-runner contest that looks devilishly difficult to decipher.
The Scoop6 itself starts again with £25,802 in the pot, with the six races divided between Musselburgh and York. All the legs are live on ITV4.
Any rollovers from Saturday's bet will be played for on the opening day of Royal Ascot on Tuesday. A Scoop6 will operate on each day of the meeting.
1.50 York, 2.05 Musselburgh, 2.20 York (bonus race), 2.55 York, 3.10 Musselburgh, 3.30 York