Royal Ascot Day 3 Betting Tips: We preview all of Thursday’s action
Thursday is Gold Cup Day at Royal Ascot, and that means all eyes will be on super stayer Stradivarius as he bids to win the feature contest for a third consecutive year.
John Gosden’s star has been one of our best-backed horses across the entire week, and in the absence of old rival Kew Gardens, he’s an odds-on shot to rattle off the hat-trick.
So, can he do it? We’ve previewed the Gold Cup alongside every other race on the middle day at Royal Ascot in our ITV Racing Tips.
Race 1 – Golden Gates Handicap – 13:15
There are plenty of chances in the opening race of the day, starting with Acquitted, who ran well behind St James’s Palace hopeful Palace Pier on his reappearance at Newcastle.
Hugo Palmer’s inmate shoulders a 4lb rise for that runner-up effort, but with the winner that day looking potentially special, there could be more to come from the progressive Night Of Thunder colt here.
Elsewhere, Maori Knight, Global Storm and Hypothetical should also be considered, while more is expected of Cepheus, who won at 25/1 on debut last year but was well out of his depth in the 2000 Guineas last week.
These are much calmer waters, though, and while this will still be a tough ask, the extra distance coupled with the booking of in-form jockey Jim Crowley make Brian Meehan’s charge an interesting outsider.
Race 2 – Wolferton Stakes – 13:50
The lightly-raced Fox Tal is the one to beat after ending last season with an excellent fourth behind Group 1 winners Magical, Addeybb and Deirdre over course and distance in the Champion Stakes.
All three of those are established performers at the highest level, and with this Listed contest a marked drop in grade for the favourite, it’s not hard to see why our traders fancy his chances for a yard bang in form.
Sir Dragonet, who hasn’t been the same horse since an excellent effort in the 2019 Derby provides the main opposition, with Dubai Warrior also of interest if he can translate his good all-weather form to the turf.
John Gosden’s runner won the Winter Derby at Lingfield earlier this year, and while he has the frame and build to attract plenty of attention, he’ll need to both concede weight and prove he can handle the surface.
Race 3 – Jersey Stakes – 14:25
We look set to have two flip-flopping favourites in the Jersey, with King Leonidas and Molatham both attracting interest at the top of the market for this three-year-old contest.
The latter looked particularly progressive last season when beating subsequent 2000 Guineas runner-up Wichita in a Listed event at Doncaster, although he did then disappoint in a Group 3 at Newmarket.
King Leonidas, on the other hand, is two from two so far and won a minor event at HQ under a 7lb penalty earlier this month. This is tougher, but the Gosden-Dettori combination is always one to be wary of.
At bigger prices, Mystery Power is back down in class after winning a Group 2 before finding the Vintage Stakes and Middle Park too hot, while Final Song drops to 7f after finishing fourth in the 1000 Guineas.
Race 4 – Chesham Stakes – 15:00
Aidan O’Brien has won the Chesham a record four times, and with only limited form available for this bunch of precocious two-year-olds, it could be worth paying attention to those sort of historical form trends.
The Master of Ballydoyle only has one dart this time around, but in Battleground, who attracted plenty of market attention on debut at Naas, he has every chance of hitting the bullseye once again.
The War Front colt out of Found ran on well to finish fifth that day which suggests the extra furlong on offer here should suit. Golden Flame and first-time out winners Modern News and Bright Devil are the dangers.
Race 5 – Ascot Gold Cup – 15:35
For Battaash in the King’s Stand, see Stradivarius in the Gold Cup. Like Charlie Hills’s speedster, John Gosden’s super stayer is well clear of the opposition on the ratings as he bids to claim a hat-trick of wins in this race.
And with his main opposition in Kew Gardens now withdrawn, it’s difficult to see how any of the remaining seven runners can lay down a significant enough challenge to upset the five-time Group 1 winner.
Technician is given the best chance, but only if the rain comes, while the likes of Cross Counter, Prince Of Arran and Nayef Road have either already been beaten up by the jolly, or are unproven over this 2m 4f trip.
Ultimately, this is Stradivarius’s race to lose, and if his recent spin at Newmarket has left him spot on, then the others look as though they’ll be playing for place money.
Race 6 – Britannia Stakes – 16:10
This is usually one of the toughest handicaps of the entire festival, but market principles Enemy, Verboten and Finest Sound all have a preferred high-draw and will each fancy their chances at the head of the betting.
It was impossible not to be impressed by the way the latter of the trio won on his reappearance at Haydock after a gelding operation, and a 5lb rise may not be enough to stop further progression here.
Of the remainder, Grove Ferry won twice last term and enjoyed a good spin when runner-up on reappearance at Lingfield. He conforms to a number of trends and would be the third big price winner in the last four renewals.
Race 7 – Sandringham Stakes – 16:40
All the talk is around African Dream in the final race of the day. John Gosden’s inmate was second to last season’s Rockfel runner-up Stylistique on her return at Newbury in a race where she was giving the winner 7lb.
That makes her 16lb well in on her handicap bow, and if she can build on that performance over the mile here, she’ll be tough to beat.
Declared Interest and Soffika, who will run in the colours of Crystal Ocean, are expected to put up the main challenge.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication