Thursday 17th June 2021
Day 3 of the meeting takes place on Thursday and like the the second day I’ll be having a look at three of the Group races that are taking place throughout the afternoon. The first of these is the Hampton Court Stakes, a Group 3 event that’s contested over a mile an two furlong, and attention here turns to the William Haggas trained Mohaafeth who’s the mount of Jim Crowley. He was well fancied for the Derby before being withdrawn, this was off the back of a very impressive display at Newmarket where he cruised to success in a Listed contest, winning by five lengths. He’s a horse with a bundle of potential and the son of the great Frankel has every chance of making his presence felt here.
Up next at 3:40 is the Ribblesdale Stakes which is a Group 2 contest for fillies’ over a distance of a mile and four furlongs. Sir Michael Stoute is the winning most trainer at Royal Ascot and I think he’s got every chance of adding another on to his tally here with Galileo filly Noon Star who’s set to be ridden by James Doyle. She went off a short priced favourite in the Musidora Stakes at York when finishing second to the subsequent wide margin Oaks winner Snowfall. That’s clearly the best form on offer in the race, having got within three lengths to what seems to be another Ballydoyle superstar, and I believe Sir Michael’s filly has the potential be pretty smart herself. The unbeaten Eshaada is interesting contender here for Roger Varian, as it remains to be seen how good she could be, and a mention has to go both Divinely and Gloria Mundi who represent Aidan O’Brien and the Gosden’s respectively.
The feature of Day 3 is of course the Gold Cup at 4.15, a Group 1 event over a distance of two miles and four furlongs. All eyes will be on the fantastic Stradivarius, as he aims to make it four Ascot Gold Cup victories for the Gosden’s and Frankie Dettori. Do I think he will get his fourth win? I do, yes. I don’t think he’s as good as he was a couple of seasons ago, but that would obviously be expected as he’s getting older. I look through this race and I struggle to see much in opposition to him, which would be the main factor here. The horses that have found him out before have been proven Group 1 animals, the likes of Kew Gardens, Ghaiyyath and Anthony Van Dyck and there’s nothing of their calibre in this line-up, I think if he’s anywhere near his best it’s hard to envisage him getting beat and you’d like to think he’d be primed for this. Aidan O’Brien sends last year’s Derby winner Serpentine up in trip here, and Santiago will once again renew his rivalry against the favourite, having not being able to conquer him last term. The main dangers according to the betting appear to be Trueshan for Alan King and Mark Johnston’s Subjectivist, which is fair. If you want one at a price each-way I wouldn’t put you off Emperor Of The Sun for Donnacha O’Brien, he’s ultra consistent and is still relatively unexposed as a four-year-old, he’s certainly unexposed at this trip. He was last seen when beating the smart Search For A Song by over three lengths in a Listed race and he could well grab a place in what is a much tougher assignment here.