Royal Ascot

'I've not been this nervous going into Ascot before' - anticipation rising for trainers and jockeys as showers hit Sandown

Prince Eric (William Buick): winner of the 1m1f handicap at Sandown
Champion jockey William Buick drives home Prince Eric in the 1m1f handicap at Sandown on SaturdayCredit: Edward Whitaker (

There were times at Sandown on Saturday, when the sky turned grey and the heavens opened, that it felt more like Imperial Cup day than it did Scurry Stakes afternoon in the middle of June. And the sight of Tingle Creek Chase-winning trainer Alan King getting a good dousing did nothing to ease that confusion, although the Barbury Castle trainer had his mind firmly on next week's Royal Ascot rather than the Cheltenham Festival, which comes hot on the heels of the Imperial Cup in March. 

"Any news from Ascot? Surely they haven't missed this rain – everywhere else got it," said King, hoping every drop that turned the going soft (from good to firm) at Sandown had stretched as far as Berkshire.

It is fair to say the news on his mobile phone that Chris Stickels wasn't ruling out watering the track at Ascot – deemed less likely in an evening update – wasn't what King was expecting or hoping to see, especially as he is desperate to let staying stalwart Trueshan finally take his chance in Thursday's Gold Cup.

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Published on inRoyal Ascot

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