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Royal Ascot Thursday predictions: Stradivarius out to level Yeats' record
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Enda McElhinney
Stradivarius will be aiming for a record-equalling fourth Gold Cup victory in at Royal Ascot
Stradivarius will be aiming for a record-equalling fourth Gold Cup victory in at Royal Ascot

Today is Gold Cup Day on what has so far been a sun-kissed Royal Ascot.

Stradivarius will look to emulate Yeats and secure his fourth win in the iconic event, though young pretender Kyprios will be out to spoil the party.

It is a seven-race card on day three of the festival running and we have previewed all of the action.

2.30pm — Norfolk Stakes (Group 2, 5f)

Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore combined to win the Norfolk in 2015 and 2017 and they have leading claims again as The Antarctic is unbeaten in two Irish runs. He is a brother to Battaash and speed is his game.

Walbank went close here on debut and has since blitzed his rivals at York ensuring he is shortlisted but Michael O'Callaghan's National Stakes runner-up CRISPY CAT can give them a headache.

That run was Crispy Cat's second near miss in Listed company and he is battle-hardened. 

Verdict: The Antarctic is bursting with potential but Crispy Cat is streetwise and could stage an upset.

3.05pm — King George V Stakes (Heritage Handicap, 1m4f)

Traditionally one of Britain's toughest three-year-old handicaps. Irish raider Yashin should be in the mix for Jessica Harrington, while both Charlie Appleby's Secret State and William Haggas' Mandobi are likely improvers.

John and Thady Gosden will fancy a big run from ISRAR under Jim Crowley. He beat Surrey Mist, who will oppose him again in this race, at Newbury last month and there should be further progress from him.

Verdict: Major respect is due to Irish raider Yashin but Israr's form looks stronger.

3.40pm — Ribblesdale Stakes (Fillies' Group 2, 1m4f)

Just the six fillies for the Ribblesdale and in truth, cases can easily be made for five of them — it is very open.

Sea Silk Road won nicely at Goodwood last time but the form looks weak in comparison to the defeats suffered by Life Of Dreams, Mukaddamah and MAGICAL LAGOON in excellent company.

Jessica Harrington's Galileo filly Magical Lagoon was second at Navan in April, beaten by Concert Hall, who has since run well in two Group 1s.

She can put that experience to good use.

Verdict: Lots of these are open to doing better but Magical Lagoon will have garnered plenty from her Navan near miss.

4.20pm — Gold Cup (Group 1, 2m4f)

Princess Zoe could be an each-way option in the Gold Cup.
Princess Zoe could be an each-way option in the Gold Cup.

The big one of the week as Stradivarius gets a second crack at equalling Yeats' tally of four wins in this race.

He was not good enough last summer and his form generally dipped afterwards. A Yorkshire Cup win on his return gives hope, however, and it is dangerous to write Frankie Dettori off.

Kyprios is the up-and-comer but the four-year-old Aidan O'Brien runner is untested at this distance, so last year's second PRINCESS ZOE might be the value shout.

She tenaciously won the Sagaro Stakes over two miles here in April and will once more give it her all for trainer Tony Mullins.

Verdict: A Stradivarius win would bring the house down but Princess Zoe is a solid each-way alternative.

5pm — Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap, 1m)

Three unbeaten records are carried into this with King Of Time and Yonafis strongly respected, but preference is for Haydock's Silver Cup winner WHOPUTFIFTYINYOU.

It is strong form the Clive Cox inmate boasts and he has scope for even better yet. 

Charlie Appleby's King Of Time fits a similar bill, while Bolthole is an outsider of note for trainer Michael Bell given that the distance here should suit him ideally.

Verdict: Lots of promise here but Whoputfiftyinyou is perhaps furthest down the development road right now.

5.35pm — Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3, 1m2f)

There is a burning desire to see a Royal winner this week given the Platinum Jubilee celebrations of recent weeks and REACH FOR THE MOON looks the leading hope for Her Majesty's colours.

A Group 3-winning juvenile, he made a solid comeback behind My Prospero at Sandown. This is a guilt-edged chance for him.

Verdict: No rider would be favoured over Frankie Dettori to deliver a Royal winner in these circumstances.

6.10pm — Buckingham Palace Stakes (Handicap, 7f)

William Haggas' exciting Montassib has leading claims of staying unbeaten but this is easily his toughest test to date and if AL RUFAA can find his best form, he has got every chance of a major run on these terms.

The Gosdens' son of Kingman can be keen in his races and this big field should allow Rab Havlin to find plenty of cover early on.

Verdict: Montassib is very much on the rise but a peak form Al Rufaa is well capable of winning this.

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