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Mullins and Elliott readying stars as jumps racing’s finest target Royal Ascot success

Willie Mullins and his team celebrate after Lagostovegas' victory in the Ascot Stakes in 2018.

Jumps racing’s most powerful trainers, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott are busy readying some of their top horses for a trip to Berkshire, as both target more Royal Ascot success.

Willie Mullins is no stranger to the winners’ enclosure at Ascot. Ireland’s Leading Train has seven victories to his name so far, including a fantastic double in 2012, where Simenon won both the Ascot Stakes and the Queen Alexandra Stakes during the same meeting.

Thomas Hobson come up short as he attempted that famous double in 2017, finishing fifth in the Queen Alexandra after scoring on day one of the meeting. This time around, Mullins has much grander plans for his former Festival winner, choosing to point Thomas Hobson as the Royal Ascot Gold Cup. Mullins, however, seemingly holds little hope of his nine-year-old upsetting Stradivarius, with William Hill listing Thomas Hobson as a 20/1 outsider.

Mullins told the Racing Post earlier this month, "We’ll probably run Thomas Hobson in the Gold Cup and, hopefully, he might run in the first four."

Max Dynamite will spearhead Willie Mullins, and Rich Ricci’s, charge in the Ascot Stakes this season and it’s unlikely he will go it alone, with Whisky Sour and Cesarewitch winner, Low Sun also possible entrants for Mullins. True Self had her colours lowered at Haydock this weekend, falling to a surprise defeat in the Pinnacle Stakes. She too could be part of Mullins’ travelling party, with the Ribblesdale Stakes or the Queen’s Vase possible options.
Like their counterparts in the National Hunt racing world, flat racing fans have also grown accustom to clashes between Mullins and his Irish rival, Gordon Elliott during the Royal Meeting. Success in the Ascot Stakes may have managed to elude the man from County Meath down the years, but the Queen Alexandra Stakes has been much kinder to Gordon Elliott, providing him with two Royal winners in the past three years.

Last year’s winner, Pallasator looks likely to return to that marathon handicap on Saturday afternoon, as Elliott points three of his finest jumpers towards Mullins’ contenders in the Ascot Stakes.

“Pallasator is going back for the Queen Alexandra and we have a few possibles for the Ascot Stakes" Elliott told the Racing Post.

"We’re looking at also running Mengli Khan, Batts Rock and Lethal Steps in the Ascot Stakes."

Mengli Khan is somewhat of a surprise inclusion. All three ran in plenty of races on the flat before moving to Elliott’s operation. Unlike Batts Rock and Lethal Steps, though, Mengli Khan has enjoyed plenty of success over jumps, winning a Grade One as a novice hurdler before impressing during a maiden campaign over fences in 2018/19.

Eight of the past eleven winners of the Ascot Stakes were saddled by jumps trainers, with six of the past ten Queen Alexandra won by horses with plenty of jumps racing experience. So, whether the winners of the Queen Alexandra Stakes or the Ascot Stakes have been listed in the article above or not, any raider from the National Hunt world has to be respected in both of these Royal handicaps.


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Mullins and Elliott readying stars as jumps racing’s finest target Royal Ascot success

Jumps racing’s most powerful trainers, Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott are busy readying some of their top horses for a trip to Berkshire, as both target more Royal Ascot success on Tuesday 18th June.

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