A Royal occasion | This year’s events at Ascot put some credibility back into a sport damaged by the events of the past 12 months. (Image | IB Times)

Horse racing has not had the easiest year. The sport was much maligned for the death of five horses during the Cheltenham Festival, and things did not improve in April. In front of 11m viewers, the Grand National took the lives of a further two horses, including Gold Cup champion Synchronised. While deaths are not uncommon in horse racing, the fatalities were too public to be ignored and the ensuing storm of negativity threatened the very existence of not only the Grand National, but horse racing in general.

However, horse racing donned its tin hat, as it has done several times in the past, and weathered the barrage of public outrage. The reward for its loyal followers was Royal Ascot. This year’s meeting was one of the greatest in living memory. From Frankel to fashion, Royal Ascot 2012 oozed class and charisma, and provided the perfect antidote to horse racing’s struggles.

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