Royal Ascot Thursday tips – Through the card day three selections

Royal Ascot 2020Royal Ascot 2020

We look over another cracking racecard and give our Royal Ascot Thursday tips as the top-class fixture enters its’ third day.

There’s no let-up in the Royal Ascot action as Thursday descends and we enter the third day of the top-class Festival where the Ascot Gold Cup takes centre-stage. The Group One contest is the feature of another seven-race card which will be shown in full on ITV Racing and Ed Chamberlain and the team will have all their usual expert tips, insights and post-race analysis on all the action.

Also featuring some competitive handicap action including both the Britannia Stakes and Sandringham Stakes, Thursday’s racecard is another not-to-be-missed afternoon and Brian Healy gives his Royal Ascot Thursday tips for every race on the seven-race card.


1:15 Royal Ascot – Golden Gates Handicap Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 1m2f

This looks a strong contest on paper and HYPOTHETICAL could be worth siding with to build on a very encouraging return to action in the recent Classic Trial at Kempton where Mark Johnston’s charge finished around five lengths’ fourth behind Berlin Tango.

A debut winner last term on his sole start, the Lope De Vega colt travelled well for a long way in that reappearance where he helped to force the pace before fading and there’s a strong likelihood that he needed that first run back.

The form of that effort looks much better now with the runner-up winning the King Edward VII Stakes here on Tuesday, while the sixth horse home has gone on to place in Listed company. The selection should strip much fitter now with a run under his belt and likely to improve he can prove ahead of his initial 97 rating on his handicap debut.

The booking of Frankie Dettori suggests connections are expecting a big run and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him heavily involved.

Frankie Dettori could enjoy a successful Royal Ascot Thursday

Frankie Dettori could enjoy a successful Royal Ascot Thursday

1:50 Royal Ascot – Wolferton Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (4yo+) 1m2f

KING OTTAKAR probably needed the run when making his seasonal reappearance in the recent Brigadier Gerard Stakes but could do better now with that outing under his belt.

Charlie Fellowes‘ charge lowered the colours of subsequent Royal Ascot scorer Dashing Willougby last term prior to finding the trip too much behind Sir Dragonet – who reopposes – when tried in the Chester Vase. He ran a blinder to finish a close third to Sangarius here in the Hampton Court Stakes and might have found the shorter trip too sharp on his final start in the Sovereign Stakes.

The Motivator colt didn’t help his chances on his return by being last to leave the stalls, giving up some amount of ground; but he’ll strip fitter now for the run and could be worth chancing to do better here with the likely softer ground no issue as he eases back in grade for this latest outing.

This is a strong race and he’s likely to go off a massive price given he has a fair bit to find on the balance of his form. But he’s still relatively lightly raced and he can outrun his big odds especially if there’s further easing in the ground and he can reward our Royal Ascot Thursday tips by making the frame at a generous price.

2:25 Royal Ascot – Jersey Stakes (Group 3) Cl1 (3yo) 7f

French raider CELESTIN can make the journey across the Channel worthwhile by collecting this prize, and with rain forecast the conditions could play to the strengths of the Dabirsim colt.

A dual-winner last term on heavy ground, Fabrice Chappet’s charge has met with defeat on both starts this term; but he was only beaten two lengths in the French 2000 Guineas behind Victor Ludorum on ground that might have been too quick for him.

That form is arguably as strong as any in this race and the application of cheekpieces could see the French raider find further improvement as he drops back to seven furlongs. Further rain will be welcome and if the ground eases further then his chances increase and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a big run from him now as he eases into a Group Three contest.

3:00 Royal Ascot – Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 (2yo) 7f

GOLDEN FLAME found only one too strong on his debut at Haydock earlier in June and with the benefit of that run and experience under his belt Mark Johnston’s charge can go one better here.

The Golden Horn colt was beaten only a half-length behind Devious Company where he tried to make all; but he battled on well once headed and the front pair pulled clear of the remainder in what looked a pretty warm maiden event.

Frankie Dettori teams up with Mark Johnston to take the reins and the prospect of softer ground given the forecast rain isn’t likely to prove a hindrance given his breeding should conditions deteriorate.

He’s entitled to improve for that promising debut effort and the yard has won this three times so a big run is expected and there’d be no shock to see him firmly in the mix.

3:35 Royal Ascot – Gold Cup (Group 1) (British Champions Series) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m4f

The absence of Kew Gardens from the Ascot Gold Cup should leave STRADIVARIUS with a penalty kick to land his third successive win in the contest and John Gosden’s charge is hard to oppose stepping back up to a much more suitable trip having had a prep run over shorter in the recent Coronation Stakes.

The Sea The Stars entire saw his ten-win streak halted when just losing out to Kew Gardens in the Long Distance Cup here last October; but he shaped well on his return although was clearly inconvenienced by the shorter trip and should strip fitter for that return behind runaway winner Ghaiyyath.

There’s a slight worry that he had a harder race than ideal though where he finished third and this relatively quick turnaround may just see him turn out below his best. However he probably won’t need to be 100% to beat this field of rivals and he should take plenty of beating racing back over a longer trip.

Stradivarius bids for a third Ascot Gold Cup

Stradivarius bids for a third Ascot Gold Cup

4:10 Royal Ascot – Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Colts & Geldings) Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 1m

A hugely competitive contest and VERBOTEN could go well having had excuses for his narrow defeat on his recent reappearance at Lingfield earlier in the month, finishing well having been given too much to do from an uncompromising position to only go down by one length.

That form looks fair and it came over a furlong shorter than this contest so the step back up in trip looks a good move for the No Nay Never colt who could have more to offer this term.

He had been thought worthy of a crack at a Group One on just his second career start last term, but he cut little ice in finishing seventh behind Kameko having won well on debut. There’s a suspicion then that he could have scope for better after just three runs and a mark of 95 handed to John Gosden’s Godolphin runner could prove lenient.

Frankie Dettori takes the reins on the thrice-raced selection and he could improve again switching back to turf now and with the benefit of a recent run he can reward our Royal Ascot Thursday tips as our best each-way selection of the day.

4:40 Royal Ascot – Sandringham Stakes (Handicap) (Fillies) Cl2 (3yo 0-105) 1m

Day three closes out with a competitive and trappy finale but it is hard to get away from AFRICAN DREAM who is 16lbs well in at the weights having pushed a Group Two runner-up close on her recent reappearance.

John Gosden’s Oasis Dream filly had built on a promising debut third at Chelmsford in December to get off the mark on her next outing at Lingfield, still looking raw but having enough about her to score by a neck over Rhyme Scheme.

That reappearance effort was a solid run given that she was attempting to give 7lbs to the winner who boasted plenty of smart form. The first two pulled four lengths clear of the remainder so that performance can be given further credit and she turns out here from an attractive opening handicap rating.

Likely to improve she could exploit this mark given she’s due to go up a fair chunk in the weights for future runs and if she’s none the worse for recent exertions just one week on then she can take full advantage of this lesser rating to get back on the scoresheet.