As the anticipation for the prestigious Royal Ascot races reaches a fever pitch, all eyes turn to the regal stables of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The British Monarchy’s enduring love affair with the sport of kings is set to take center stage once again, as the Royal couple prepare to cheer on their prized equine athletes in the 2024 edition of this iconic event.

The British Royal Family’s deep-rooted connection to horse racing is a tradition that spans generations. From Queen Elizabeth II’s lifelong devotion to the sport to the current monarch’s own lifelong fascination, the Royal Ascot has long been a cherished annual gathering for the Crown. As King Charles III and Queen Camilla prepare to take their place among the throngs of spectators, the nation eagerly awaits the unveiling of their royal runners set to grace the hallowed turf.

Desert Hero: Hardwick Stakes

Leading the charge for the Royal stable is the charismatic Desert Hero, who etched his name in the history books last year by clinching victory in the prestigious King George V Stakes. The four-year-old, trained by the esteemed William Haggas, will be aiming to defend his crown in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes on the final day of the meeting.

Desert Hero’s triumph in 2023 was a particularly poignant moment for King Charles, as the horse was bred by his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, a renowned patron of the sport. The monarch’s visible emotion during that race underscored the deep-rooted connection between the Royal Family and their equine companions.

As Desert Hero prepares to return to the scene of his previous triumph, he faces stiff competition, with the bookmakers currently listing him as the joint third-favorite, with odds of 10/1 to secure a repeat victory. However, the horse’s connections remain confident, buoyed by his impressive performances in the lead-up to the event.

Hard to Resist: Sandringham Stakes

Another member of the Royal stable set to grace the Ascot turf is the three-year-old filly Hard to Resist, who is scheduled to compete in the Sandringham Stakes on the penultimate day of the meeting. The race, a handicap contest, will mark the filly’s first appearance of the season, as she looks to bounce back from a disappointing outing at Chantilly last October.

Hard to Resist’s potential has long been recognized by the Royal Family, and her presence at Ascot will undoubtedly generate significant interest among racing enthusiasts. With a current price of 14/1, the filly represents an intriguing prospect for those seeking to capitalize on potential upsets.

Gilded Water: King George V Stakes + Golden Gate Stakes

Joining the Royal contingent is the three-year-old colt Gilded Water, another William Haggas-trained runner who has caught the attention of the racing world. Gilded Water is currently entered in two races at Royal Ascot: the prestigious King George V Stakes on Thursday and the Golden Gates Stakes on the final day.

The colt’s versatility has been on full display this season, having already tasted victory at Chepstow after stepping up to the 1m 2f distance. With odds of around 12/1 for both of his potential engagements, Gilded Water represents a tempting proposition for punters seeking to back a potential dark horse.

Treasure: Golden Gate Stakes

Rounding out the Royal Ascot team is the three-year-old filly Treasure, who will be vying for success in the Golden Gates Stakes on the final day of the meeting. Initially entered in two races, Treasure has now been narrowed down to a single contest, as her connections aim to secure a much-needed triumph.

Treasure made an impressive debut at Nottingham last October, but her subsequent performances in Oaks trials and the Epsom Oaks itself have been less than stellar. However, the lure of the Royal Ascot stage may provide the perfect platform for the filly to rediscover her winning form and reclaim her status as a promising prospect.

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