Australian horses on Royal Ascot radar

MELBOURNE Feb 17 2017

English racing administrator Nick Smith has made his annual trip to Melbourne to look at prospective contenders for the Royal meeting at Ascot.

Saturday's Lightning Stakes at Flemington marks the start of the 10-race Global Sprint Challenge and Smith has already set his sights on Flying Artie and Spieth as potential Royal Ascot invitees.

Since Black Caviar won the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot in June, 2012, Australian representation has been limited.

That's something Smith, the director of racing and communications at Ascot Racecourse, is hoping to rectify.

"We've been a bit light on for sprinters from Australia in recent years," Smith said.

"Last year was more about America with Tepin and Lady Aurelia.

"There's no doubt we need the Australians to come back and this looks a decent crop for that to happen with Flying Artie and several others."

Smith says Flying Artie looks the ideal type for the 1200m of the Diamond Jubilee and that connections seem keen to travel with the three-year-old.

He said Australian sprinters generally set the standard although American speedster Lady Aurelia will be the testing material in the King's Stand Stakes.

Smith is also in discussions with connections of Jameka about the possibility of the Caulfield Cup winner competing at Royal Ascot.

Trainer Ciaron Maher has flagged the prospects of Jameka running in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes in July.

"That would be new ground for us to have a horse like her to come firstly for Royal Ascot and then for the King George in July," Smith said.

He said there were a number of potential lead-up races Jameka could run in at Royal Ascot including the Queen Anne Stakes (1600m), the Prince Of Wales's Stakes (2000m) or the Hardwicke Stakes (2400m).

"I'll have discussions with Ciaron while I'm here," Smith said.

"The owners have shown enthusiasm and I want them to know that enthusiasm is reciprocated.

"If we got a couple of sprinters and her come over I think it will be putting Royal Ascot back on the Australian map after a couple of quiet years."

Smith is hopeful Winx will be a visitor to Royal Ascot in 2018 after discussions with trainer Chris Waller and the mares' owners at the recent presentation of the World's Best Racehorse awards in London.



Craig Brennan - AAP

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