The question on everyone’s lips on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot will not be what colour hat will the Queen wear, but whether or not Fame And Glory will get the 2m4f trip of the Gold Cup.
The Gold Cup is the highlight of the whole five days racing at Royal Ascot but spirits have been dampened with the withdrawal of last year’s winner Rite Of Passage.
Billed as a battle between Dermot Weld’s Rite Of Passage and Aidan O’Brien’s Fame And Glory, the absence of Rite Of Passage sees all eyes fall on Fame And Glory and the short-priced favourite has plenty to prove to punters.
Rite Of Passage was a blot on the trends last year when winning at 20/1 but only twice in the last 10 years has the winner come from outside the top four in the Gold Cup betting.
A 2/1 chance for Thursday’s race, recent years would suggest being the favourite is a positive for Fame And Glory but nine of the last 10 winners have won over two miles entering this race – the exception was Yeats’ first win in 2006..
There will be many willing to take on Fame And Glory because he is yet to run over two miles, and as this is the race for the champion stayers on the flat, that is a worry.
Except Aidan O’Brien knows exactly what is needed to win this race having trained Yeats to four wins between 2006 and 2009, and Fame And Glory has taken the same route Yeats did on his way to victory in 2007 and 2008.
Having beaten Rite Of Passage over 1m6f on his last start, many believed that was the run that suggested this race is Fame And Glory’s to lose.
It certainly looks as if that is the case with Duncan and Asker Tau looking the best of the rest.