The Gold Cup run over 2m4f on Ladies’ Day is still considered by many to be the highlight of the meeting. This year the race has attracted a cosmopolitan field of stayers from all over Europe (4.20pm,Thursday).
Favourites have a particularly strong record in the Ascot Gold Cup with seven of the last ten obliging, so trainer Dermot Weld’s (pictured) lightly-raced but unbeaten five-year-old Forgotten Rules (5/2) seems an obvious starting point for this Ascot Gold Cup preview. The Nayef gelding began his racing career by hacking up in a bumper at Punchestown last April. He won the 2m Long Distance Cup at Ascot last October and looked as good as ever when staying on well to win the Vintage Crop Stakes over 1m6f on his reappearance at Navan last month.
Obviously, the one thing Forgotten Rules lacks is experience, as he demonstrated when hanging badly right in the closing stages of the Long Distance Cup, but Dermot Weld won the Gold Cup with Rite Of Passage in 2010, so clearly has a pretty good idea about what is required. Forgotten Rules has yet to compete at the highest level, beyond two miles or on ground faster than good. So a strong case can be made that his odds represent little value.
Kingfisher (12/1) could only finish fourth, beaten 7¾ lengths, behind Forgotten Rules in the Vintage Crop Stakes and reopposes on 3lb worse terms. However Aidan O’Brien’s four-year-old showed the benefit of that run when getting up close home to win the Saval Beg Stakes over 1m6f at Leopardstown earlier this month and, granted his trainer’s record in the race in recent years, must be worth a second look.
The Ballydoyle handler saddled Yeats (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), Fame And Glory (2011) and Leading Light (2014) to win the Gold Cup so, while Kingfisher appears exposed as well short of the class required to win, the Galileo colt could conceivably improve for the extra three-quarters of a mile and may not be one to write off completely.
Mizzou (9/2) recorded his first Pattern race success when staying on well to beat Vent De Force (8/1) by 2l in the Sagaro Stakes over 2m on his reappearance at Ascot in April. Vent De Force franked that form when making all to beat the progressive Trip To Paris (12/1) by 1¾ lengths in the Henry II Stakes over 2m½f at Sandown last month (a race in which the reappearing Simenon (14/1) finished fifth, beaten 3¼ lengths), but probably still has his work cut out to beat Mizzou on identical terms.
Simenon hasn’t won on the Flat since hacking up in the Queen Alexandra Stakes over 2m5½f at Royal Ascot three years ago, but it’s worth remembering that Willie Mullins’ charge finished secondbeaten a neckbehind Estimate in this race two years ago and fourth, beaten 5 lengths, behind Leading Light last year. He may not be quite the force of old at the age of eight, but he is another who should be considered.
Ascot Gold Cup Preview’s Betting Tip
Mizzou has a few pounds to find with the likes of Forgotten Rules and Tac De Boistron (16/1) on official ratings, but his style of racing suggests the step up in distance is almost certainly in his favour. So our Ascot Gold Cup preview betting tip is to back MIZZOU each-way at current best odds of 9/2 with Betfair Sportsbook, SkyBet or Coral.