ASCOT GOLD CUP (G1) 4000M (12.45 AEST) – PREVIEW
1 EASTERN ANTHEM (Singspiel – Kazzia by Zinaad)
2 GEORDIELAND (Johann Quatz – Aerdee by Highest Honor)
3 SAGARA (Sadler’s Wells – Rangoon Ruby by Kingmambo)
4 VERACITY (Lomitas – Vituisa by Bering)
5 YEATS (Sadler’s Wells – Lyndonville by Top Ville)
6 CENTENNIAL (Dalakhani – Lurina by Lure)
7 HINDU KUSH (Sadler’s Wells – Tambora by Darshaan)
8 PATKAI (Indian Ridge – Olympienne by Sadler´s Wells)
9 WASHINGTON IRVING (Montjeu – Shouk by Shirley Heights)
Just the one Group 1 event at Royal Ascot on Thursday but it’s one worth savouring. Coolmore stayer Yeats equalled the great Sagaro by winning a third Gold Cup in 2008 and he is poised to make it a history-making fourth victory this year.
But the pride of Ballydoyle has to defy advancing years and a worrying loss first-up in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan in April.
“He’s a year older and wiser than last year, so he minds himself and is clever,” trainer Aidan O’Brien said. “His first run was disappointing, but it was run in bad ground and he was still very relaxed in himself. He wasn’t in top gear at that time of the year so I wouldn’t read that much into it.”
Fellow veteran Geordieland will bid to shed his bridesmaid after seconds to Yeats in the past two editions of the Gold Cup. He was very impressive first-up when powering home to win the Henry II Stakes (G2) at Sandown.
“It’s going to be a fantastic race and it is great to be a part of it,” trainer Jamie Osborne said. “They are great horses and it would be great to see them fight out the finish again — but obviously with a different result.”
Sheikh Mohammed has won the Gold Cup four times since 1996 and he goes into the marathon with three runners headed by Veracity who warmed up for the Cup with a third behind subsequent Coronation Cup (G1) winner Ask in the Yorkshire Cup (G2) last month.
“Veracity ran a sound race at York and the distance was perhaps a little on the short side for him,” trainer Saeed bin Suroor said. “He has come out of that race in fine shape and I have been pleased with him since.”
TIPS: 1 YEATS, 2 GEORDIELAND, 3 VERACITY
Betting: 9/4 Yeats, 3/1 Geordieland, 3/1 Patkai, 6/1 Veracity, 25/1 Eastern Anthem, 33/1 Centennial, 40/1 Hindu Kush, 40/1 Sagara, 40/1 Washington Irving.