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Royal Ascot: Day 1 Preview

David Probert will carry the Welsh flag at Royal Ascot on day one when he rides Notre Belle Bete in Tuesday’s Wolferton Stakes.

Probert – the Bargoed Bullet – gets his one opportunity in the 5.35pm race on the Andrew Balding-trained entry that was a recent winner at Newcastle.

The jockey warmed up with a winner at Windsor on Monday and hopes for similar at the biggest flat race meeting of the year.

Probert may be Welsh racing’s best current flat race rider, but he – and every other jockey at Ascot this week – is unlikely to hog the limelight for long with Frankie Dettori around.

This year’s meeting is all about Dettori as never before as the great man rides there for the final time before his retirement.

Dettori, the renowned showman of the racing world, is vowing to bow out with a flurry of winners – a prospect that is leaving most bookies with a sense of doom and hot sweats in the middle of the night that have nothing to do with the weather.

The 52-year-old will be on board Chaldean in the St James’s Palace Stakes, a thrilling Group One race among the triumvirate scheduled for the opening day.

Dettori’s association with the Berkshire course is indelible, owing to his historic feat of riding seven winners in a single day back in 1996, earning him the moniker “Magnificent Seven.”

A statue commemorating this extraordinary accomplishment stands as a testament to his greatness.

Dettori has stand-out chances in six of the seven races, including on Inspiral (2.30) and Chaldean (4.20). He  also rides for The King on Saga in the 5.35.

 “I’ve got a really fantastic book of rides and I’m raring to go,” says Dettori.

“The adrenalin will kick in when I come to the track.It will be my last Royal Ascot so let’s hope it’s a good one . . .  hopefully with a few flying dismounts.

“You know me, I wear my heart on my sleeve — so  there will be tears on the last day, especially as all my family will be at the track.

Each day of the Royal meeting boasts seven high quality races, and in the opening Queen Anne Stakes at 2.30pm, Dettori, the Italian maestro, will try to secure his 78th victory at this fixture.

This race, won in the past by the likes of Frankel and Baaeed, offers Franke fans an early opportunity  His mount is the exceptional Inspiral, previously a winner at  the Coronation Stakes under the guidance of trainers John and Thady Gosden.

Inspiral  will lock horns with Modern Games, the Lockinge winner trained by Charlie Appleby from the Godolphin stable.

The day’s second Group One race, the King’s Stand Stakes (3:40pm), showcases a fierce clash among leading sprinters.

Among the contenders are Highfield Princess and Dramatised along with the formidable Australian raider Coolangatta. They will battle it out over five furlongs.

The England and Irish 2,000 Guineas winners – Chaldean and Paddington – meet in the St James’s Palace Stakes at 4.20pm.

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