Gold Cup glory beckons on Day Three of Royal Ascot
On a day where Frankie Dettori rode his fiftieth Royal Ascot winner aboard Osaila, who put up an impressive weight-carrying performance to win the Sandringham, Ryan Moore again took the riding honours.
A treble on day one was followed up with a double yesterday, aboard Acapulco (Queen Mary) and GM Hopkins (Hunt Cup) seeing the former Champion Jockey move to five winners for the meeting after just two days.
The big race of the day went the way of Free Eagle who was masterly trained by Dermot Weld and expertly ridden by Pat Smullen to score.
Both trainer and jockey deserve huge credit for this win given the problems Free Eagle has encountered recently.
However, they were slightly fortunate Frankie Dettori held Jamie Spencer in aboard The Grey Gatsby as if he had got a clear run, there is no doubt the runner-up would’ve scored.
Dutch Connection revelled in the step down to seven furlongs on quick ground in the Jersey Stakes while James Doyle once more showed why he is one of the world’s leading young riders when he guided 25/1 Amazing Maria to a shock victory in the Duke Of Cambridgeshire Stakes.
2.30 – Norfolk Stakes
A smallish, but select field for this year’s Norfolk Stakes where two Richard Hannon juveniles dominate the market.
King Of Rooks and Log Out Island will be supremely hard to beat. With the latter not being seen in 50 days since his brilliant maiden victory, for whatever reason, KING OF ROOKS is taken to win Thursday’s opener.
Since his debut, the Frankie Dettori-ridden colt has done nothing but improve and his form now looks rock solid. At around the even money mark the son of Acclamation is not really a working man’s price, so if that doesn’t take your fancy the circa 25/1 about SHANGHAI GLORY may prove to be a better value each-way play.
Ajaya and Jazz Legend are also two nice horses, but look booked for placed prospects at the very best.
3.05 – Tercentenary Stakes
A whole host of improving three-year-olds to deal with here meaning we’ll need a bit of luck in finding the winner.
The favourite, Time Test really impressed when winning a historically strong Newbury handicap last time out. He’s a nicely-bred son of Dubawi, but we wonder should he be as short in the betting as he is given other horses in the field bring solid conditions-level form to the table?
This will also be the fastest ground he has encounter. The Queen’s Peacock is respected on his improving form and should go close, while Jessica Harrington’s Bocca Baciata holds strong claims.
Her recent fifth in the Irish 1000 Guineas is some of the best form on offer, but with ground fears, the nod goes to NAFAQA, who will really enjoy the quick terrain.
Barry Hills’s charge has some smart juvenile runs in the book and having taken a while to hit form this season, shaped like he was coming back to himself last time out. Around the 20/1 mark, he represents a sound each-way bet.
3.40 – Ribblesdale Stakes
Jim Bolger’s Pleascach will prove tough to beat in this fillies’ Group 2, but with her having three quickish runs this season, as well as a hard race last time out the daughter of Teofilo is worth taking on at her forecast price of even-money.
The Godolphin-owned filly also has to prove her stamina for this step-up in trip. Her biggest danger looks to be the Ryan Moore-ridden Curvy, who is a filly making giant strides of improvement this season.
David Wachman’s charge may progress further for this step-up in trip and if doing so will push the favourite. John Gosden’s Gretchen has a lovely pedigree, but doesn’t look up to this grade yet while Pamona shaped well when an unlucky third last time out, but needs to up her form again to challenge the market leaders.
Charlie Hills’s Pandora ran a lovely race in the Yorkshire Oaks and with the form working out can run into a place. At the prices however, it’s CURVY who gets the nod to cause a small shock.
4.20 – Gold Cup
It’s really hard to figure out this year’s Ascot Gold Cup despite it being run today.
Biographer, race favourite Forgotten Rules and Tac De Boistron are all classy stayers, but may not run due to quick ground at the Berkshire track.
If FORGOTTEN RULES lines up, he is the one to beat, but it’s hard to say whether he will or not. The British challenge is led by the likes of Mizzou and Vent De Force, who clashed in the Sagaro Stakes 50 days ago.
Luca Cumuni’s charge came out on top that day, but Vent De Force was unlucky in his run and has since won the Henry II at Sandown. He’ll prefer the faster ground to Mizzou so is taken to reverse the form.
Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore team up with Kingfisher and he is respected, but at the prices SIMENON is taken to outstay the field.
So many horses running have doubts about the trip, but the two miles four furlong test will be right up the selection’s street and with the excellent James Doyle aboard may cause a small shock for magic Willie Mullins.
5.00 – Britannia Stakes
A race chockfull of progressive three-year-old handicappers here meaning it’s not a contest to get heavily involved in. The likes of Sahaafy, Amazour, Bow And Arrow, Capel Path, Bartel, Udododontu and Resonant have all been in good form this season.
Of those to the top of the handicap the inform SAHAAFY looks to hold a sound chance while to the bottom Sir Michael Stoute’s CAPEL PATH has shaped like wanting this extra distance and can run a big race for the Queen.
Of those at much bigger prices, UDODODONTU will love the hustle and bustle of this big field and if he can see out the mile trip well, can outrun his odds.
5.35 – King George V Stakes
We finish the day with yet another competitive handicap, this time on the round course, however, and that should help in trying to find a winner, as there are little in the way of unknown draw biases and pace biases.
We’ve been a fan of Andrew Balding’s Scottish since his opening second this season, but a draw in 14 means he is going to need plenty luck.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Dissolution looks like going off favourite and is one to take on at the prices, although he should enjoy this step-up in trip.
King Bolete comes in in winning form and has Frankie Dettori aboard from a nice draw, but at the prices the strong-staying MAXWELL may be able to outstay this field.
The son of Big Bad Bob did well to win last time out having been outpaced at a crucial stage.
He showed his class, however, when he hit top stride and it was impressive how he put distance between him and the rest of the field. Marma’s Boy and Taper Tantrum are others to note.