What a Tune Played By Stradivarius on Day 3 at Ascot

Frankie Dettori takes three Gold Cups in a row.

After the euphoria yesterday of Her Majesty winning the Windsor Castle Stakes, there would be no such result today as She had no runners. The third day of The Royal Meeting was always likely to be about the Gosden trained Stradivarius, aiming to win his third Gold Cup in consecutive years. Ascot has had quite a lot of rain overnight and during the morning and the going changed from yesterday from good to good to soft – soft in places. By the time racing started, there had been over 18 millimetres of rain and the going was now on the soft side of soft.

Again, like the first two days, there were seven races on the card. Apart from the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, there was one other Group race, The Jersey Stakes (Group 3) and three handicaps and a couple of listed contests. The first race, The Golden Gates Handicap for 3 year olds over 1 mile 2 furlongs was another extra race put into the mix this year and with14 runners. The race was won by Highland Chief, trained by the new father and son team Paul and Oliver Cole and ridden by Rossa Ryan. In second was Tritonic with the favourite Global Storm in third.

Second up today was The Wolverton Stakes, a listed contest again over 1 mile and 2 furlongs for 4 year olds and up and there were 13 runners. A difficult one for pundits, but the three most tipped for victory were Fox Tal trained by the inform Andrew Balding, Regal Reality, (Sir Michael Stoute) and Sir Dragonet for Aiden O’Brien. Forest Ranger was in the lead until the 3 furlongs out when Mountain Angel went clear with Sir Dragonet and Regal Reality in close order, but neither could catch the Roger Varian runner Mountain Angel.

Jim Crowley now takes his total wins to six so far this week.

The Group 3 Jersey Stakes for 3 year olds over 7 furlongs was up next with 13 runners. Again, pundits were very divided before the off, but Gosden’s King Leonardis and O’Brien’s Monarch of Egypt looked the likely possible winners? In the event, Lord of the Lodge took the runners at a fast pace, especially considering the ground. Two furlongs out, all horses spread level across the course, Molatham went ahead with Monarch of Egypt and Symbolize; neither of whom could overwhelm Molatham who won just half a length. The winner is trained by Roger Varian and ridden by Jim Crowley taking his total wins of the week to five.

Another listed race, The Chesham Stakes followed, this time over 7 furlongs for 2 year olds only. This race can only be entered providing the sire or dam of the runner has won over 1mile 2 furlongs in his/her career, so the entries are likely to be longer distance horses later in their own careers. There were eight runners. Battleground, trained by O’Brien was one of the best thought of by Warfront out of Prix de l’Arc winner Found. Another well thought of was recent Newmarket winner, Modern News by Shamardal out of a New Approach mare trained by Charlie Appleby. Battleground took the lead in the final furlong and never looked by being beaten winning by two lengths. March Law was second with Seattle Rock in third. Battleground looks a real prospect for the future as a big horse with a great pedigree. Don’t be surprised to see that one in the Derby next year.

Imperious and extraordinary – Frankie Dettori and Stradivarius wins their third Gold Cup

Many people regard The Ascot Gold Cup over 2 ½ miles as the highlight of the whole meeting, and with Stradivarius going for his third in a row, they may well be right this year. There were another seven runners vying to topple the great stayer. However, with the withdrawal of Kew Gardens last week, there did not really seem to be another runner capable of beating the Dettori ridden runner. Before the off, in the pre-parade paddock, Stradivarius became rather colty, but when in the parade ring proper he settle down and really – the rest was history. He raced mid field for most of the race, and as he came into the straight 2 ½ from the finish, Frankie said ‘lets go’ and he left the others for dust. Stradivarius is only the third horse to win three Gold Cups, joining Sagaro and Yeats. This victory of the John Gosden trained horse was simply imperious, a pulsating and extraordinary performance. In second was Nayef Road and third was Cross Counter.

With the main course finished, there followed two handicaps to finish the day. The first was The Britannia Stakes, historically another cavalry charge over a mile for 3 year old colts and geldings only. As the sun came out at last, this year, 22 runners joined the charge. The headline for this race was that Jim Crowley took his week’s wins to six so far. Another trained by Roger Varian, Khaloosey won with ease with Finest Sound second and Cherokee Trail in third.

The final race, The Sandringham Handicap was gain over a mile for 3 year olds only, but only for fillies. 15 runners came forward. African Dream was sent off favourite. After an even break, Dubai Love took the lead and almost managed a pillar to post win but was thwarted by Onassis who came on the inside with Hayley Turner trained by Charlie Fellowes. This was a back to back win of the Sandringham Stakes for Hayley Turner. In second was Waliyak and third was long-time leader Dubai Love.

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