Royal Ascot Day 3 Preview
As part of Ascot tradition, the G1 Gold Cup is always the feature of the Royal meeting. Run on Ladies' Day, it retains all its status, even if the distance, two and a half miles, regularly places the race in danger of becoming an anachronism in the modern racing world.
This year's renewal is extra special, however. The race bears the title 'The Gold Cup in Honour of The Queen's 90th Birthday.' With Her Majesty in attendance, the day should be unique, even at a racecourse famous for its share of famous moments.
Nobody, who witnessed Estimate's Gold Cup triumph in 2013, will ever forget the sheer delight with which Her Majesty greeted her own winner. That reaction was enough to sustain the race for decades.
As for finding this year's winner, it is virtually impossible to go past Order Of St George, who excels when he runs over extreme distances. He won last year's G1 Irish St Leger by 11 lengths -- he easily beat the older opposition -- and he looked to be back in top racing mode when winning a Listed race at Leopardstown on June 3. He also loves soft ground.
Another, who will revel in the conditions is Clever Cookie, who has been crying out for some 'give' underfoot. Max Dynamite, also an excellent stayer, should get a more genuinely run race than he experienced in the G3 Henry II Stakes at Sandown last time.
The day starts with the G2 Norfolk Stakes, in which the Godolphin runner Silver Line, a winner at Nottingham on his only outing, has an excellent winning chance, though Global Applause and Legendary Lunch are more seasoned horses, whose experience gives them a slight edge.
In the G3 Tercentenary Stakes, the in-form Hawkbill will be the one for Godolphin, though Mulk, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, is also one to keep an eye on. He is untapped.
In the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes, Architecture brings the G1 Investec Oaks form to the table -- and that should be good enough. Sovereign Parade looks a rapid improver, though her inexperience is a minus.
Godolphin have a great chance of winning the Britannia Stakes with Folkswood, who won his maiden at Goodwood, then looked very promising when winning a handicap at Newmarket on 2,000 Guineas Day. He has not run for nearly seven weeks.
He has gone up 9lb for that win, but that may not be enough to stop his rise through the ranks. Yattwee, another Godolphin runner, may be the danger, with Defrocked one they all have to fear.
The finale, the King George V Stakes, looks tailor-made for Lovell, trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin. He has not run since finishing second in a Sandown handicap on April 22.