Thursday at Royal Ascot sees Stradivarius bidding for a hat-trick of Gold Cups at 3.35. It will feel so different to his first two. No glamour, no glitz, no champagne, no picnics in the car park – no crowd. This is Cup Day BCD.
John Gosden’s six-year-old is odds-on. He finished a good third in the rerouted Coronation Cup in his warm-up race at Newmarket. What’s to stop him winning his third Gold Cup?
Technician looks the main danger. He won a 1m 7f Group 2 in France on Arc weekend and then beat France’s best stayers in the Prix Royal Oak (French St Leger). Of the others, Nayef Road finished three places ahead of Technician when third in last year’s St Leger. He beat two of his Gold Cup rivals, Prince Of Arran and Withhold, when winning the Sagaro Stakes, held this year on Newcastle’s all-weather track. If all eight runners stand their ground, then Nayef Road, at around 10/1, holds a good each-way chance.
Cup Day BCD – Jersey Stakes
The Group 3 Jersey Stakes (2.25) over seven furlongs has 15 runners. King Leonidas is unbeaten in two starts under Frankie Dettori. Having won a 7f race first time out at Newmarket last year, he impressed when winning over a mile on the same course earlier this month. He’s drawn on the favoured stands side in stall 15 and can take the step up to Group company.
Aidan O’Brien’s Monarch Of Egypt, soundly beaten in last year’s Middle Park and Dewhurst Stakes, finished seventh behind Siskin in the Irish 2000 Guineas, beaten 5¼ lengths.
Molatham is the mount of Jim Crowley, who notched a Royal Ascot treble on the first day. Unraced this year, he won York’s Convivial Maiden and Doncaster’s Flying Scotsman Stakes before finishing fourth behind Military March in Newmarket’s Autumn Stakes. Meanwhile, Final Song, the sole filly in the field, has been on the go in the Middle East this year before running fourth in the 1,000 Guineas. Ropey Guest consistently outruns his long odds and could sneak a place but is badly drawn in stall one.
Cup Day BCD – Chesham Stakes
Lots of chances in this nine-runner 7f Listed contest (3.00). The two who make most appeal are Charlie Fellowes’ First Prophet and Charlie Appleby’s Modern News. The latter beat stablemate Noble Dynasty by a neck over 6f at Newmarket two weeks ago. First Profit makes a swift return after winning a 7f race at Newbury on Friday. He led on the bit two furlongs out and won easily despite hanging left late on. Drawn well in stall nine, First Profit gets the vote to land the Chesham on Cup Day BCD.