PUNTERS who attempted to swell their bank accounts on the eve of Royal Ascot were treated to a number of very close finishes at Windsor Racecourse on Monday.

Russian Remarque led them a merry dance in the opener, a one and a half mile handicap confined to apprentices.

All his opponents were struggling two furlongs out, amongst them the heavily backed Scarlet Sash (7-4 favourite).

However, Eddie Greatrex, 16, cajoled the Henry Candy-trained filly into contention and she overhauled the leader in the last strides to win by a nose.

Frankie Dettori’s sole ride of the night was in the two-year-old five furlong maiden, on Richard Hannon’s 2-7 favourite Alkhor.

He came from being fourth of the six runners to take the lead under a strong drive with 150-yards to go.

Alkhor ran out a workmanlike winner, three quarters of a length ahead of the consistent Raj To Riches (5-1).

The six furlong seller went to Kumanavsumfun (6-4 fav), who occupied third place for most of the race.

Tom Queally had to exert maximum pressure to get the better of stablemate Silver Springs (5-1) in the last 50 yards.

The winning distance was half a length, and trainer David Evans has now won the race four times in the last five years.

Souville (11-2) was held up in last by George Baker and produced to take the lead off Tamayuz Star inside the closing stages of the six furlong handicap. She won a little snugly by a length and a quarter.

Tamayuz Star (11-4) suffered a very similar fate here six weeks ago and deserves a change of luck.

Baker completed a quickfire double with another of his trademark come-from-behind rides to lead in the last few strides aboard Lady Marl (8-1).

The Gary Moore-trained filly appreciated the drop back to a mile and won by a head. Highland Duke (9-2), who was narrowly denied, showed a welcome return to form.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Think Ahead (7-4 fav) dominated the one and a quarter mile maiden. The four-year-old, who impressed in the paddock, was having his first run for 591 days.

James Doyle took him into an early lead by a length, and after the intersection he pulled effortlessly clear of Senrima (25-1).

Eased at the end, the winning distance was two lengths, with the rest of the field a further 11 behind.

In the getting-out stakes over a mile and a quarter Richard Hughes’s mount Manolito was a clear favourite.

He was one of a host of challengers spread right across the course to the front-running Taraz (11/2), who stayed on strongly to score by three quarters of a length from Thames Knight (16-1).

It was another all-action Queally ride, this time for the Roger Varian stable.

Racing returns to Royal Windsor ths Monday for a six-race card which begins at 6.30pm. Gates open from 4.30pm.

The evening features competitive races over six furlongs and a mile, and course and distance winners Cosmic Ray, Divine Law, Gossiping and Rio Ronaldo could all feature.

PUNTERS who attempted to swell their bank accounts on the eve of Royal Ascot were treated to a number of very close finishes at Windsor Racecourse on Monday.

Russian Remarque led them a merry dance in the opener, a one and a half mile handicap confined to apprentices.

All his opponents were struggling two furlongs out, amongst them the heavily backed Scarlet Sash (7-4 favourite).

However, Eddie Greatrex, 16, cajoled the Henry Candy-trained filly into contention and she overhauled the leader in the last strides to win by a nose.

Frankie Dettori’s sole ride of the night was in the two-year-old five furlong maiden, on Richard Hannon’s 2-7 favourite Alkhor.

He came from being fourth of the six runners to take the lead under a strong drive with 150-yards to go.

Alkhor ran out a workmanlike winner, three quarters of a length ahead of the consistent Raj To Riches (5-1).

The six furlong seller went to Kumanavsumfun (6-4 fav), who occupied third place for most of the race.

Tom Queally had to exert maximum pressure to get the better of stablemate Silver Springs (5-1) in the last 50 yards.

The winning distance was half a length, and trainer David Evans has now won the race four times in the last five years.

Souville (11-2) was held up in last by George Baker and produced to take the lead off Tamayuz Star inside the closing stages of the six furlong handicap. She won a little snugly by a length and a quarter.

Tamayuz Star (11-4) suffered a very similar fate here six weeks ago and deserves a change of luck.

Baker completed a quickfire double with another of his trademark come-from-behind rides to lead in the last few strides aboard Lady Marl (8-1).

The Gary Moore-trained filly appreciated the drop back to a mile and won by a head. Highland Duke (9-2), who was narrowly denied, showed a welcome return to form.

Saeed bin Suroor’s Think Ahead (7-4 fav) dominated the one and a quarter mile maiden. The four-year-old, who impressed in the paddock, was having his first run for 591 days.

James Doyle took him into an early lead by a length, and after the intersection he pulled effortlessly clear of Senrima (25-1).

Eased at the end, the winning distance was two lengths, with the rest of the field a further 11 behind.

In the getting-out stakes over a mile and a quarter Richard Hughes’s mount Manolito was a clear favourite.

He was one of a host of challengers spread right across the course to the front-running Taraz (11/2), who stayed on strongly to score by three quarters of a length from Thames Knight (16-1).

It was another all-action Queally ride, this time for the Roger Varian stable.

Racing returns to Royal Windsor ths Monday for a six-race card which begins at 6.30pm. Gates open from 4.30pm.

The evening features competitive races over six furlongs and a mile, and course and distance winners Cosmic Ray, Divine Law, Gossiping and Rio Ronaldo could all feature.

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PICTURE: George Baker smiles after the first leg of his double on Souville.