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2019 Royal Ascot day three tips – Tips for every race on Gold Cup Thursday

Cross Counter sealing victory in the Melbourne Cup back in November.

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for every race on day three at Royal Ascot and provides readers with his tips on Thursday 20th June.

Her majesty The Queen and her Royal entourage will descend upon Berkshire on day three of Royal Ascot, all ready to partake in the glitz and glamour that is Ascot Gold Cup day. Surrounding that famous Group One on Thursday’s card are three further Grouped races, including the electrifying Norfolk Stakes sprint and a fascinating renewal of the Ribblesdale.

Our expert has taken a look at every race on Thursday at Royal Ascot and provided readers with his ante-post betting suggestions.

2019 Royal Ascot Day Three Tips

2:30pm Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) (2yo) 5f



Two unbeaten British youngsters sit prominently in the betting for Thursday’s opener, with both Bomb Proof and Temple Of Heaven boasting obvious chances should they turn up in this Group Two. Yet, I find myself draw to two foreign raiders sitting a little further down the market.

Real Appeal is two-from-two at home in France and there’s plenty to suggest Matthieu Palussiere’s colt can build on his Listed victory. Wesley Ward, however, has won two of the past six editions of the Norfolk Stakes and, while American Pharaoh filly Maven would be a danger should she be pitched in with the colts, I think KARAK (14/1 888Sport) could hand Ward a third victory in this Group Two.

Karak squared off against one of his stablemates on debut – a son of former Norfolk winner, No Nay Never who had been backed into a very short price. Despite being the least-fancied of the two, it was Karak who got the job done, overcoming plenty of greenness to eventually win comfortably.

Irad Ortiz Jnr had to work hard to keep his mount on the straight and narrow that day, but he pulled so far clear in the final furlong that Ortiz could afford to ease his mount down in the closing stages. Karak’s sire was a multiple Grouped winner in France, showing an obvious liking for softer ground, which should stand his son in good stead at Ascot this week. Trips further than five furlongs will be Karak’s game over time, but for now he has more than enough speed to give an excellent account of himself at Ascot.

Main Bet – KARAK e/w (14/1 888Sport)
Next Best – REAL APPEAL (16/1 Unibet)

3:05pm Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3) 1m2f



Of the three Kingman colts sitting prominently in the betting, Roseman is the one who stands out for me. Roger Varian’s charge was beaten on debut, but won as easily as you’d like on his second start and ran a lovely race behind King Of Comedy at Sandown. He could relish a step up in trip.

Further down the betting there are a few overlooked contenders I want to highlight. I have no idea why Richard Hannon dropped Walkinthesand back to a mile, having run so well in-behind Kick On and UAE Jewel over this trip and I think there’s more to come from this colt. Buckhurst finished five lengths behind Broome on just his second career-start and built on that run at the Curragh, losing out to Constantinople by just half-a-length.

While Joseph may fancy his charge’s chances in a wide-open race, his father’s record with three-year-old colts this term and Aidan’s leading contender, CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (6/1 Coral) brings the best seasonal form into this year’s Hampton Court Stakes.

Cape Of Good Hope proved himself to be a very capable two-year-old last term, running well behind Quorto and Mohawk in Group Twos at Newmarket. You always got the feeling that a step up in trip was needed for this son of Galileo to progress and a first start over ten furlongs saw a career-best effort on his reappearance, as Cape Of Good Hope beat Cap Francais to the Blue Ribband Trial at Epsom.

Aidan O’Brien decided that the French Derby would suit his colt much better than Epsom and Cape Of Good Hope ran well beyond his odds that day, plugging on down the straight at Longchamp to claim fourth as Sottsass upset Persian King in the French capitol. This colt is a full brother to Idaho and the top-class Highland Reel, so there’s clearly more to come from Cape Of Good Hope. I find him very difficult to ignore.

Main Bet - CAPE OF GOOD HOPE (6/1 Coral)
Next Best -
BUCKHURST e/w (14/1 Coral)

Cape Of Good Hope (right) flying home to finish fourth behind Sottsass in the Prix du Jockey Club.

3:40pm Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies) 1m4f


Queen Power earned her Royal Ascot berth with an impressive victory in a competitive Listed race at Newbury last time out and Andrew Balding’s filly will be a big player. Yet, the previous two winners of the Ribblesdale have come to Ascot on the back of an outing in the Oaks, so that Classic at Epsom looks a very good place to start.

Fleeting flew home from the rear of the pack to claim third in the Oaks. After a shocking run in the 1000 Guineas, few gave her a chance at Epsom but last year's May Hill Stakes winner proved her doubters wrong. Aidan O'Brien;s decision to supplement Fleeting into the Ribblesdale, instead of running in the Irish Oaks, must put her in the Royal Ascot picture. I, however, would much rather back FRANKELLINA (8/1 Unibet) each-way, who should come on again after an encouraging performance at Epsom.

Despite a fairly uninspiring victory in a weak maiden on her only two-year-old start, William Haggas' filly was backed towards the head of the betting as she made her reappearance in the Musidora Stakes. James Doyle's mount stumbled out of the stalls, giving her rivals a three-length head-start, before battling back bravely to finish a neck-second to Nausha.

