Royal Ascot Day Three Preview

royal-ascot-logoBy Jake Russell (@JakeRuss1000)

Wednesday was a hard day to predict the winners for me personally, with a lot of big fields in front of us, Thursday is again no different. Here is my preview of the top races for Royal Ascot on day 3.


First up we have the Class 2 Golden Gates Handicap over 1m2f, with the current John Gosden favourite Hypothetical who will be ridden by Frankie Dettori. A 3yo who has only had 2 runs, including a win on debut at Chelmsford last December, where he looked quite impressive on the day before finishing 4th in his last run in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton a few weeks back. Some good form lines form the horse’s that finished ahead of him. Acquitted looks a solid proposition for the Hugo Palmer team, winning twice as a juvenile, before coming a clear second on his seasonal reappearance at Newcastle behind Palace Pier a few weeks back, wouldn’t surprise me if he is thereabouts in this race with this trip sure to suit him very well. Global Storm is Godolphin’s main string in this race. He has some decent form on offer winning once as a 2yo, then winning on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket over trip on the 7th June. He will be fit after that run and does look to have some quality in his locker, but does have a penalty to handle here today, interesting runner.

Other notable runners are Highland Chief, his pedigree suggests the step up in trip is sure to suit very well, he could run a good race at a bigger price. Tritonic and Grand Rock have some good form from their 2yo seasons, both horses winning twice. The Champ booked on Tritonic, with this in mind he has a serious chance in this race. Grand Rock has the young Cieren Fallon onboard who takes off a valuable 3lb, this could prove vital and he may run a good race here. Maori Knight is a very interesting runner, running twice this season winning in February before coming second to a good-looking colt in his last run at Haydock a few weeks back, this horse is race fit and certainly looks a danger in this race.

My selection for this race is the Richard Hughes trained Maori Knight at 7/1, He has some solid form on offer and has ran at this trip last time where he was just beaten on the line, the son of Camelot should run a good race in this with his fitness being at the highest. Nice each way selection to start us off.


Next up we have the Listed Wolferton Stakes over 1m1f where the Aiden O’Brien trained Sir Dragonet is the current favourite. He has some good form on offer and looked like a quality 2yo leading into his 3yo campaign, he finished 5th in last years Derby before not running so good later on in the season, although placing on the last 2 efforts. He has had his prep run in March where he finished second to a horse that finished 3rd in a Group 2 6 days ago. He certainly looks the one to beat with fitness on his side, something a lot of the other runners do not have in their favour. Fox Tal for Andrew Balding is a very interesting runner, only had the 6 starts in his career including a 4th in last year’s Champion Stakes at Ascot after being well positioned to finish strong in the final stages. He is now a 4yo and very lightly raced with a yard that is in flying form at present, he really does fall under the could be anything category if fit enough her today.

A few horses to note are Regal Reality for Sir Michael Stoute, a horse that has ran 11 times in his career, finishing 3rd in last season Eclipse at Sandown. After being Gelded over the winter, that could change this horses’ fortunes as he looks for his fourth career win. Frankie’s mount Crossed Baton is an interesting one, finishing his season last year as a winner in a listed event over today’s trip at Lingfield. He has to defy a penalty and may need to step up further with his form, but he is trained by arguably the best in the business so could of improved over the winter. The stable’s second string is Dubai Warrior, who has some superb form on the AW but has only ran once on turf finishing seventh out of eight runners in France last season. You have to question why Frankie choses Crossed Baton over this horse and this may not be his day unfortunately, as he seems to perform better on the artificial surface. But it wouldn’t surprise me if he runs a good race today as he does look a decent prospect. Aloe Vera looks an exciting prospect going forward for Ralph Beckett, 2 wins out of 2 runs in his career including a listed event at Goodwood in May last year. He has not seen a racecourse in over a year so question marks on his fitness, but I’m sure Ralph will have him primed for this.

My pick in this race is the AOB trained Sir Dragonet. He clearly has the talent and with fitness on his side, I can see him being hard to beat over a trip that suits him nicely.


Next up is the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over 7f for 3yo’s where we have another John Gosden horse leading the market, the unbeaten King Leonidas. Only had the two starts in his career, which both have ended in him getting his head past the line in front. His debut was quite taking, although it seems he beat nothing much that day, He then was a ready winner last time out on the 7th June at Newmarket. He certainly looks a very nice talent going forward so does warrant to be favourite today, only time will tell if he is as good as people think.

Probably the most experienced horse in the line-up is the Aiden O’Brien trained Monarch Of Egypt, He ran in some top races as a 2yo including the Dewhurst where he finished 5th out of 9 and the Middle Park Stakes where he finished last of 8. He doesn’t have much form on offer but he did run a fairly decent race last time out in the Irish 2000 Guineas, where he was on the inner with not much room to manoeuvre before staying on near to the line. He doesn’t look like to have the form to win this race, but he has been held in high regard with connections and is race fit so it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets an each way place today.

