Preview: Ascot Gold Cup (Racing Info, Racing Result, Racing Video 2018)
Day Three - Royal Ascot (Ladies Day)
Will The Bee Sting Or Will Stradivarius Be Crossed By Godolphin?
The Gold Cup is the traditional highlight on Ladies’ Day which was won by Stradivarius, who came out on top following a protracted duel with Vazirabad and Torcedor, in what was widely-regarded as one of the races of the season. He faces the Gr.1 Dubai Gold Cup and Gr.1 Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter in this one.
Cross Counter and Dee Ex Bee, the main dangers to Stradivarius. The former won four of his seven starts in 2018, notably beating Dee Ex Bee in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood and subsequently landing the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup and the Gr.1 Dubai Gold Cup with ease. This trip demands an extra half-mile, but it shouldn't give him reason to pause for thought. And although the latter failed to win in eight 2018 starts, he looked better the further. He may yet have more to offer now stepping up even further in trip, and that has to be respected.
Southern France was a smart three-year-old last season, with the pick of his efforts coming when six and three quarter lengths third to stablemate Kew Gardens in the St Leger at Doncaster but he looks likely to stay the longer trip and should remain competitive at the very least.
The latter has yet to race beyond a mile and three quarters. He is also entered in the Hardwicke Stakes and that looks a more likely option at this stage.
Aidan O’Brien is also represented by Capri and Flag of Honour. The former won the Irish Derby at the Curragh and St Leger at Doncaster in 2017, and showed that he retains all his ability in an interrupted 2018 campaign, producing his best effort when three and a quarter lengths fifth to Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp. The 5YO has been well below that form in two starts this term, however, most recently when third in a listed race at Leopardstown. He has a lot to prove and do it with a step up in distance.
The latter cherishes longer races and has yet to be sufficiently challenged. He has not won any of his three starts this season. But this trip may be just the thing for him to get out of his slump.
The Magic Circle who was enroute to the Gr.1 Melbourne Cup when he burst a blood vessel. He should enjoy this longish trip but can he handle the top performers competing against him?