Horse Racing Tips: Paddy Power’s epic Royal Ascot Cheat Sheet for Day 3

It's Gold Cup day at the Royal meeting and everyone's feeling jiggy.

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Strap yourselves in – it’s Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot 2023. After two belting days we’ve arrived at day three.

The stamina-sapping 2m4f test of the Gold Cup at 4:20pm glistens amid a smashing seven races on Thursday’s card.

Andrew Balding’s Coltrane could toot his horn in the winner’s enclosure as he heads the market just ahead of Eldar Eldarov for Roger Varian, while Aidan O’Brien’s Emily Dickinson is capable of rewriting the script should the top two falter in the June sunshine.

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The Group 2 Norfolk Stakes gets things under way at 2:30pm where Elite Status is strongly favoured, and the Ribblesdale Stakes at 3:40pm sees Frankie Dettori pilot Bluestocking as second-favourite to odds-on Al Asifah under Jim Crowley.

With all that and four more races you might need a steer through the runners and riders – so look no further than Ruby Walsh, Mick Fitzgerald, Matt Chapman, Jason Weaver and Timeform in our pundit-packed cheat sheet. 

Scroll down for their picks in our handy interactive cheat sheet and you could be golden too on Gold Cup day.

Ruby Walsh

Mick Fitzgerald

Jason Weaver

Matt Chapman

Timeform

Ruby Walsh

I’m with Noche Magica. This race is all pace and all speed and he’s got that. Paddy Twomey is having a brilliant season. 

Mick Fitzgerald

Elite Status looked the real deal when winning the National Stakes at Sandown. Trainer Karl Burke thinks there is more to come and he can overcome US raider American Rascal.

Jason Weaver

American Rascal was not extended to win on debut in the States and has a perfect pedigree. Time to see the rocket go.

Matt Chapman

I’m all over ELITE STATUS who looks something super special for Karl Burke and Clifford Lee. He can use American Rascal as a pacemaker. 

Timeform

ELITE STATUS looked potentially out of the top drawer when bolting up in the National Stakes at Sandown and, with further progress surely in the pipeline, Karl Burke’s colt is fancied to remain unbeaten.

Ruby Walsh

Bertinelli did really well to win at Newbury last time in the London Gold Cup and he’s going to improve. He could be another one of Aidan’s runners that becomes a Group horse.

Mick Fitzgerald

Aidan O’Brien is having another good week and Bertinelli arrives on the back of a good win in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. That’s always strong form and he can make the step up in trip and grade now.

Jason Weaver

I expect another step forward from Wonder Legend today as he steps up to 1m 4f. He could be nicely treated on a mark of just 94.

Matt Chapman

PERFUSE might need cut in the ground but he has a nice draw and will be strong at the trip so I will chance him. A mark of 94 seems fair.

Timeform

WONDER LEGEND gets the nod to gain some compensation for the narrow defeat of the same connections’ Deauville Legend in this race last year but there are any number of possible dangers.

Ruby Walsh

I’m going to stick with Al Asifah. She’s short enough in ther market but you can’t get value in every race! She can complete the hat-trick. 

Mick Fitzgerald

Two wins from two starts and Al Asifah was very impressive at Goodwood last time. She sets a good standard.

Jason Weaver

Bluestocking looked in need of the experience last time on just her second start when chinned by  Ballydoyle’s Warm Heart (who re-opposes). She will relish the step up in distance to 1m 4f now.

Matt Chapman

Al Asifah will be all the rage here and she might be different class but I’m happy to punt INFINITE COSMOS (each-way) who was third to Soul Sister at York before that one won the Epsom Oaks. 

Timeform

An impressive winner on debut at Haydock, AL ASIFAH looked special when producing a commanding display to follow up at Goodwood 11 days ago. A most exciting prospect.

Ruby Walsh

I’m with last year’s St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov. He finished second on his seasonal reappearance at York and  the form has held up. He can show improvement as he’s only a four-year-old.

Mick Fitzgerald

Last year’s St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov also won the Queen’s Vase at this meeting before that Classic success. This prestigious Gold Cup over 2m 4f looks a good fit now. Former winner Subjectivist might be worth a saver each-way.

Jason Weaver

Last season’s St Leger winner Eldar Eldarov ran on well to the line at York on seasonal debut but needed the run. He should be much fitter now and can use his potent change of gear to win the Ascot Gold Cup.

Matt Chapman

The Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup looks wide open and I’ll chance YIBIR. He’s got the class, handles the ground and if he stays the 2m 4f trip will be a danger to all. 

Timeform

ELDAR ELDAROV relished the emphasis on stamina when winning the St Leger last season and again did his best work at the finish when a close second in the Yorkshire Cup last time.

Ruby Walsh

I’m taking Carracci (each-way). He ran well in the 2000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown but things didn’t go his way at the Curragh last time out. He’s unexposed and Ryan Moore is red hot at the moment. 

Mick Fitzgerald

The French challenger Bless was just beaten a nose by Marhaba Ya Sanafi at Chantilly off level weights who went on to win a Group 1. Has a solid (each-way) chance.

Jason Weaver

We’ll take one from either side of the track to combat any draw bias. Royal Cape (each-way) runs from stall two while Mustajaab (each-way) races from the other side of the track in box 23.

Matt Chapman

RACINGBREAKS RYDER (each-way) is up another 7lb for scoring at Ascot on his most recent outing but he still might be able to keep the great run going. He stays this trip strongly and looks solid. 

Timeform

DOCKLANDS boasts a likeable profile and made a taking impression when successful over C&D last time, so he gets the vote in a typically open renewal.

Ruby Walsh

Frankie Dettori is on the wrong one for me as I fancy Torito to beat Epictetus. He comes here on the back of his winning handicap debut at Epsom.  

Mick Fitzgerald

Caernarfon has a great chance after finishing third in the Epsom Oaks. Keep an eye in the market for a move on Drumroll as he falls into the ‘could be anything bracket’ for Ballydoyle.

Jason Weaver

Torito was a a smooth winner at Epsom and looks to have loads of potential. His young rider Benoit De La Sayette has shown he has the temperament for the big occasion.

Matt Chapman

WAIPIRO did not come up to scratch in the Derby, albeit a fair sixth, but he’s big odds here and is worth another try. He’ll settle off a strong pace and should appreciate the drop in trip. 

Timeform

EXOPLANET improved again when third in the competitive London Gold Cup at Newbury last month, shaping well having had the worst of the draw, so he can continue his progress to take the step up in grade.

Ruby Walsh

I’m going for Accidental Agent as he’s back down to a mark of 101 and he has form at Ascot. I’m going to have a go at him each-way at a huge price. 

Mick Fitzgerald

Ropey Guest (each-way) loves Ascot and handles conditions in what is a very tough 7f puzzle to solve. I’ll take his consistency to pay off at a nice price.

Jason Weaver

Spirit of Light put up a smart performance over a trip short of his best at York last time. Expect him to be flashing home from stall 30, under the excellent James Doyle.

Matt Chapman

Billy Loughnane takes off a useful 3lb off Totally Charming and  loves Ascot. Was a fine eighth here in a big field last time. 

Timeform

Any number to consider, with BARADAR topping the shortlist having shaped with a lot of promise in a brace of good-quality handicaps this term, latterly in the Victoria Cup when forced to switch and make his challenge.

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