Yes people, it’s Day three of Royal Ascot 2020 behind closed doors, and once again I am pumped up and raring to go. So, let’s see which horses I’m hoping will make the headlines this afternoon.
Gold Cup day starts with the Golden Gates Handicap over nearly 1m2f. Could this be a big one for former champion jockey and now trainer Richard Hughes? He’s got MAORI KNIGHT who is lightly raced and ran really well last time when second at Haydock when splitting Midnights Legacy and Crystal Pegasus. Could be improving at the right time.
Next up is the Listed Wolferton Stakes, again over nearly 1m2f. I can’t wait to see SIR DRAGONET here, who once upon a time looked an absolute possible star and was fifth in the Derby. I have a feeling this will prove his perfect trip and at this level and he’s Nap material for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.
Race three is the Group 3 Jersey Stakes over 7f. It’s easy to stick with KING LEONIDAS here for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. He’s unbeaten after a couple of wins at Newmarket and the relation of Kingman could be very good indeed.
After the Jersey we look forward to some staying juveniles in the Listed Chesham Stakes over 7f. A lot of guessing here, but I’m excited by BRIGHT DEVIL for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy. My hope made all against the near rail at Newmarket a couple of weeks ago and looked strong in the finish for the 2000 Guineas heroes.
Now the big one, the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, and all eyes on Stradivarius in the near two and a half mile marathon. Obviously Stradivarius is the one to beat, but I think CROSS COUNTER is an amazing eachway bet here. He was far from disgraced in the Gold Cup last year and I felt he should have been closer. It’s obviously not going to be easy to beat the favourite, but I have a feeling the Charlie Appleby runner will run huge.
The penultimate race on the card is the Britannia Stakes over 1m. I’ll have another Dettori runner here in the shape of VERBOTEN. The Gosden challenger is crying out for 1m and did well enough over 7f when last seen. I think he’ll appreciate going back on turf as well.
And finally we close with the Sandringham Stakes, which is a handicap over 1m. It’s hard not to be all over the Gosden challenger AFRICAN DREAM, who is partnered by Kieran O’Neill as the horse only has 8st. His second at Newbury on June 11 was a decent enough effort after a break and again I think he’ll relish the extra distance.
So, best of luck once again and pray for Yeeehaaas!
Matt Chapman’s best bets for Royal Ascot day 3
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