Gold Cup day at Ascot today, traditionally Ladies’ Day with the usual mix of high fashion and extreme bad taste, all of which will be absent this afternoon.
Favourite for the main event at 3.35 is Stradivarius who goes for a three-peat and is currently priced at 4-5 so to do.
Despite the wet stuff which is currently falling on the Berkshire turf we are not of a mind to take this one on and suggest a watching brief.
Proceedings start with the Golden Gates Handicap at 1.15, a race for 3-y-os with an open looking market.
We have picked out two for your delectation and delight, starting with John Gosden‘s Hypothetical. Not seen until last December, when winning a Chelmsford Class 3 event by 5 lengths, this son of Lope De Vega went off 15-8 favourite to beat the likes of Berlin Tango and Pyledriver in a Group 3 at Kempton 15 days ago. Nothing went right that day, but in finishing 4th behind two horses who have both royally advertised the form in the past two days, the calmer waters of a handicap should suit. Have an each way bet at 5-1.
We also like the look of Alan King‘s entry Tritonic, who also contested a Group 3 last time but had previously won a couple of conditions events in some style. Making handicap/seasonal debut today and with the champion jockey booked, this one is well worth a punt at 8-1.
The Wolverton Stakes at 1.50 has Sir Dragonet installed as 9-4 fav and, frankly, he should outclass this lot if anywhere near his last season’s best. With favourable noises coming from Ballydoyle, we recommend a decent bet at the price.
Just in case, we also suggest an each way tickle on Mountain Angel at 12-1. Roger Varian‘s 6-y-o was an unlucky 5th in this race last year and tries again with The Doyler up top.
At 2.25 the Jersey Stakes takes place over the straight seven furlongs and we throw two darts with Celestin and Final Song, which are available at 4-1 and 7-1 respectively.
The French trained Celestin has the services of the aforementioned Doyler, who can, we hope, make up for what may be an unfavourable draw (2), while Final Song ran the race of her young life to finish fourth in the 1000 Guineas and a repeat will make her the one to beat.
The last two races on the card (4.10 & 4.40) are both handicaps dominated by supposed ‘good things’ in the shape of Finest Sound and African Dream.
If you’ve been around as long as we have, you will be aware that supposed certainties have a nasty habit of being turned over, which is why bookmakers have such nice houses and cars, but the more one looks at the form, the more one thinks they are going to win.
Deep breath time, folks – 5-2 and 15-8 have to be taken.
“What about a double?” we hear you cry.
We couldn’t possibly comment.
Hypothetical 1.15 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1 (5 places)
Tritonic 1.15 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
Sir Dragonet 1.50 Ascot 4pts win @ 9-4
Mountain Angel 1.50 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (4 places)
Celestin 2.25 Ascot 1.5pts e/w @ 4-1 (5 places SkyBet)
Final Song 2.25 Ascot 1pt e/w @ 7-1
Finest Sound 4.10 Ascot 4pts win @ 5-1
African Dream 4.40 Ascot 6pts win @ 15-8