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Royal Ascot: Five Greatest Royal Ascot Performances

Royal Ascot is set to dominate the racing world once again, with five days of tremendous top-level action from the famous Berkshire turf.

Ahead of the 2023 Royal Ascot meeting, which you can follow via our live Sports Streaming Platform, we take a trip down memory lane, recalling five of the greatest Royal Ascot performances.

Frankel - Queen Anne Stakes - 2012

He's not just a modern-day great, he is to many the greatest of all-time, and in 2012 the mighty Frankel sprinkled stardust on Royal Ascot with a stunning Queen Anne win.

This was Frankel's third season and already confirmed as his final year racing and the spotlight was fixed firmly on everything he did.

He'd won the Lockinge without issue on his return, but on this Royal Ascot afternoon he faced a field laced with Group 1 winners and he blew them away, winning by a whopping 11-lengths.

Sir Henry Cecil's ace sat just off the pace set by stablemate Bullet Train and with three furlongs to run, Tom Queally angled him out to move forward. Old rival Excelebration - winner of two Group 1 mile contests that season - attempted to go with the champion but wilted in the face of greatness.

Frankel underpinned his greatness with perhaps his best ever display, scorching away to make it 11 wins from 11 starts, this time by 11 lengths for perfect symmetry.

Baaeed is earning some comparison with Frankel now and the Shadwell-owned, William Haggas-trained star is a 1/3 chance to win the Queen Anne on Tuesday.

Choisir - King's Stand Stakes - 2003

Royal Ascot is rightly viewed as one of Europe's most prestigious meetings and excitement levels always tend to increase when it 'goes global'. That is, to find that a star name from Australia, American, Asia or the Middle East is coming to lay down the challenge and attempt to confirm their status on British soil.

In 2003, it was Aussie sprinter Choisir, trained by Paul Perry, that rocked up at Ascot for the five-furlong King's Stand Stakes. He faced 19 rivals that afternoon and the betting saw him somewhat overlooked at odds of 25/1 but the odds compilers were left stunned by a powerhouse display and a dominant win.

Johnny Murtagh was the man on board and his mount was out alertly and in the early lead from stall eight. The Irish pilot crossed to the running rail and his mount never saw a rival. Legendary Aussie commentator Jim McGrath had the call and, with a furlong to run, he declared "they are making no impression on him at the moment" and so it was.

Choisir turned out again four days later and won the Golden Jubilee Stakes over six furlongs and he was a trailblazer for international competitors at Royal Ascot in every conceivable sense.

Yeats - Ascot Gold Cup - 2009

It's hard to narrow down Yeats' best performance, but also impossible to overlook the historic afternoon in 2009 when he won his fourth Gold Cup - a feat never before achieved and as yet unmatched - though Stradivarius is 13/2 to achieve his fourth in 2022.

Yeats landed his second win in 2007, the 200th anniversary of Royal Ascot's flagship race, at which point only Sagaro had managed three wins in the race.

Tellingly trainer Aidan O'Brien would suggest after his fourth win in '09 that he had 'never felt such pressure' before any race, before adding: "history is very hard to change; we were in this position and we never would be again."

Though Johnny Murtagh was shoving him along entering the final bend, Yeats was soon in front and - as was his wont - he didn't stop galloping all the way to the line. Sir Michael Stoute's Patkai gave battle every step of the way, but the champ was not for catching and put more than three lengths between them at the line to win four consecutive Gold Cups - an incredible feat from both horse and trainer.

Lady Aurelia - Queen Mary - 2016

If Choisir laid the foundations for international raiders then American trainer Wesley Ward has built on them. Ward is renowned for his handling of precocious sprinters and Lady Aurelia was viewed as just that when she came over for the Queen Mary in 2016.

Ward isn't shy in terms of talking up his stars and his pre-race declaration that this filly was 'really something, awesome good' had tongues wagging. Not quite as much as they were wagging post-race, however.

Under Frankie Dettori, the American filly was in front all the way and bludgeoned her rivals in a seven-length demolition - the widest winning margin in the Queen Mary since Mumtaz Mahal some 93 years before.

Cruising in the lead at the furlong-marker, Dettori pushed the button and Lady Aurelia defied logic by picking up while her rivals were flailing in behind, a barnstorming show of power and speed.

She was Ward's seventh Royal Ascot winner at the time and would return a year later to win the King's Stand, proving her class and ensuring she's viewed as one of the best to have crossed the Atlantic.

Mill Reef - Coventry Stakes - 1970

Ian Balding's Mill Reef sits proudly amongst the great names of British racing and his Coventry Stakes win in 1970 was a thing of beauty. Having only debuted Salisbury the previous month, little was known of the promising youngster but he looked a million dollars and duly dominated the Coventry Stakes in a six-length win.

It was an outstanding crop of youngsters that summer, with French ace My Swallow and Middle Park scorer Brigadier Gerard amongst Mill Reef's contemporaries, and wins in the Gimcrack at York and Newmarket's Dewhurst followed.

The Derby at Epsom was his in 1971 along with the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and in 1972 he won both starts at four before injury cruelly ended his career on the track.

A true star, Mill Reef's blistering Coventry win marked him out as being just that.

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