Royal Ascot 2022: Three key storylines to look out for this week including the return of fans

·2-min read
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

A very special Royal Ascot gets underway this week in a Platinum Jubilee year.

The Queen herself will be hoping to land a winner on Thursday but there will be plenty of international runners and riders looking to make their mark.

Fans are also back at near-full capacity for 2022, the first time since the pandemic.

Here are three key storylines to look out for over the week...

A Royal winner?

In his speech on the Saturday night of Jubilee weekend, Prince Charles made reference to the fact that had events transpired differently, the Queen might have been marking the occasion with a Derby winner.

The horse in question, Reach For The Moon, was a one-time favourite for the race but missed the Epsom Classic after suffering a setback earlier in the season. He is back fit and a warm fancy in Thursday’s Hampton Court Stakes.

Crowds

This will be the first Royal meeting with a full crowd since 2019, though numbers are guaranteed to be down on three years ago, with organisers, in a welcome move, having reduced capacity in several enclosures in a bid to improve spectator experience.

The question is how far might they fall? Amid the worsening cost-of-living crisis, several racecourses have reported declining attendances this season and at the time of going to print, tickets are still available in various tiers for each of the first four days.

International raiders

One of the appeals of Flat racing in comparison to its Jumps counterpart lies in its global presence and Royal Ascot is often all the better for a strong international challenge to take on the British and Irish.

That has wained since the start of the pandemic, with the powerhouses of Australia and Japan not represented last year due to the complexity of quarantine restrictions, but along with the usual powerful American squadron both are back, Japan seeking a first Royal Ascot winner after breakthrough success at the Breeder’s Cup in the States last year.

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