Other notable runners are Molatham for the inform Jim Crowley and Roger Varian, He has some good form as a 2yo including a win at listed company at Doncaster in September last year where he beat some brilliant horse’s in Witchita and Berlin Tango who have both ran in some top races since then, that was on very fast ground, with rain forecasted at Ascot he could find it hard today if not handling the going, keep an eye on the betting for this horse. We have a French raider in this race in the form of Celestin trained by Fabrice Chappet, two wins as a 2yo including in listed company, this horse has ran twice this season so will be race fit today, including a good fourth behind Victor Ludorum in the French 2000 Guineas, very interesting runner with the Champ Oisin Murphy booked. Lord Of The Lodge looks a worthy contender today if handling the step up to 7f, but he has very good form over 6f so could be thereabouts in the placing today.

My selection for this race is the favourite King Leonidas, he looks a horse going places and I think he has the right improvement to win this Group 3 race today, again another horse who has been spoken highly of at home. Looking forward to seeing him run today.


Next up we probably have the hardest race of the day, The Chesham Stakes over 7f for 2yo’s. Now because of what’s happened in the world racing hasn’t been on for 3 months or so, it is incredibly hard to see what 2yo’s are the next best thing with not much form to their names. Current favourite is the AOB trained Battleground, finished 5th on Debut at Naas over 6f on the 8th June, its difficult to make anything out of this form but with the master trainer looking over him I would expect this horse to be on top form today with race fitness in his favour. Modern News is the Godolphin first string, a winner at 6f on 1000 Guineas day last weekend, he kept on very well that day so looks like a step up in trip very soon will suit, will be thereabouts today if handling the ground getting softer.

Golden Flame was a clear second in debut at Haydock last week for Mark Johnston, looks an interesting debut run as he looked to have been staying on slightly to the line after being headed in the final furlong, so he could do well today. Bright Devil won on debut for the inform Andrew Balding team, he made all that day under today’s jockey Oisin Murphy so it would not surprise me if he is bang up there in the finish after a solid debut run. First Prophet was a winner on debut at Newbury last week, he looked very green that day so would need to settle today, but because of the greenness on his run he does looks a talented individual, to win going away by just over a length, one to certainly keep an eye on with James Doyle booked fresh off his fantastic day 2.

Like I mentioned this is a very hard race to judge, so im going to attempt to pick the winner, now it wouldn’t surprise me if a horse further down in the betting wins but my selection is Modern news for Charlie Appleby. Both yard and jockey Will Buick are in top form, and his debut looks about the best on offer for me, he looks like he could improve a bunch today so I am looking forward to hopefully see him progress.


Next up we have the feature of Day 3 and arguably the feature race of the meeting, The Ascot Gold Cup. Two-time Gold Cup winner and top stayer Stradivarius heads the market being odds on, he certainly warrants this with his previous race form as he looks to get his third gold cup in a row and emulate the great’s that are Sagaro and Yeats. There could be question marks on the ground getting softer for this horse, but he did win this race on soft ground last season so I feel the going shouldn’t be as much of an issue as people say with this versatile horse. I am so looking forward to hopefully seeing this horse stamp his name in the history books with his third Gold Cup win in arguably the weakest Gold Cup field he has contested in to date. This money making machine will be hard to stop today with his partner in crime Frankie onboard.

I feel the favourite is hard to beat but looking elsewhere in the field Technician for Martyn Meade could be the one to spoil the party, he is a Group 1 winner over 1m7f in France last October, where he was staying on superbly this day, so the Gold Cup trip may not be an issue, however this is the first time this horse has gone over such trip. The softer conditions will suit this horse massively, arguably he is the best performer on any ground that is soft or past it. Very interesting runner in this race and it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes this race a test for Stradivarius.

Moonlight Spirit is an interesting runner for Godolphin, he has some good form to offer but hasn’t ran at this trip before and did look out paced last time out when getting beat by Technician in the France Group 1. He looks like he is progressing well and is lightly raced but I feel this trip will not suit the horse. One to watch for me. Cross Counter has been beat by Stradivarius the last few times they have met, but he has run at this trip in last year’s gold cup where he finished fourth. He hasn’t won in the UK since 2018 and only seems to run his best races abroad as he captured the Melbourne Cup in 2018, interesting runner but needs to produce something special to win this race in my eyes.

Prince Of Arran could be a huge price to me, he is a very smart and reliable horse who always runs a cracking race no matter where he goes, he ran in this race in 2017 so has experience on the trip, but there are question marks on whether it suits the horse. It would be great to see this 7yo get his time in the limelight today and win the big race of the meeting, although he has a lot to find on the favourite and other contenders.

I personally can not see past Stradivarius, even with the ground getting softer, however I think Technician will run a huge race today and get in the places with the trip will suiting him well, he could be a serious Gold Cup contender going forward as he is only a 4yo. But it would be great to see Stradivarius stamp his name in the history books with his third Gold Cup win.


Thank you for reading, the last two handicaps of the day are a minefield so its best I leave them out of the preview.

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