Frankie Dettori celebrates with a trophy after winning the St James's Palace Stakes as Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, look on. Picture: REUTERS
Frankie Dettori celebrates with a trophy after winning the St James's Palace Stakes as Britain's Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, look on. Picture: REUTERS

Meghan Markle made her first appearance with husband Prince Harry on the first day of the 2018 Royal Ascot festival in London on Tuesday, joining Queen Elizabeth II, who has not missed opening day at the Royal Meeting for decades.

The newly crowned princess could be getting a much closer connection to the sport of kings if the public decide to name a racehorse after her.

A prominent British gaming group is running a competition allowing punters to name an unraced three-year-old horse, and their campaign, #HorseWithNoName, has received major coverage on Twitter. The horse will go into training with leading handler Jamie Osborne.

The name "Meghan Arkle" has made the shortlist of 16. The name is a pun on Arkle, a horse who dominated racing in the UK in the 1960s.

Back home Gaynor Rupert, a member of our own racing royalty, bred a colt called Charles at her Drakenstein Stud near Franschhoek. Charles, who fetched R6m at the Cape Premier Yearling Sale in 2017 and became the most expensive yearling sold in SA, made a good winning debut in a Maiden Plate over 1,200m at Kenilworth on Tuesday.

Charles is a son of former champion sire Trippi from a mare called Demanding Lady, by Dynasty, which had a number of fans assuming his naming had a connection with royalty – perhaps with Prince Charles.

It is said, however, that Charles was named after Charles Trippi, the American football player famous in the 1950s. He races for Irish bloodstock tycoon John Magnier and Mayfair Speculators and looks to have a bright future.

Staying with the theme of royalty, the word "Khalifa" is used in various Arabian orders to mean "successor", and two-year-old Miss Khalifa (from the mare Arabian Glamour) could be one of the best bets on the card in race 3 over 1,000m at the Vaal on Thursday.

Miss Khalifa will be returning from a five-month lay-off, but her trainer, Tobie Spies, reported last week that he was expecting a big run back. "She’s a very good filly," he noted.

Trainer Dorrie Sham, who is based at the country track, has three good form runners in the shape of Tripod (race 4), Dorman (race 5) and Kungfoofighting (race 6), all likely to start at decent each-way odds.

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