Ascot Gold Cup Tips: Stradivarius to reclaim his crown

Stadivarius will be looking to reclaim the Ascot Gold Cup
Stadivarius will be looking to reclaim the Ascot Gold Cup

A field of ten look set to do battle for the Ascot Gold Cup, the highlight of the week for many on Thursday 16th July 2022. Day Three's feature race should be a wonderful contest and hopefully Trueshan stays in the field despite ground concerns. He will be facing off with market rivals Stradivarius and Kyprios to claim the title of the top stayer around. Billy Grimshaw has cast his eye over the field and made his selection for us...

It is unquestionable that only a Royal winner in this Platinum Jubilee year could raise the roof at Royal Ascot more than STRADIVARIUS reclaiming his Gold Cup and winning the title for the fourth time. The eight year old already has his seat in the pantheon of great stayers secured, but victory here could further enhance his legend. The ground has come up in his favour and although it is clear he is not totally ground dependent like connections feared early in his career, the quick going will be a massive help to a horse with such a trademark finishing kick over staying trips. Trueshan, a horse that has lowered Stradivarius's colours on a couple of occasions and is widely regarded as the top dog right now in the staying ranks, is surprisingly still in the field at this stage. His connections will have been performing a rain dance for weeks prior and will be pulling out all the stops in praying for some help from the weather gods overnight before making a decision on his participation.

If the ground stays as expected, good to firm, then surely it is odds on that Trueshan is withdrawn and that would be a shame. However, if he does run he of course warrants massive respect. Despite his penchant for slow ground he could still grind out this race on a quick surface if allowed but his odds now represent his chance, compared to the fact he was short priced favourite for this race in most ante-post lists.  The favourite at present is Kyprios for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore. He seems to be very much the coming force in the staying division and last time out he won like a 1/10 shot should when demolishing the field in a warm up at Leopardstown in the Group Three Saval Beg Levmoss Stakes by fourteen lengths. Before that rout he exemplified his Gold Cup potential with an impressive victory over Search for a Song over one mile six furlongs at Navan, eventually scoring by two and a quarter lengths. He may be too young and have too much improvement for his older rivals in this contest but at the prices he has to be passed over at 2/1 or shorter.

Princess Zoe has been described by Tony Mullins as a 'horse of a lifetime' and the likeable filly won the Longines Sagaro Stakes in a battling display last time out over this course and distance. Winning one of the key Gold Cup trials after finishing a good second in the race a year previously marks her out as a more than worthy contender, and there would not be many more popular winners than if the mare were to become the first female Gold Cup champion since Estimate for the Queen back in 2013. Burning Victory is a high class hurdler for Willie Mullins, indeed she won the Triumph Hurdle when Goshen took his famous last flight fall back at Cheltenham in 2020. She has not had much flat experience for Willie Mullins but with William Buick booked for the ride she is clearly not being sent here just for the day out and could have place claims if she takes to this sort of test. She is definitely worthy of consideration for those that like one each-way at a price.

Mojo Star will represent Richard Hannon and is making his seasonal debut in this marathon contest. Arguably the performance of his career came in last year's St Leger when attempting extended trips for the first time, when only two and three quarters lengths behind impressive winner Hurricane Lane. He marked himself out as a future Gold Cup horse in that race and deserves his place in this field but would need to have improved significantly over the winter and be at the top of his game fresh to be in the shake-up here. Tashkhan was not actually beaten too far behind Princess Zoe last time he ran at Ascot in the aforementioned Sagaro, but was dismissed fairly readily by Stradivarius last time out at York and it is hard to see why he can reverse form here with either of his conquerors. Bubble Smart brings some French flair for Mikel Delzangles but last time he faced Stradivarius and Trueshan he was no match for either on home turf so it is tough to see him coming to their backyard and turning them over.  

Earlofthecotswolds looked an interesting contender at the start of the week as he was set to arrive here on the back of a hat-trick of wins. He looks even more interesting now after one of the horses he defeated easily at Kempton over two miles, Coltrane, won so gamely on Day One. The dual purpose runner has given connections some wonderful days out and at the ripe old age of eight may not yet be finished, so is another worthy of each-way consideration. Alignak completes the line up and comes here off the back of a busy and disappointing Meydan campaign. He looks to have it all to do. 

Stradivarius is getting on and maybe is not the force of old, however on ground that blunts Trueshan and aids his strengths I am siding with him to claim a famous fourth Ascot Gold Cup and to beat young pretender Kyprios for another year. yet. 

2022 Ascot Gold Cup
Stradivarius silk


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