Royal Ascot: Day 3 Preview

Day 3 of Royal Ascot is already upon us and the undoubted highlight of the day is the Ascot Gold Cup. Over the years a host of great horses have won this famous race and Kyprios returns to try and win this race for the second time. 

Here is our preview of every race on Thursday’s card.

Norfolk Stakes, Group 2 - 5 Furlongs 

The Norfolk Stakes is one of the most prestigious five furlong races in the sport. This year a field of fourteen have been declared and Aiden O’Brien will hope to kick off another big day in style. 

Leading the betting is Whistlejacket. A winner of a Listed contest last time out, he destroyed the field that day and looks a horse to follow. This will be a much tougher assignment, but if able to produce a similar performance he could be tough to stop.

James Doyle and Karl Burke got off the mark yesterday when Leovanni was able to capture the Queen Mary Stakes and the duo will hope for a repeat today with Shareholder.

He has just had the one start where he was able to win narrowly on debut. Although victorious, there was plenty of greenness on display and his connections will hope that he has learnt plenty from that debut run. 

Aesterius is another who was successful on his debut. A good winner at Bath he has speed to burn and looks a good value option. 

Wesley Ward has enjoyed great success at the Royal meeting in the past and he will be hoping for another success with Saturday Flirt. 

A winner at Keeneland on her debut, any horse that Ward brings over has to be respected, but the key will be whether she can handle the track or not. Look for her to fly out of the gate and lead through the early stages. If she does, she has every chance of victory. 

King George V Stakes, Handicap - 1 Mile and 4 Furlongs 

The first big field race of the day comes in the King George V Stakes where nineteen horses will trot down to post.

In a wide open contest it is the William Haggas trained Gilded Water who will be likely to start as the slim favourite. 

Having had three runs he was able to win his first race at Chepstow last time out and looked well on top at the finish. Whilst that form isn’t anything to write home about, the nature of his victory was visually striking and there will be high hopes that he will be able to repeat that effort here.

Chantilly has some of the best form in the contest following his third place finish in the London Gold Cup at Newbury. Another talented horse from the Aiden O’Brien stable, he hasn’t raced on anything other than soft ground and today’s projected fast ground could catch him out. However, if he can handle the expected quicker conditions he could be a major player. 

When it comes to winning form nobody can really get close to Going The Distance. Having won his last three starts, he has won on both turf and the All-Weather and will be hopeful of producing another big display today. This will be the most competitive race he has ever competed in, but arriving in fantastic form he could be worth siding with at a decent price. 

Billy Loughnane was the toast of the racing world when successful on the first day of the meeting. Just 18, he returns with a serious chance on Fouroneohfever. A winner of his last three starts, he will hope to get George Boughey off the mark for the week and looks like another decent option at a bigger price.

King George V Stakes, Handicap - 1 Mile and 4 Furlongs 

Ribblesdale Stakes, Group 2 - 1 Mile and 3 Furlongs

The Ribblesdale is a Group 2 exclusively for fillies and Charlie Appleby will hope to end what has been a disappointing few days with Diamond Rain.

A winner over course and distance on his debut, she showed that was no fluke when winning a Listed contest when last seen. She looks classy and Appleby will hope that she can take another significant leap forward here.

After the first two days, Oisin Murphy finds himself firmly in the picture when it comes to the race to be the meeting’s top jockey and he will hope for another victory with Kalpana. A runner up on her Listed debut, she was unlucky not to have won that day and she should face no problems with the extended trip that she will face today. 

Port Fairy represents Aiden O’Brien and following his second place in the Cheshire Oaks she is another who is worth considering. With his two winners yesterday, O’Brien looks well on track to land another Royal Ascot trainers title and he could boost his chances significantly with a success here. 

Gold Cup, Group 1 - 2 Mile and 3 Furlongs 

Kyprios is back to try and win this race for the second time and will hope to resume where he left off in 2022.

Upon the great Stradivarius retiring, many believed that Kyprios was the future star of the division, however injury saw him miss most of 2023 and he arrives with questions to answer.

He has warmed up nicely with two warm up victories including a victory in a Group 3 but this represents a much firmer test.

John Gosden has two chances in the race with Gregory and Trawlerman both likely to start near the top of the market. 

At just four years old Gregory is easily one of the least exposed horses in the field and will be hoping to land his first Group 1 race. He was able to finish third in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup but will need to improve if he is to land a blow here.

Trawlerman has won three of his last four starts including a victory in the Long Distance Cup held at the track back in October. 

In that victory he was able to beat Kyprios by half a length but how prepared Kyprios was for that race could be questioned. You feel if he is to win this contest he will need to produce an even better performance if he is to keep Kyprios at bay. 

Vauban is a former Grade 1 winner over hurdles and tasted victory at last year’s Royal meeting. This represents a firmer test, but Willie Mullins has conquered all before him this year and few would bet against Mullins having yet another special day here with this exciting staying prospect.  

Britannia Stakes, Handicap - 1 Mile

When it comes to tricky betting heats, one of the hardest races to predict of the entire meeting comes in the Britannia Stakes. Containing 32 runners, there are a host of horses that can win this race. 

Volterra’s recent victory at Newbury suggested that he could be a future graded horse and he could be the class angle of this contest. 

If you want to back a horse at a bigger price it could be worth siding with Dashing Darcey. One of the most experienced horses in the lineup, he won in great style at Haydock just two weeks ago and if he reproduces that effort here he could go close with Silvestre De Sousa on board. 

Native Warrior gave the 2024 Derby winner Notable Speech a good race on the All-Weather a few months ago and won in great style at Nottingham a few weeks ago. Raring to go, he represents the formidable combination of Karl Burke and James Doyle and looks another decent value angle.

Britannia Stakes, Handicap - 1 Mile

Hampton Court Stakes, Group 3 - 1 Mile and 1 Furlongs 

The penultimate race of the day comes in the Hampton Court Stakes where twelve runners have been declared. 

The favourite for the race is the Harry Charlton trained King’s Gambit. He warmed up nicely for this race with a taking four length victory in the London Gold Cup and if he produces anything similar he will take all of the stopping here. 

French trainer Andre Fabre has enjoyed many special days at Royal Ascot and he will hope for another one here with First Look. He has placed in both Group 1 and Group 3 company previously and he certainly won't be out of the place in this lineup. He looks to be one of the better value angles. 

Aiden O’Brien has won two of the last six renewals of this race and saddles Portland for this contest. Having won a Listed race in the past he has placed at this level and looks like another contender at a price. 

Buckingham Palace Stakes, Handicap - 7 Furlongs 

Thursday's card finishes with a competitive 29 runner handicap and there are many horses in with a shot of victory. 

James Doyle could be in line for a special day and he will hope to sign off the card in style with a victory on English Oak. He hasn’t finished outside the top three in any of his last three starts and warmed up nicely for this race with a nice success at Haydock. Whilst this is far harder, he is a smooth traveller and looks to hold every chance.

Another horse worthy of consideration is Divine Libra. Since stepping up to this trip he has posted a win and was unlucky not to have won on his last start. Ryan Moore takes the ride and he is another worth potentially taking a chance with.

Mostabshir has run well at this meeting in the past and could land a race of this nature. Poor when last seen in the Victoria Cup, his backers will hope that his recent layoff will see him return to a positive light.