Doyel then held his mount up near the rear in the Oaks, opting to track Pink Dogwood as she trod a wide berth around the pack. Frankkellina was a little outpaced as she attempted to follow the eventual runner-up's move around the top of the hill, but Haggas' filly stuck to her guns well, seeing out the trip nicely to finish five-lengths behind Anapurna in sixth.

That was an extremely encouraging performance, especially when you consider it was this just her third appearance on a racetrack. Outside the top three in the market, this looks a disappointingly poor renewal of the Ribblesdale and I think Frankellina has the most room for improvement. 8/1 is a fantastic each-way price.

Main Bet - FRANKELLINA e/w (8/1 Unibet)
Next Best - FLEETING (5/2 Coral)

20/6/19 4:20pm Ascot Gold Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) 2m4f



Stradivarius enjoyed an unbeaten campaign during 2018, earning John Gosden the Wetherby’s £1m Bonus after winning at Ascot, Goodwood and twice at York. While Stradivarius’ achievements last term were admirable and he looked good when winning the Yorkshire Cup on his return to action, the staying division was particularly weak last term and I think last year’s Gold Cup winner will be vulnerable in a more competitive race.

I've long thought that Dee Ex Bee would make a strong stayer and Mark Johnston’s colt has taken to two miles very well this season. St Leger winner, Kew Gardens also looks open to improvement over staying trips and any of Aidan O’Brien’s runners have to be respected. Yet, the proven Group One horse to take Stradivarius on with is CROSS COUNTER (5/1 William Hill), who progressed beyond belief last term and could have a little more left to give.

Charlie Appleby’s charge has improved 20 pounds over the last ten months, stealing the headlines at Glorious Goodwood when breaking the track record during a blistering renewal of the Gordon Stakes. The Godolphin flag-bearer than made his name down-under, swooping home down the centre of the track under Kerin McEvoy to claim a famous victory in the Melbourne Cup.

Cross Counter built on his Melbourne Cup triumph with a simple success in the Dubai Gold Cup, comfortably holding Ispolini and Call The Wind at arm’s length with a cool, composed display. Cross Counter stays two miles extremely well, he goes on all kinds of ground and boasts winning form around the track at Ascot. He could have too much pace for even Stradivarius to cope with.

Main Bet – CROSS COUNTER (5/1 William Hill)
Next Best – KEW GARDENS (6/1 Unibet)

5:00pm Ascot Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) 1m (Str)



18 of the last 20 winners of the Britannia have cried 9-01 or less to post, so while names like Set Piece and Motafaawit appeal near the top of the weights, it’s worth looking down the entries for a better handicapped option. Jamie Spencer will be looking for his fifth victory in this handicap when he returns to his beloved Ascot, so whoever he’s eventually jockey up on must be in with a chance.

At this stage, five days out from the race, there are plenty of horses who catch the eye, but the one I like most is MIGRATION (16/1 888Sport) for David Menuisier. A fairly unimpressive juvenile, Migration has taken his game to a new level in handicap company this term, securing two solid seconds behind Hampton Court contender, Fox Chairman and possible Britannia rival, Masaru.

Jason Watson then guided Migration into Class Four Handicap at Newmarket, where the top-weight went off as the 6/4. A poor start from stall one would have scuppered most horse’s chances in a handicap on the Rowley Mile, but Migration dealt with the set-back well, eventually easing to a convincing victory.

Watson has already been confirmed in the saddle and Menuisier’s horses are flying heading into Ascot. He looks excellent value at 16s.

Main Bet - MIGRATION e/w (16/1 888Sport)
Next Best - Undecided...

5:35pm Ascot King George V Stakes (Handicap) 1m4f



Like the Britannia, horses in the bottom half of the weights have tended to prosper in the King Edward. Only two horses have managed to carry more than nine stone into the winners’ enclosure since 2002. Constantinople will be the well-backed favourite for Aidan O’Brien, and for very good reason, but there’s really no value to be gained backing a highly-rated contender sitting on such a short price.

Mark Johnston has claimed this prize six time previously and often saves one of his most progressive three-year-olds for this handicap. His stand-out entrant this term is SIR RON PRIESTLEY (12/1 bet365) and I think he could be a big player in Thursday’s curtain closer.

Johnston’s charge impressed as a two-year-old, despite failing to win on either of his starts. Sir Ron Priestley came up just a neck short of odds-on favourite, Fox Tal on debut, before finish fourth behind Line Of Duty and Pablo Escobar in a hugely competitive Class Two Maiden at Goodwood on his final juvenile outing. 

It’s been plain-sailing for Sir Ron Priestly this season, sauntering to a maiden victory at Ripon before cruising home to win on his handicap debut off a mark of 86. Babbo’s Boy boosted that Ripon victory with a win of his own next time out and I’m hoping Lariat, who finished second to Johnston’s colt at Haydock, will boost that race by winning at Chester this weekend. 

Sir Ron Priestley has been thrown up the ratings by eight pounds following that handicap triumph, but that doesn’t seem excessive considering the ease of his triumph and there’s more to come from this imposing son of Australia.

Main Bet - SIR RON PRIESTLEY e/w (12/1 bet365)
Next best - Undecided...


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2019 Royal Ascot day three tips – Tips for every race on Gold Cup Thursday

Our expert takes a look through the ante-post betting for every race on day three at Royal Ascot and provides readers with his tips on Thursday 20th June.

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