1.5pts each-way Stradivarius @17/2, 13:25 Ascot, Saturday

Royal Ascot winning three-year-old STRADIVARIUS¬†looks an outstanding bet at 9/1 in the opening Long Distance Cup on Ascot’s Champions Day card.

Up against the last two winners of the Group One Ascot Gold Cup – Big Orange and Order Of St George – and despite being second favourite, he’s been dismissed by bookies who must have forgotten his easy Group One win at Glorious Goodwood where Big Orange couldn’t get close.

He meets Big Orange again on far softer ground and 5lbs worse off at the weights, but I can’t see the Gold Cup winner reversing the form with his record on such a surface.

Stradivarius is unproven and unexposed on soft ground, but his family generally goes through it and his participation speaks volumes – while there was cut in the ground when he ran a blinder in the St Leger, form that seems to have been discounted because of the winner’s flop in the Arc.

St Leger winners have a shocking record in the Arc so I’m not worried by that; the races are simply too close to win both.

That Arc form has cemented the main danger, Order Of St George, as a short-priced favourite, as he once again arrives here after placing in the Arc.

He’s been in top form this season and is the class horse in the race, but his flop in last year’s renewal and and overall very patchy record when a short-priced favourite makes him fairly easy to take on.

I can’t see any of the others winning.

1.5pt each-way Stradivarius @17/2, 13:25 Ascot, Saturday (1,2,3, 1/5 odds)

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