Inaugurated in 1807, the Gold Cup is Royal Ascot’s oldest and best loved race.
Run over the marathon trip of two-and-a-half miles at Group One level, it is a unique test of stamina in Britain at the highest level.
Order Of St George, representing the Coolmore team who sent out Yeats to win the great race in four successive occasions, bids to repeat last year’s win.
Very much like Yeats, he isn’t invincible, but the way he won last year suggests he may have the same hallmarks as Yeats in that he just seems to come alive at over the extreme trip which he only faces once a year.
Principle amongst the opposition is the popular Big Orange, twice a winner of the Goodwood Cup over two miles. If as effective over the longer trip, he is a serious danger to the favourite.
A cracking field of 14 in all line up, including Torcedor for Jessie Harrington, who actually beat a rusty looking Order Of St George earlier in the year, last year’s St Leger winner Harbour Law and previous Gold Cup winner, Trip To Paris.
The Group One Norfolk Stakes for speedy two year old colts over the minimum trip of five furlongs opens the show. After two days of Royal Ascot, Wesley Ward leads the trainers table with two winners and a second and his McErin is strongly fancied tomorrow afternoon.
The Hampton Court Stakes (Group Three) features an interesting group of three year olds just below Derby standard, some of which ran in the Derby trials. This is also two furlongs shorter than the Derby so attracts horses that missed the Derby looking for a less extreme trip, such as Benbatl and Mirage Dancer.
The Ribblesdale is a Group Two race for fillies over the Oaks trip and can either be a quick opportunity for horses that ran at Epsom to bounce back, such as this year’s Oaks fifth, Coronet. More often as not though it is won by later developing horses that missed Epsom and have the Irish Oaks on their radar. In that respect Goodwood Height Of Fashion Stakes winner Mori very much fits the bill.