Royal Ascot Ante-Post Angle: The Ascot Gold Cup
The Ascot Gold Cup is Royal Ascot’s most famous race, and it is now the highlight of the third day of the meeting, which is known as “Ladies day”. It has been dominated in recent times by Aidan O’Brien who, not only trained Yeats to win it on four consecutive occasions between 2006 and 2009, but also trained different horses to win the 2011, 2014 and 2016 renewals.
The emphasis is firmly on stamina, and not that many horses truly get home over the marathon trip of 20-furlongs, something to bear in mind as we take a look at the possible runners.
Order Of St George 6/4
His stamina was in doubt as he lined-up as 10/11 favourite for the 2016 renewal on soft ground, but he ran out a convincing 3-length winner. He has since shown enough class to finish third in the 2016 Arc, and he will probably be sent-off odds-on once more if he turns up after running out a convincing winner at Leopardstown last time.
French challenger who has won 10 of his 13 starts over shorter trips, and still has the potential to improve for this marathon trip. However, he was pipped at short odds by Quest For More on his only attempt at it in Chantilly.
Simple Verse 12/1
Ran very well here at the end of last season, when just third behind Sheikhzayedroad and Quest For More, and just in front of Order Of St George (probably not at his best). Interesting if she stays the trip, as she was good enough to win the 2015 St Leger.
Now an 8-year-old, but looked better than ever last season when stepped-up to staying trips for the first time. He was third in the 2016 renewal, then filled the same spot in the Goodwood Cup, before winning the Doncaster Cup and the Stayers Cup on Champions Day. It was noticeable that he settled better with each race last season, and should now relish this trip after two decent placed efforts in Meydan over shorter.
Sweet Selection 16/1
Won the Cesarawithch and the Sagaro Stake on her last two starts, and stamina should be no problem at all. However, she was only fifth behind Sheikhzayedroad in last year’s Doncaster Cup.
Big Orange 16/1
Likeable front-runner who is hard to pass on fast ground, however he may be at his best at 2-miles, though you can’t blame connections for giving it a go.
Was receiving 5lb when getting the better of Order Of St George last time, but the latter looked rusty there. Unexposed as a stayer though.
The Ascot Gold Cup Summary
It will be no surprise if the 6/4 about Order Of St George is a distant memory come the big day, but I’d much rather take the each-way approach with Sheikhzayedroad. He was beaten by the likely favourite in last year’s race, but that was his first attempt at being a stayer, and he learned to settle much better towards the end of the season when he took his revenge back here at Ascot over 2-miles. We know he gets the trip, and he could give the favourite plenty to think about this time around.
Sheikhzayedroad – 1 Point Each-Way @ 12/1 with Black Type (Click Here)
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