Royal Ascot day three tips: Stradivarius to join Yeats as Gold Cup great?
History could be in the making on day three of Royal Ascot with Stradivarius standing on the threshold of a record-equalling landmark.
One of 22 multiple winners of the Gold Cup, Stradivarius will join Yeats as the only four-time winner of the Group 1 staying prize if he strikes again.
Few will be betting against it such has been his dominance of the long distance division, especially at Ascot where he has won at four consecutive royal meetings.
The build-up will comprise the Norfolk Stakes, the 5f sprint for two-year-olds in which Wesley Ward will be doubly represented, and the Hampton Court Stakes for which late Derby defector Mohaafeth will be the hot favourite.
The fillies take their turn in the Ribblesdale Stakes where another Classic absentee Noon Star, who was forced to miss the Oaks due to a minor setback, meets two of the fillies she might have met at Epsom, Divinely and Dubai Fountain.
Three typically competitive handicaps, the Britannia, King George V and Buckingham Palace Stakes bring the day to a close.
All seven races will be shown live on terrestrial television and it all unfolds from 13:30pm on ITV4. We have previewed the three most significant races of the day in our Royal Ascot day three tips.
Run over the minimum 5f trip this race plays to the strengths of US trainer Wesley Ward who has won this twice with No Nay Never and Shang Shang Shang. He has two candidates, Lucci and Nakatomi, who could certainly fit the bill.
But he won’t want to see any rain and for that reason this could be an opportunity for one of the home team. We could look north for the right candidate with Bryan Smart having a nice prospect in Project Dante. He got off the mark at York in May when beating Korker, who won his next start. The pair meet again here in a battle between Yorkshire stables.
There is only one Derby, but it’s a maxim William Haggas found he could not stick to this year despite training a live challenger in Mohaafeth for the Classic. The trainer made a late call to pull the horse out of the race after heavy rain in the lead up, in the belief he would not handle softened ground.
He wanted fast going for the colt who has won all three races this year. He must have been confident of getting that at Ascot when he declared the colt for this race. Now the weather picture is a little uncertain with some rain in the forecast for day three. So he could be in for a tricky few hours, but if the exciting Mohaafeth does get the go ahead this time, he could show everyone what they missed at Epsom.
Nine runs at Ascot, six wins including a victory at each of the last four royal meetings, a fourth success in the long distance showpiece, the Gold Cup, is again within the grasp of the brilliant Stradivarius and any change in the weather is not going to stop him.
Last year he romped to a ten length triumph over old foe Nayef Road. Nayef Road is back again but so too a new rival from the same Mark Johnston stable in Subjectivist, the winner of the Prix Royal-Oak last year who was an impressive winner of the Dubai Gold Cup back in March.
Plenty will fancy him to take down the champ but he does have to run a half a mile further than he has raced so far. Stradivarius has proven himself over a variety of trips but, over 2m4f, at Ascot, there could be nothing to touch him.
ITV Racing Schedule, Thursday, 17th June
14:30 Ascot – Norfolk Stakes
15:05 Ascot – Hampton Court Stakes
15:40 Ascot – Ribblesdale Stakes
16:15 Ascot – Gold Cup
17:00 Ascot – Britannia Stakes
17:35 Ascot – King George V Stakes
18:10 Ascot – Buckingham Palace Stakes
All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.