The May Racing Weekend is our final meeting before Royal Ascot, offering connections one last chance for their horses to gain experience of the track before June.
Friday’s seven race card is headlined by the £30,000 AGV Handicap for three-year-olds at 4.55pm. Often won by a horse that goes on to compete at Royal Ascot, the form is always worth following with last year’s winner, Society Power, going on to finish second in the Jersey Stakes. This year, Motafaawit tops the weights looking to build on a promising two-year-old season while Deep Intrigue has already won four times for Mark Johnston and brings Listed level form to the table.
The opening contest, the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Fillies' Stakes, has typically attracted some well-bred horses including Divine Spirit, who cost Godolphin £850,000 at a recent Breeze Up Sale, while Aroha and Love Love should be able to build on recent debuts at Salisbury.
The feature race on Saturday is the seven-furlong Tote Victoria Cup, a hugely competitive handicap worth £105,000 that Ripp Orf will be looking to win for the second year running under Hayley Turner. Kynren for David Barron and Blue Mist in the famous colours of Khalid Abdullah have been prominent in the ante-post betting while George Of Hearts has run well at Ascot before without winning and Glorious Journey was a Group Three winner in France last year and could be well handicapped on that form.
We also have Listed action in the form of the Carey Group Buckhounds Stakes, an important trial for the middle distance races at Royal Ascot. The small but select field includes last year’s winner Barsanti, who went on to run well in the Hardwicke Stakes and represents the in-form Roger Varian. He could have his work cut out against Solouen though, who was only beaten a head by Cracksman last year at Epsom and has consistently run well in Group One company.
On Saturday, we also host our first ever Silk Series race which forms part of a series of races running throughout the summer specifically for female jockeys. Jockeys compete for points in fifteen races at various racecourses before a final at Doncaster in September where the overall Champion will receive the Tufnell Trophy. The trophy is named in honour of Meriel Tufnell, the first woman to ride a winner under rules in Britain when winning the Goya Stakes at Kempton Park in 1972. Jockey Megan Nicholls was named Silk Series Champion in both 2017 and 2018.