William Haggas showing his faith in Sea Of Class at Royal Ascot

william hAGGAS is hoping Sea Of Class – one of the best horses that he has trained – has retained her zest for racing when she makes her seasonal reappearance at Royal Ascot.

Yorkshire Oaks heroine Sea Of Class: Lines up at Royal Ascot today under James Doyle.

The four-year-old has not raced since last October when jockey James Doyle’s mount failed by a neck to overcome a wide draw and catch the brilliant Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

Yet, while this year’s Arc, Europe’s blue riband Flat race, and another clash with Enable is the ultimate target for Sea Of Class, Haggas is hopeful she is good enough to prevail today in the Prince of Wales’ Stakes, part of the Qipco British Champions Series.

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Not only is Sea Of Class dropping back in trip to 10 furlongs but ground conditions could deteriorate if the forecast thunderstorms hit the Berkshire track.

Trainer William Haggas has expressed caution ahead of the reappearance of Sea Of Class at Royal Ascot.

Then there is the absence of a prep run as Sea Of Class – a daughter of the legendary Sea The Stars – takes on a stellar field that also includes Aidan O’Brien’s equally brilliant filly Magical.

Yorkshire-born Haggas – son-in-law to legendary jockey Lester Piggott – believes his stable star has retained the qualities that saw her win last year’s Irish and Yorkshire Oaks.

He said: “You never know. Lots of horses don’t go on from three to four. A few fillies do but there are lots that don’t and you never know until you run them.

“You don’t normally see it at home, especially if they are not really flash, as you never ask them.

“We are not trying to find out at home, we are just trying to get her fit enough. Her work has gone well. I’d love to have had a run beforehand but it was not to be. She’s got to start somewhere and we always wanted to run in this race.”

Sir Michael Stoute’s Crystal Ocean bids for his second Royal Ascot success – having landed last season’s Hardwicke Stakes – and returns at the top of his game following successive wins at Sandown and Newbury this Spring. He will be partnered by Frankie Dettori for the first time.

Andre Fabre sends the impressive Prix Ganay winner Waldgeist across the Channel, while Deirdre will carry the hopes of Japan. She is the mount of 50-year-old Yutaka Take, champion Japanese jockey 18 times, in a truly international race befitting the status of the Royal meeting.

Malton trainer John Quinn will attempt to win the opening Queen Mary Stakes, a five-furlong sprint for two-year-old fillies, for a second successive year.

Triumphant 12 months ago with Signora Cabello, he saddles Liberty Beach who was victorious 10 days ago at a rain-softened Haydock under big race jockey Jason Hart, a former champion apprentice.

The in-form Hart also rides top weight Cardsharp for Middleham trainer Mark Johnston in the Royal Hunt Cup.

Johnston will be looking to add to his tally of seven wins in the Queen’s Vase when he saddles Nayef Road and Maxwecan.

Victory for either horse would see Johnston equal the record eight triumphs that the late Sir Henry Cecil recorded in this race.