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Day 3 Royal Ascot 2024 Preview: Gregory Ticks All The Boxes

After a couple of winners on the second day at Royal Ascot, we now move on to Day 3. The feature race is the Ascot Gold Cup and I’m hoping a recent trend comes out on top.
Royal Ascot

2.30 Norfolk Stakes – Binadham EW / Milford EW 

The favourite Whistlejacket could be anything, but he’s too short at 5/4 in a race of this nature. In the last two renewals, we’ve had a 50/1 and 150/1 winner, so it’s worth looking at some outsiders.

One horse I thought was interesting at a big price was Binadham for Kevin Philippart De Foy. He won at a race at Yarmouth, where they didn’t go that fast, and he did really well to quicken and won with his head in chest, suggesting he had a lot of class. The son of Kodiac is bred to be a good two-year-old, and I think he could relish this better grade. He’s drawn in Stall 3, which isn’t a bad place to be considering the last two winners were drawn low. I think he can go well.

The other one I like is Milford for Karl Burke. He’s already off the mark with his two-year-olds winning the Queen Mary on Wednesday. This horse is also a son of Kodiac, but I was taken with the way he won at Hamilton last month. That win did come on soft ground, but I think he could be more effective on a sound surface.

3.05 King George V Stakes – Poniros EW / Assailant EW

This race has a habit of producing group winners, so it’s probably going to work out well moving forward. I think Poniros has an obvious chance, he ran a blinder to finish second in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. That form has worked out well, and I think the son of Golden Horn could still be well handicapped off 92. Furthermore his draw in Stall 14 isn’t terrible and low hasn’t been the place to be, so that’s on his side too.

Assailant is the other horse who completes my shortlist. Admittedly, he looks like a quirky customer, but I do think he has talent. He’s been a bit in and out, but his third at Newmarket in a handicap has worked out quite well, and I do think he could be better than his mark. Furthermore, he’s got a pedigree that’s bred to improve with age, and he returns from a gelding operation, which might help him. I think he’s a horse who could surprise a few.

3.45 Ribblesdale Stakes – Diamond Rain (Win) / Queen’s Fort EW

I thought Diamond Rain was very impressive when she forged clear to win a Listed race at Newbury last time out. She’s unbeaten in her two starts to date, but she looked ready for this step up in grade. I don’t see the ground being an issue, and she looks to be a very exciting prospect for Charlie Appleby. It’s boring going for the favourite, but I do think she is the one they’ve got to beat.

If you do want one at a big-price, who maybe could outrun their odds then I think it could be Queen’s Fort. She was last seen winning a race at Lingfield on the all-weather. There might not have been anything spectacular about it, but the further she went the better she looked. She’s also got a fantastic pedigree, with her grand dam being dual Classic winner Sariska. The Gosdens have an excellent record in this race, winning on four occasions since 2017. The daughter of Galileo has to improve, but I wouldn’t put it past her.

4.25 Ascot Gold Cup – Gregory EW / Caius Chorister EW

Four-year-olds have often been the way to go in this race in recent years, and that’s why I’m going to go for Gregory, who I think wants this test of stamina. The last time we saw him, he ran in the Yorkshire Cup at York, rallying inside the final furlong to finish third. Some people might poke holes at him, but I think he just doesn’t like York, and he’s now returning to the venue of his Queen’s Vase win, which is the same route the great Stradivarius took. He’ll like the ground, and he’s got a good draw in Stall 2. I think he can land the spoils in 2024.

However, there is just one other that I’ll be having a saver on, and that’s Caius Chorister for David Menuisier. She’s been a great filly for connections, and she ran well to finish second in the Henry II Stakes at Sandown. Her owner, Clive Washbourn, has been quite bullish about her chances, and you can see why after she won a Group 3 last year and went close in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last month. She’ll be in receipt of the mares allowance and will like the ground. Don’t be surprised to see her go close.

5.05  Britannia Stakes – Qirat EW / Watcha Matey EW 

This is always one of the trickiest handicaps of the week, but I do like a couple. The first one of them is Qirat for Ralph Beckett. I think he got off lightly with a 4lb rise after his win at Goodwood because he showed a blistering turn of foot and hit the line hard. He’s from a sexy family that contains Bluestocking and his trainer won this race in 2019 with a similar type. He’s surely on the premises.

The other one I like is Watcha Matey for Hugo Palmer. He’s on a huge upward curve, winning his last two starts at Musselburgh and Newmarket, where the form has been franked on multiple occasions. There has been a glint in the eye of Hugo Palmer in the media when speaking about this horse, and they think there could be a lot more to come. 

5.40 Hampton Court Stakes – Sons And Lovers EW 

Sons And Lovers is my strongest selection on Thursday. I just think he’s a horse we’ve not seen the best of yet. The last time we saw him, he plugged in to finish third in a Listed race at Sandown, but I think he hated the ground. If you go back through his form, he won his debut at Newmarket on a quick surface, and returning to it should bring out some more improvement. He always seems to do his best work late on suggesting he should also like these extra furlongs. For me, he’s been completely overlooked, and I think we’ll see a career-best performance.

6.15 Buckingham Palace Stakes – Northern Express EW / The X O EW 

Another tricky handicap to close the card, but I’m going to go for my old friend, Northern Express. He loves Ascot and ran well in this race last year to finish third. He’s not won at Ascot, but he’s made the frame on every visit he’s had to the Berkshire track. The last time we saw him, he was just denied by Point Lynas at York to finish second. That race was over 1m and he’ll have no problem coming back to 7f. With the ground in his favour, he has to go well.

The X-O is also another horse of interest to me. He was highly tried as a three-year-old, and he ran well on his latest start at Epsom to finish third. The four-year-old gelding has not run over 7f many times in his career, but he has shaped like he’ll handle it. He’s a bit of an outsider, but if he can build on his latest run, I can see him being in the frame.

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After a couple of winners on the second day at Royal Ascot, we now move on to Day 3. The feature race is the Ascot Gold Cup and I’m hoping a recent trend comes out on top.
Read also...