Royal Ascot 2017: Time for racegoers to dust off their hats as Ascot looks to shed some of its haughty image

As Royal Ascot hares around the bend once more, it is time for the racing world to dust off its hat.

And, for the first time, women will be allowed to wear jumpsuits to the royal meeting as Ascot looks to shed some (if not all) of its haughty-taughty image by allowing ladies to don one-pieces as they bow to fashion trends of the 21st century. Such attire would, of course, need to be “full-length to the ground” and headpieces must boast a diameter of at least four inches.

The big question ahead of Royal Ascot is usually what colour the queen’s hat will be, but this year it was whether Her Maj would even make it at all.

Such is Theresa May’s blundering that it was feared Queen Elizabeth wouldn’t even make it for her customary bop down the home straight, partnered with a bemused wave.

But even with Liz on board, she may not be the woman stealing the show at Royal Ascot this year.

Jessica Harrington claimed it was “beginner’s luck” when chaser Sizing John won her first-ever tilt at the Cheltenham Gold Cup back in March.

But that win meant Sizing John had become the first horse since Imperial Call in 1996 to do the double with the Irish Gold Cup and, during Women in Sport week, Harrington could, at Royal Ascot, boost her credentials to be the dark horse for trainer of the year in an astonishing 2017 – and dismiss all her self-effacing talk of luck as complete nonsense.

Flat racing is a very different beast but in two-year-old pair Brother Bear and Alpha Centauri she has two of the week’s most-fancied runners.

Ascot is one of the high points of the British sporting summer (Getty)

Brother Bear, an unbeaten colt, is set to go off as favourite in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes.

Alpha Centauri will wait until Friday but is a strong fancy for the Albany Stakes. And by the time he set hoof onto Ascot’s famous turf, Torcedor could already be a winner.

Two wins from two since joining Harrington’s stable in Moone, County Kildare,…

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