By Jarred Magnabosco
Day 3 of the Royal Ascot sees the headline act, STRADIVARIUS look to make history & join YEATS as a 4x winner of the G1 Gold Cup, the most prestigious staying race on in Europe, set over the gruelling 4000m.
We start the meeting however, with the G2 Norfolk Stakes for the 2YOs over 5 furlongs (1000m) and I’m with the grey colt THE ANTARCTIC for Aiden O’Brien and team Coolmore. This colt is actually a full brother to one of the best sprinters in recent years in 3x G1 winner BATTAASH, who was the winner of the Kings Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot 2 years ago, the same race won on the opening day as NATURE STRIP.
The colt has been super impressive in 2 career starts to date, most recently in good time and if it’s a close battle to the line, I think he’ll have the grit & determination to win following two hard fought victories leading in here.
Short priced favourite WALBANK boasts the best ratings leading in & looks the main contender and horse to beat. I think the value though is now on THE ANTARCTIC for the Ryan Moore & O’Brien combo at the $4.50 on offer with PlayUp
BET: THE ANTARCTIC $4.50
Race 2 we have a lovely race of progressive 3YOs over 1 mile and 4 furlongs (2400m approx). It’s a race where we may see a few imported out to Australia on a Cups tilt.
Last year SUREFIRE won this race (Now in the Chris Waller stable) who has since won impressively on his Australian debut, before placing at G3 on route to the Sydney Cup while a further 2 horses from last years edition have also come out and won races in Australian in 2022.
In 2020 HUKUM won this race, he’s since won the G1 Coronation Cup, while the 2nd placed KIPPS (Now with Ciaron Maher) looks to have ability & SUBJECTIVIST who finished 3rd has since won the 2021 Dubai and Ascot Gold Cups.
This year I like the Godolphin trained SECRET STATE who is a well bred and progressive stayer who has been impressive in his 3 career runs to date. He was challenged last start at Nottingham (Albeit in a Class5) but the further the race went, the more he drew away in the concluding stages with authority. The 2nd horse that day has since gone on to win at Doncaster.
The other runner I like is NEWFOUNDLAND who is a full brother to the 2021 Cazoo Oaks winner SNOWFALL.
A son of Japanese star DEEP IMPACT, this colt for Aiden O’Brien ticks a lot of boxes and has a nice sharp sprint on him.
The only negative I could find was the fact he’s dropping back from 2600m, but he should be well suited by the tempo of a Royal Ascot 1m4f style of race and all things going well, looks a leading contender here.
NEW v OLD, Champion v Rising Star. The Gold Cup is set to be a beauty in Race 4, as crowd favourite in STRADIVARIUS looks to make history and win a 4th Gold Cup. The globetrotting staying champion looks back to his best after an easy 1st up win at York. He may have found the best part of the track late, but he is back here 2nd-up, which is how he has won all 3 of his Gold Cup’s, unlike last year where he went into the race almost 2 months in between runs.
Of the others, we must respect the favourite and rising star KYPRIOS who was a 14L winner last start making it a 4th win from 6 starts. His ratings have skyrocketed to 120 and on pedigree looks a stayer who can dominate on the big stage for years to come and I wouldn’t be surprised if the old campaigner handed over the baton tonight to a young up and coming star, but I wouldn’t be equally as surprised to see the master equal YEATS as cement himself as one of, if not the best stayer of all time.
The pair look the quinella of the week for me.