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A return to the Royal Meeting at Ascot

Posted by Tania Kindersley
Tania Kindersley
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on Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A plaintive and very polite note comes from the editor, wondering gently if there is to be a blog this week. I had, in fact, entirely forgotten which day of the week it was. I had practically forgotten my own name. This is because, after twenty years, I have returned to the Royal Meeting at Ascot. I abandoned it because of the crowd and the hats and all the fashion silliness. But this year it lured me with the two best horses in the world.

One of them, the Australian supermare, Black Caviar, had flown thirty-three hours to be here, dressed in a special lycra suit, so that she looked like one of the Olympic swimmers. (It keeps the horse's blood pressure steady, apparently.)

Black Caviar runs on Saturday, but yesterday the meeting opened with the highest rated horse in training, the majestic Frankel. High expectations are the enemy of happiness, and expectations were running red hot. He has never been beaten, he is clearly head and shoulders above the rest, he has developed into an even greater and stronger horse at four than he was at three. I said, for a joke, 'he'll win by ten lengths.' Horses don't win at Ascot by ten lengths, over a mile; especially when up against the most talented of their cohort. Last year, Frankel won by three-quarters of a length. The greatest horse is the greatest horse, but it is racing; anything can happen.

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