Leading Light enhances Ascot Gold Cup claims with Vintage performance

Leading Light is 2/1 favourite (from 7/2) with Coral for the Ascot Gold Cup following an impressive win in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan.

The Aidan O’Brien trained colt made the perfect start to his four-year-old campaign with a three length victory over Royal Diamond in the Group 3 contest over 1m 6f.

Last years’ St Leger winner was running for the first time since finishing down the field in the Arc at Longchamp in October, and travelled strongly throughout the contest before being produced to challenge down the middle of the track at the two furlong marker.

The son of Montjeu then quickened up nicely when asked to surge clear inside the last 200 yards and win with tons in hand.

The performance oozed class, and all roads now lead to the Ascot Gold Cup over 2m 4f on Thursday, June 19th.

The winning trainer said: “You’d have to be very happy with him, you couldn’t be happier really.

“We haven’t seen the bottom of him yet, at the end of two miles at Ascot last year in Queen’s Vase he didn’t seem to be stopping so we will look forward to the Gold Cup and he could run in the Saval Beg before that.”

Leading Light will now bid to follow in the footsteps of Yeats (2007 and 2008) and Fame And Glory (2011), who won the Vintage Crop for O’Brien before landing the big one at Royal Ascot.

One of Leading Light’s main rivals at Ascot will be Tac De Boistron, who after romping to a a five length success in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes over 2m at Ascot on his seasonal reappearance lost little in defeat when going down by just 1/2 a length to Gospel Choir in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup.

Marco Botti’s seven-year-old had to shoulder a 4lb penalty in the race for his win in a Group 1 contest at Longchamp and is a proven stayer who boasts a rock solid profile.

The son of Take Risks was cut to 7/1 (from 12s) for the Ascot Gold Cup after the Yorkshire Cup, but is now the 5/1 second favourite with Coral following further support.

Tac De Boistron shares that position with Estimate, with Brown Panther next best in at 10/1.