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London – You’ll find almost as much ice at Royal Ascot this week as you will in Antarctica as sweltering temperatures are expected to greet the 300,000 racegoers who will flock through the turnstiles for the best five days racing in the world.

Win or lose, the punters, buoyed by the pomp and pageantry that this great British occasion brings, will make short work of the 51,000 bottles of champagne, 25,000 jugs of Pimms and 5,000 lobsters as they celebrate with stars of stage and screen, not to mention The Queen who has not missed Royal Ascot once since her Coronation in 1953.

Prize money is close on £7 million and three of the eight Group 1s come on Tuesday’s opening day, with the Americans – fired up by the five successes for trainer Wes Ward in the last four years – assembling their biggest raiding party to date.

Ward, who has 10 runners through the week, is oozing confidence of a flying start on Day 1 with LADY AURELIA in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes.

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