We have reached the middle day of the Royal Ascot 2023 meeting with seven more races taking place at the Berkshire track. The headline race on Thursday is the Ascot Gold Cup where the leading stayers are on show.
That is one of four non-handicap races on offer over the course of the day. We have a selection for the feature race and after scouring the remainder of the card there is another pick we like in the opener too.
2.30 Royal Ascot
Kicking off Day 3 is the 2 year olds again with 26 lining up for the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes, a 5 furlong sprint. After a winner of Day 2, the American raiders will be hopeful of adding to that with Wesley Ward’s American Rascal and George Weaver’s No Nay Mets amongst the first 3 in the market. I’d favour Ward’s of the pair but you never know quite what to expect so odds around 5/1 are a little short. The short priced favourite is Karl Burke’s Elite Status, coming off the back of a 5 lengths win in the National Stakes but the 2nd horse home, World Of Darcy, disappointed in the Windsor Castle so the form has taken a bit of a knock.
His Majesty – Aiden O’Brien runs one in this and I’m siding with him to get Day 3 off to a good start with the selection. On debut, he won a Listed race over this trip at the Curragh where he took an age to get the hang of things but once he did, he quickened up well and was very strong through the line. He then went on to contest the Group 3 Marble Hill over a furlong further at the same track, and he still looked a bit backwards, again taking time to pick up. Once he did, he ran on really well and was only denied narrowly, finishing a head behind one of today’s rivals Noche Magica. I would expect he will have come on for those runs & if he has, he must go close given how well he has run despite his inexperience and greenness. It’s the first time that Ryan Moore gets the leg up & if that’s another big positive so, with there not appearing to be a load of depth to this beyond the first 5 or 6 in the market, I expect us to be picking up place money as a minimum.
Back His Majesty (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 9.50 William Hill BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)
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4.20 Royal Ascot
The big race of the day is the two and a half mile Group 1 Gold Cup and it’s fair to say we don’t appear to have anything of the class of Stradivarius in here. In fact, the market is headed by Coltrane who, 12 months ago, was winning a handicap here. He’s improved since but, in his only start in Group 1 company, he was only 4th of 9 in the Goodwood Cup. Eldar Eldarov, 2nd favourite at the time of writing, was also a winner a year ago when landing the Group 2 Queens Vase and he went on to win the St Leger later in the campaign. Provided the extra mileage isn’t a hindrance, he will be hard to keep out of the frame. Dettori is aboard Courage Mon Ami & this lightly raced gelding is 3 from 3 but this is his first try in pattern company so whether he’s got the class for this is a massive question mark. At a big price, I think Broome could go well but Ryan Moore prefers Emily Dickinson so that’s slightly offputting.
Yibir – A winner of 7 of his 17 career starts including 4 wins in Group company should give the selection a massive chance. However, there’s a big big question; will he get the trip? He’s bred for it, that’s for certain, and he looks to be a stayer but the fact he’s never gone beyond a mile and 5 furlongs is concerning. That said, surely Charlie Appleby wouldn’t pitch him in here if he didn’t think he had a chance of getting home & if he does, his class could easily see him home. Last year, he was 2nd in the Sheema Classic & 2nd in the Jockey Club before winning the Grade 1 Man O War over in the US. He then won a Group 2 at Newmarket to close his campaign. He needed his reappearance but that will have put him spot on for this. The ground has also come in his favour with form of 11131 with firm in the going description so provided he can see out the trip, he looks massively overpriced in an open renewal.
Back Yibir (e/w) for a 1/10 stake at 15.00 Unibet BOG (⅕ odds 1-4)