Royal Ascot Day Three Preview: Can Stradivarius complete a Gold Cup hat-trick?
We take a look at the best of Thursday’s action
We’ve reached the halfway mark of this year’s Royal Ascot festival and Thursday sees the Gold Cup take centre stage.
After winning the Group 1 contest in each of the last two years, Stradivarius and Frankie Dettori are targeting an historic hat-trick.
There are seven races in total to look forward to at Ascot on Thursday and ahead of the action, we’ve run the rule over all the key runners and riders.
13:15 Golden Gates Handicap
13:50 The Wolferton Stakes (Listed)
14:25 The Jersey Stakes (Group 3)
15:00 The Chesham Stakes (Listed)
15:35 The Gold Cup (Group 1)
16:10 The Britannia Stakes (Handicap)
16:40 The Sandringham Stakes (Handicap)
Ahead of the Gold Cup, Frankie Dettori will be looking to gain some momentum aboard King Leonidas in the jockey’s third race of the day. The son of Kingman impressed on debut in a 7f Newmarket novice and he returned there with a win earlier this month carrying a 7lb penalty in a strong field.
Elsewhere, Coral ambassador Jim Crowley will target another Ascot win aboard Molatham. Roger Varian’s colt followed up a maiden win at York by beating 2,000 Guineas runner-up Wichita in a listed race at Doncaster.
An outsider looking to impress is Final Song, who made a winning debut at Ascot before finishing third in the Queen Mary Stakes. She’s probably most comfortable over 7f and she runs on the back of a fourth-place finish in the 1,000 Guineas.
Despite not being among the favourites in the pre-race betting, Concessions could surprise a few here after dominating over this distance at Chelmsford.
But she’ll face stiff competition from Ryan Moore and Battleground. Aidan O’Brien sends him out after fifth in a maiden at Naas last week in which he stayed well over 6f.
Modern News could also go well after a strong debut over 6f at Newmarket. The son of Shamardal got the better of stablemate Noble Dynasty in his maiden and he could improve over the longer trip.
Not many people will be looking past Dettori and Stradivarius, who are targeting their third consecutive Gold Cup win. But a third in a tough Coronation Cup at Newmarket was difficult preparation and an increase in distance will ramp up the pressure.
One horse looking to take Stradivarius’ crown is Moonlight Spirit. He’s unexposed at 2m+ but he won a Longchamp Group 3 over 15f last September and a good development over the winter break could see him challenge.
Cross Counter will be looking to bounce back after finishing fourth in last year’s Gold Cup. The 2018 Melbourne Gold Cup winner enjoyed a respectable return under big weight in Saudi Arabia in February.
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All odds and markets correct as of date of publication.