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Location, location, location: the best starting places for Royal Ascot juveniles

Main Edition (leading): began her racing career at Windsor before winning at Royal Ascot
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What do Newbury, Naas, Churchill Downs and Lyon Parilly all have in common? They are all racecourses where a Royal Ascot-winning juvenile has made its debut since 2000.

But does it really matter where you start? With two-year-old winners at Royal Ascot (including the year it was relocated to York) debuting at 37 different tracks in two continents and five countries since the start of the century, the figures may suggest it does not.

However, like life in general, there can be a significant advantage to starting life in more esteemed surroundings, which is why we have investigated where the best tracks are for two-year-old runners to debut with Royal Ascot glory in mind.

Newmarket – Rowley Mile course
Debuted 11 Royal Ascot winners since 2000

It may not come as too much of a surprise to see Newmarket leading the way in giving two-year-olds their first chance to shine.

After all, as the central hub to British Flat racing and the home to many leading yards, it is geographically ideal for many trainers looking to make a simple, short journey for their runners' first start.

The Rowley Mile at Newmarket is the best place to start a two-year-old with Royal Ascot in mind

A total of 11 Royal Ascot-winning juveniles have made their debuts on the Rowley Mile, with a further three leaving it a bit later and starting on the July course.

It has been a good starting point for Albany winners, with four – Kiyoshi, Samitar, Habaayib and Sander Camillo – beginning their racing career on the Rowley Mile, although the competitiveness of such races is outlined by none of them winning on debut. Only four of the 11 Royal Ascot winners who had their first run at Newmarket won on debut.

Windsor
Nine Royal Ascot winners 

Racecourses and races can dip in and out of fashion, with Windsor not quite as popular for hosting smart two-year-olds making their debuts as it used to be, although Main Edition's Albany win last year could signal a changing of the tide again.

The Thames-side course proved an excellent location to spot Windsor Castle winners in particularly, with four – Flashmans Papers, Elhamri, Chateau Istana and Autumnal – debuting there between 2000 and 2008.

Mondays at Windsor can sometimes be glossed over but, who knows, you may miss the next Dutch Art bursting on to the scene. 

Windsor: has hosted nine Royal Ascot-winning juveniles making their debut since 2000

Newbury
Nine Royal Ascot winners

Newbury is another Berkshire course to prove less popular than it was in the noughties, although Advertise went close to improving the track's recent record in last year's Coventry.

Three consecutive Chesham winners – Whazzat, Championship Point and Champlain – started at Newbury between 2003 and 2005, and it's worth noting that all nine finished in the first three at Newbury.

A third of those were trained by Mick Channon, so bear in mind any smart juvenile performances from the West Ilsley trainer's string there.

Curragh
Five Royal Ascot winners

The Curragh was not always a popular starting point for two-year-olds, with all five winners coming since 2011. Similarly to Newmarket, do not count on them winning first time up.

That is unless they're destined for the Coventry, with Classic winners Power and Dawn Approach announcing their significant ability from the very start.

Lady Aurelia streaks away in the Queen Mary

Keeneland
Five Royal Ascot winners

Royal Ascot embraces an increasingly international flavour, a notion epitomised by US track Keeneland sitting so high in this list.

Wesley Ward has been the instigator in the Kentucky track providing such a good grounding for precocious two-year-olds, with superstar filly Lady Aurelia displaying flashes of brilliance on debut before dominating in the Queen Mary.

Jealous Again's win in the same race in 2009 paved the way for more to follow the same route, with Shang Shang Shang the latest to do so in last year's Norfolk. 

Kempton
Five Royal Ascot winners

Kempton's total is a combination of debuts on their all-weather track and the now defunct turf course for Flat racing. 

Good horses have always used Kempton's Polytrack, be it juveniles or older horses, and its record of hosting Royal Ascot winners on their debuts – Albany victor Cursory Glance was the most recent – adds to the list of reasons why it would be a massive shame if the track ultimately succumbed to developers.

Naas
Five Royal Ascot winners

Naas shares the billing with the Curragh as the best track in Ireland to run a juvenile for the first time. 

Three of the quintet – Brave Anna, Sioux Nation and Maybe – were trained by Aidan O'Brien, with Cuis Ghaire and Elletelle completing the track's juvenile success stories.

Best of the rest...

Sandown and Nottingham fare next best with four winners, although 2010 Queen Mary winner Maqaasid was Sandown's last. 

Eight tracks have provided three winners, including Ayr and Hamilton in Scotland and Leopardstown in Ireland.

Ascot itself was the starting place for two winners – note that neither made their debuts at the royal meeting – while a further ten tracks, including Churchill Downs and Dundalk, provided the same number of winners.

And then there are those who so far have an anomaly, including the much-lamented Folkestone, French courses Lyon Parilly and Maisons-Laffitte and, perhaps surprisingly, given its stature, York.


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Royal Ascot embraces an increasingly international flavour, a notion epitomised by US track Keeneland sitting so high in this list
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