ROYAL ASCOT – DAY 3 (THURSDAY)

16:20 Ascot

One of, if not THE, biggest races of the five day festival is the Ascot Gold Cup. One of the longest flat races staged in Britain it has some of the most infamous winners in flat racing history. The likes of Yeats (who won it four years in a row) and Sagaro to name just a few of the past victors.

Two years ago Order Of St George claimed an impressive win in this race in 2016 and aims to reclaim his title this year around.

The former victor enters the race on the back of two decent wins this season. A win at Navan was followed by success at Leopardstown last month. The six year old did what had to be done to win his last two but the opposition was less than stellar and although he’s a proven Group 1 horse he’ll have to step up to his best to grab victory here once again.

The biggest threat according to the bookmakers is the Sir Michael Stoute trained Stradivarius who has the high flying duo of Dettori and Gosden on his side. A third in last years St Leger was followed by a decent third in the Long Distance Cup here at Ascot. He finished just a length behind Order Of St George that day and on the expected better ground is expected to go closer. The relatively lightly raced runner has room to improve and looks a major player if he can stay the distance.

Torcedor has done battle with the aforementioned duo before and has not looked too out of place at this level. A former winner at Ascot he should handle conditions but his inconsistency may well be his biggest downfall.

Vazirabad is a horse who has performed on the biggest stage overseas but has yet to race over here in Britain. A multiple Group race winner both in his native France and in Dubai shows he has the raw talent needed to trouble the main protagonists but I suspect he doesn’t quite have the required class to win a race at the highest echelons of the sport.

With the main protagonists already discussed it may come as a slight shock to see us side with one of the outsiders in the form of David Elsworth’s Desert Skyline. Although trainer Elsworth has been around the game a good while he’s not one of the biggest names in racing but has his yard firing on all cylinders hitting an impressive 27% strike rate in recent weeks. A three length second behind Stradivarius isn’t bad form but I feel the step up to today’s 20 furlong trip may well be the making of him. His most impressive runs seem to have been when he’s tackled trips in excess of two miles and on ground that isn’t as soft. With those two boxes ticked he should find today’s conditions favourable and at a big price looks great value for each-way punters.

DESERT SKYLINE (E/W)

14:30 – Charming Kid (E/W)

15:05 – National Army (E/W)

15:40 – Sun Maiden (WIN)

17:00 – Crack On Crack On (E/W) & Sam Gold (E/W)

17:35 – First Eleven (WIN) – NAP

written by Rory Paddock