2:40pm (11:40pm AEST) – Unfortunately the indications are here that the server is about to collapse. Therefore, we have to end this live blog prematurely. Head over to my Twitter feed, @AndrewNJHawkins, for continuing coverage of this (hopefully) historic day.
LISTED CHESHAM STAKES
2. CRUCK REALTA
3. LOVELY PASS
4. MOVE TO STRIKE
Almost a Godolphin quinella, but it is Tha’ir who is strongest at the line to record a good win over outsider Cruck Realta and our selection Lovely Pass, who loomed up but couldn’t go on.
2:27pm (11:27pm AEST) – ABC commentator Gerard Whateley says there is an underground movement to get all Australians to the parade ring after the Diamond Jubilee Stakes to sing Waltzing Matilda, should she win. I’ll be there for sure! Sky Racing’s Ron Dufficy has urged punters not to start the “embarassing” Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi call…
2:22pm (11:22pm AEST) – Updated Diamond Jubilee Stakes odds can be found here.
2:19pm (11:19pm AEST) – So we are up to the first race on the card, the Listed Chesham Stakes (1400m) for two year olds. I reckon Godolphin could win this race, and I’m going to put their second stringer LOVELY PASS ahead of THA’IR. MOVE TO STRIKE and JALAA next best but it’s very open with a lot of unexposed types.
2:17pm (11:17pm AEST) – Sydney trainer Gabrielle Englebrecht has great ideas for how Her Majesty should dress…
2:08pm (11:08pm AEST) – The Queen isn’t wearing any salmon. Oh dear. Disappointing.
1:55pm (10:55pm AEST) – All the Black Caviar gear is here to go!
1:37pm (10:37pm AEST) – I’ve already made it clear that I think this is the biggest racing story, outside the Melbourne Cup, since Phar Lap’s North American raid. Click here to read why.
1:16pm (10:16pm AEST) – The coverage in the British press today is incredible. The Racing Post has her on the cover, declaring – “Now dazzle us baby”. The Daily Telegraph‘s Australian-born racing correspondent Jim McGrath says the Melbourne Cup stops the nation, “but this Diamond Jubilee Stakes will push it close.” The Sun declares Black Caviar the main course to Frankel’s entree, while The Daily Mirror features 12 famous Australian women (including Dame Edna Everage, Kylie Minogue and Germaine Greer) and declares Black Caviar their equal. Speaking of Kylie Minogue, The Guardian reckons Black Caviar is now “bigger than Kylie”. The Independent‘s Chris McGrath says racing now has no frontiers. It is big news here, but bigger news at home.
1:11pm (10:11pm AEST) – All the bookies on track are accepting Australian dollars. It really is a microcosm of Australia in the middle of England!
1:09pm (10:09pm AEST) – There are some more scratchings – Fadeintoinfinity is out of the first, Fiery Lad out of the fifth and Bruslini out of the last.
12:54pm (9:54pm AEST) – One time Sky presenter Oli Bell just tried to get on a train in London but reported two of them were full and he couldn’t get on. That’s insane, given when we came on Tuesday and left at midday, there were plenty of empty seats.
12:17pm (9:17pm AEST) – I’m sitting next to the team from CNN, who are here reporting on Black Caviar at Royal Ascot. That’s right – CNN. Shows how she transcends all boundaries really.
12:07pm (9:07pm AEST) – There are five non-runners (scratchings) today at Ascot. They are:
R1 – 16. Sadiigah
R2 – 8. Masked Marvel
R3 – 2. Hitchens
R4 – 14. Jonny Mudball
R5 – 6. Qaraaba
R6 – CLEAR
12:01pm (9:01pm AEST) – The Duke of Edinburgh Handicap may also be important for the spring. It was won last year by the now-deceased Fox Hunt, who ran seventh and was arguably unlucky in the Melbourne Cup last year.
11:56am (8:56pm AEST) – Outside of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, the most interesting races is the Hardwicke Stakes, featuring 2011 Melbourne Cup quinella Dunaden and Red Cadeaux as well as the Australian-owned gallopers Jakkalberry and Quest For Peace. At least one of these horses will be in Melbourne for the Cups come the spring, with Red Cadeaux and Jakkalberry all but confirmed as visitors. Dunaden may run in the Arc instead, as may Quest for Peace. And Racing Victoria’s Leigh Jordon has said every runner is on the hit list for the Melbourne Cup. So it is definitely a race to watch from a spring perspective.
11:54am (8:54pm AEST) – As with every day at Royal Ascot, there are six races on the card. In order, they are the Listed Chesham Stakes (1400m),the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2400m),the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (1200m),the Wokingham Handicap (1200m),the Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (2400m) and the Queen Alexandra Stakes (4300m).
11:49am (8:49pm AEST) – The atmosphere here at Ascot is quite amazing. She’s really transcending boundaries. Not many want to see her beaten, even amongst the English. But the nerves are also kicking in.
11:41am (8:41pm AEST) – We are doing our bit to bring Australiana to the media centre. It’s been tweeted by numerous English journalists who are having a bit of a laugh at us. But we have to bring the Aussie spirit to Royal Ascot!
11:30am (8:30pm AEST) – The hashtag we’ll be using today is #goBlackCaviar. All tweets using this hashtag will go into a special page here, which will be shown to the connections of Black Caviar – including trainer Peter Moody.
11:16am (8:16pm AEST) – Welcome to Royal Ascot for one of the biggest moments in Australian sporting history. Yes, the day is finally here when our mighty mare Black Caviar takes on all comers at the world’s most prestigious race meeting. This historic racecourse, 40 kilometres west of central London, is set to see scenes unlike those ever seen before. More than 5000 Australians are set to be a part of the capacity crowd, with a wave of patriotism already descending upon Berkshire. It’s Andrew Hawkins and Morgan Payne here, live from Ascot, where Queen Elizabeth II and the Royal Family are expected to see a display of sheer brilliance. It has been one of the best carnivals already – Frankel reaching stratospheric heights on Tuesday, So You Think finally showing his true capabilities on Wednesday, a thrilling Ascot Gold Cup on Thursday and a royal winner – Estimate – on Friday. Can Black Caviar make it the perfect carnival?? We shall see. All eyes will be on her at 12:45am AEST, 10:45pm if you are in Western Australia. Enjoy tonight’s blog, as we potentially experience history.