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Thundery showers could feature in forecast for start of Royal Ascot

The sun is shining at Ascot at present but conditions could ease if the showers hit
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Day one of Royal Ascot could begin on a mixture of good and good to firm ground according to clerk of the course Chris Stickels, although conditions may ease if thundery showers hit the course.

Speaking on Sunday, Stickels reported himself pleased with underfoot conditions ahead of the start of the five-day fixture on Tuesday.

He said: "We're happy with the preparations and we're good on the straight course and good, good to soft in places on the round course. It's a warm, sultry forecast for the week ahead but there's a risk of thundery showers on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

"If we don't get any thundery showers I anticipate the going being a mixture of good and good to firm, but if they do arrive it will be a bit easier."

The royal meeting is to be staged behind closed doors in keeping with the restrictions British racing must abide by since its resumption, and Stickels added: "It's much the same as other tracks regarding the work we've put in for the protocols for racing behind closed doors.

"We've got one-way systems in place, temperature testing for everyone on arrival and reduced numbers on site."

Japan: won the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2019

Declarations were revealed for the second day of the meeting with last year's Juddmonte International winner Japan one of seven declarations for the feature Prince of Wales's Stakes.

Japan, who also landed the Grand Prix de Paris last year, has not been in action since finishing fourth behind Waldgeist in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October.

Aidan O'Brien, who has won the contest three times and most recently with Highland Reel in 2017, has opted not to run Magical or recent Lanwades Stud Stakes winner Magic Wand.

Other leading contenders include dual top-level victor and last year's Wolferton winner Addeybb, 2017 St James's Palace scorer Barney Roy and progressive two-time Group 2 winner Headman.

Addeybb: won two Group 1 races in Australia over the winter

Frankie Dettori won the race last year aboard Crystal Ocean and partners the John Gosden-trained Mehdaayih with the Clarehaven trainer also running Lord North, who will be ridden by James Doyle.

The field is completed by the Andrew Balding-trained Bangkok, who ran three times over the winter, most recently finishing third in the Winter Derby in February.

O'Brien has declared recent Derrinstown Derby Trial runner-up Russian Emperor (Ryan Moore) and Qipco 2,000 Guineas eighth New World Tapestry (Adam Kirby) in the Hampton Court Stakes.

The eight-runner Group 3 contest also includes Unibet Classic Trial winner Berlin Tango (Oisin Murphy), Kenzai Warrior (Jason Watson), First Receiver (Frankie Dettori) and Juan Elcano (Andrea Atzeni).

Prince of Wales’s Stakes runners and riders

1 Addeybb Tom Marquand/William Haggas
2 Bangkok Silvestre de Sousa/Andrew Balding
3 Barney Roy William Buick/Charlie Appleby
4 Headman Jason Watson/Roger Charlton
5 Japan Ryan Moore/Aidan O’Brien
6 Lord North James Doyle/John Gosden
7 Mehdaayih Frankie Dettori/John Gosden

Royal Ascot day two declarations

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If we don’t get any thundery showers I anticipate the going being a mixture of good and good to firm, but if they do arrive it will be a bit easier
E.W. Terms