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A Royal Year Head to Ascot

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Above my desk at home is one of my most cherished possessions- it’s a limited edition signed by the artist of the Royal Procession as it turned off the course on the historic first day of the 2005 Royal Meeting- staged at York.

I was humbled to be asked to do the commentary on the track that day and even more so when York generously presented me with it.

It brings back many memories, and I have the honour of being track commentator for the procession for the 15th time on the Royal Heath this week.

For many, the Royal Procession is the highlight of the day- even the finery of Ascot’s food is sacrificed for a decent vantage point, the first ones taken as Her Majesty and Her Guests sit down to lunch at Windsor Castle.

The talk is, of course of winners- and anyone fortunate enough to be invited will speak in the warmest terms of the amazing knowledge The Queen has of the equine world.

No one in that crowd on the day Estimate raised the roof in winning the Gold Cup in the Royal Colours will forget it- prompting Ascot officials to the fastest rethink ever as Her Majesty could hardly present her Trophy to herself.

The Royals make Ascot for the masses, and as I sat working on the highlights of the Thanksgiving Service in St Pauls it suddenly struck me- what would a Royal Ascot winner be worth as part of the 90th Birthday Celebrations of a monarch to whom the sport is eternally indebted.

Here’s hoping somewhere in the next 5 days I get to call one in.

BY MIKE VINCE

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