by Charlie McCann
The times suggested the ground was bordering on good to soft for the opening day of Royal Ascot 2016 and for Ladies’ Day this afternoon one would imagine the ground would be holding or tacky; one thing’s for sure you will certainly have to stamina in abundance in the feature race the Ascot Gold Cup.
The past four winners of this marathon two-and-a-half-mile contest have been aged four and it is hard to see past Order Of St George who produced such a sensational performance when landing the Irish St Leger by no less than 11 lengths at the Curragh back in September.
Proven on the ground he is currently a well-backed Even money in what is an 18-runner race and jockey Ryan Moore won’t want to get too far back on his mount; he could easily be another Yeats but Mizzou (4.20) was my confident selection in this race last year, but never got competitive, and he can reward each way support 12 months on for Luca Cumani as long as jockey Andrea Atzeni makes full use of stall one – you can back him with Ladbrokes.
Despite the 2m 4f trip you cannot afford to get too far back in this race, especially not with 18-runners, and I hope Atzeni has Mizzou in a prominent position and strikes off the home turn; the selection is 10/1 at BetVictor and I would be disappointed if he didn’t make the frame.
The card opens with the Gp 2 Norfolk Stakes over 5f and Global Applause (2/1) has the best form on offer having comfortably won the listed BetVictor Million Pound Goal National Stakes at Sandown last month on fast ground. Frankie Dettori takes over from Ryan Moore who is claimed for Peace Envoy who has been re-routed from the Coventry as he is not considered in the same division as Caravaggio but neither was any other juvenile such was his brilliance in the Coventry on Tuesday!
Marginal preference is for the once-raced Godolphin juvenile Silver Line (2.3) who is bred to appreciate a bit of cut in the ground and looked very smart when winning at Nottingham on debut; he is 4/1 with BetVictor and it might be worth noting we haven’t had a winning favourite in the race since 2008.
Prize Money (3.05) may not have quite got home over 1m 3f at Goodwood last time when just pipped by Algometer, who lost nothing in defeat when seventh in the Derby, and he is bred to appreciate some cut in the ground being by Derby winner Authorized. Blue De Vega has the best form in the race, third in the Irish Guineas, but he must carry a 4lbs penalty and is not guaranteed on breeding to appreciate the step up to 10f for the first time; at 8/1 with BetVictor Prize Money gets the each way vote.
Architecture finished second to Minding in the Oaks and is likely to be all the rage for the Ribblesdale Stakes but they went too fast too soon up front and something had to finish runner up given Minding would have won a minute had she had a clear run.
Aidan O’Brien’s Even Song (3.40) missed the Epsom classic to wait for Ascot and that patience can be rewarded; the filly was staying on nicely when third in the Pretty Polly on her reappearance. She is taken to reverse that form with the runner up Chicadoro and it is significant that both fillies look to have targeted this race for some time having been given plenty of time to get over those Newmarket exertions. Even Song is 7/2 at BetVictor and I think she will be hard to beat.
My two against the field in the Britannia (each way 5 places at BetVictor) are Zodiakos and Defrocked (5.00) with marginal preference for the latter who has been raised 10lbs for a facile win at Doncaster last time. The selection has his quirks but at 14/1 I think he is a potentially smart performer and can reward each way support.
The closing King George V Stakes is a cracker; no horse has won the race carrying more than 9st 1lbs in the last decade and I hope Harrison (5.35) can carry that same weight to success for Mick Channon. The selection is 5lbs better off with Lovell for the 2 lengths he was behind that Charlie Appleby runner in a good Sandown handicap (10f) back in April and he could easily be the stronger stayer. The selection is 12/1 at BetVictor and is another each way selection.
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