Andrew Balding prepares strong team for Royal Ascot with Tactical and Alcohol Free both in action
KINGSCLERE trainer Andrew Balding is relishing the opportunity to secure more winners at Royal Ascot when the five-day showpiece begins on Tuesday.
The royal meeting will house 12,000 supporters across the five-days next week as it was selected as one of the government’s pilot events.
There will be a strong atmosphere at the Berkshire track next week, especially as the 2020 meeting was held behind-closed-doors because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking about the return of crowds, the Park House handler said: “We’re nearing normality and it’ll be great because it’s been a long time and you can go racing now and there is a real buzz back.
“It will be a lot more enjoyable than last year, I hope, and we have a strong team going and it is very exciting for everyone.
“This is our main event in terms of having a high standard of racing throughout the week and it is a focal point for us and there is a lot to look forward to.”
Balding is expected to send a strong team of horses to Ascot next week to contest some of the biggest races in the flat season.
Horses such as Spanish Mission, Tactical and Alcohol Free will all return to the track for the trainer and he has assessed their chances.
Spanish Mission, in the [Ascot] Gold Cup, he won one of the recognised trials well and is stepping up in distance, so hopefully he’ll stay because he loves fast ground and its forecast to be that.
“Kings Lynn, for Her Majesty, ran well last time and I think he’s favourite for the Wokingham Stakes and he may run in the Kings Stand Stakes.
“Tactical is a high class horse and he won at the meeting last year and, again for Her Majesty, he is exciting and he has a choice of two races so hopefully we’ll get the right one.
“Alcohol Free is probably the best chance for us at the meeting,” the trainer admitted. “She is a very high-class filly and she’ll run in the Coronation Stakes and we’re excited by her.
“We have a horse called Fivethousandtoone, owned by King Power and he’ll probably run in the Commonwealth Cup and he is a high-class horse.”
Prior to Tuesday, Balding is likely to have a number of runners this weekend across Chester and York and he hopes to build momentum.
“Ranch Hand will likely go to York for the listed race this weekend and our best chance at Chester would be Arctic Vega.
“It’s always nice to try and kick in a couple of winners before the meeting starts so you feel like you’re in good form.”