09:00PM, Thursday 24 June 2021
Dream of Dreams. Photo Sue Orpwood.
Windsor were forced to call off last Monday's race meeting after rain had left parts of the track unsafe. Nearly 60mm had fallen before the weekend and more followed, leading to an inspection early on Monday morning.
Track staff have been kept busy this week, but need a few dry days and some sun to assist them as they prepare for their busiest time of the season with three meetings on successive days.
Windsor's highly popular festival of racing starts on Saturday at 1.55pm and continues on Sunday at !.50 and Monday at 5.45.
On each day, the gates will be open two hours before the first race, but tickets must be purchased in advance.
Dream Of Dreams, a winner at Windsor last month, won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday for trainer Sir Michael Stoute and jockey Ryan Moore, having twice finished second in the same Group 1 race.
Moore said: “Dream Of Dreams has been a great horse. He has got better every year. A stiff six (furlongs) with cut in the ground, it’s perfect for him. Any winner here (Ascot) is important and the bigger the race... a race like this, a prestigious race like this, it’s great.”
Moore rode three winners in all on Saturday when the Queen made her only appearance of the week at her favourite race meeting.
Her Majesty usually attends all five days, but the daily procession in open horse-drawn carriages along the course had to be cancelled again this year.
This time she arrived by car and her delight in being there were made clear by her beaming smiles.
Her racing colours were prominent on the track during the day with four runners with one of them, Reach For The Moon - ridden by Frankie Dettori - finishing a close-up second in the Chesham Stakes.
Later in the day, another of the horses the Queen owns, King's Lynn, was third in the Wokingham Stakes.
Her Majesty met with Ascot's clerk of the course, Chris Stickels, who had been highly praised along with his team of track workers for making racing possible on Friday.
Nearly 50m of rain had fallen on Thursday night and Friday morning, leaving parts of the track unraceable and the day's racing was close to being abandoned.
"It was the wettest Flat (racing) day I have ever experienced," he said.
But by realigning certain areas and by moving the running rail, the track passed the early-afternoon inspection made by stewards, jockeys and trainers.
Stickels was full of praise for his track staff, saying they had done a "tremendous job."
All the Ascot executives involved in hosting one of the world's most glamorous sporting events can be proud of themselves at a time when attendances are being severely restricted. This was a Government test event with up to 12,000 racegoers permitted each day and it went off incredibly well.
During the week, several members of the Royal Family were in attendance, among them Princes Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, as well as Princess Anne, Sophie, Countess of Wessex, and Zara Tindall.
Oisin Murphy was the most successful jockey during the week with five winners, one ahead of Moore.
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