Royal Ascot day three selections

Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) 10f

Highland Reel never liked soft ground, nor did his little brother Idaho, and chances are the youngest sibling Cape Of Good Hope wants good ground too, so he’s fairly easy to dismiss – he hasn’t done too much to suggest he’s as good as them anyway. That means we have a nice betting market for the Hampton Court Stakes and there are several with similar significant chances. High draws have been killers on the round course at Royal Ascot the last few years, so regrettably Roseman is passed despite his good second to St James’ Palace Stakes-second King Of Comedy at Sandown. Back in third that day and conceding 3lb on his seasonal reappearance was SANGARIUS, who with Frankie Dettori on board looks likely to improve for the run and be given every chance. Soft ground isn’t a concern to connections so if he stays he has a big chance for an 8/1 shot. Rather than go each-way on an unconfirmed stayer, I would rather take two in the race and give CAP FRANCAIS another chance. I was disappointed at first when he was beaten by Anthony Van Dyck last time out, until that horse won the Derby, and perhaps he simply didn’t see out the trip over two furlongs further than this. Previously he ran Cape Of Good Hope mighty close in a Derby trial and is several times the price, so with a good draw in stall two he looks good at 14/1.

1pt win Sangarius @8/1, 15:05 Ascot
1pt win Cap Francais @14/1, 15:05 Ascot

Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) 12f

John Gosden won the Oaks at Epsom and appears to have the strongest hand in the middle-distance fillies divisions. That STAR CATCHER is the choice of Frankie Dettori from his four Ribblesdale runners is telling, and we know she won’t mind the rain that’s fallen. She looks like she stays well, and with a decent draw I think she’s value at 11/1. If it were fast ground I would be very keen on Fanny Logan for the same trainer – but it isn’t!

1pt win Star Catcher @11/1, 15:40 Ascot

Ascot Gold Cup (Group One) 20f

“I’ve trained him for this race all year” means an awful lot when it comes to Aidan O’Brien and big Group One races, and they don’t come much bigger than Ascot’s Gold Cup. Those words were for 2017 St Leger winner CAPRI, who was just 3 lengths behind Enable in last year’s Arc and has beaten most of the best middle-distance horses of recent years, including Gold Cup favourite and champion Stradivarius, as well as Cracksman and Crystal Ocean. At 18/1 I really don’t see any reason not to back this classy son of Galileo as you can trust O’Brien to have him cherry ripe for his big seasonal target. Recent form hasn’t been very inspiring, but O’Brien did stress prior to his last race that he would progress plenty from it. He’s not to be underestimated.

1pt win Capri @18/1, 16:20 Ascot

King George V Stakes (Handicap) 12f

In the closing race I’m giving a second chance to ALMANIA at 14/1, after he missed the break in the Dante, his reappearance, and never figured. A mark of 95 could be extremely lenient if his connections’ Derby hopes weren’t misplaced, and if he’s come forward from his last run we should see him to far better effect. The high draw can’t be good news but plenty of horses have won this race from high draws in recent years. He’s by Australia, whose progeny seem to improve for stepping up in trip, and they don’t seem to mind soft ground either.

1pt win Almania @14/1, 17:35 Ascot

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