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Homeracing

Price stab in Thursday’s Gold Cup at Royal Ascot

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

June 19th, 2019

My colleague Vance Hanson has done the heavy lifting with selections for all four Group races at Royal Ascot Thursday, so I’m just chiming in with a couple of supplementary notes. In the Royal Ascot Betting Guide, I listed #4 FRANKELLINA (7-1) in the Ribblesdale (G2) as one of five longshots to watch this week. My first two on the list, Romanised in Tuesday’s Queen Anne (G1) and Veracious in Wednesday’s Duke of Cambridge (G2), each finished fourth. Both races were won by other longshots, Lord Glitters and Move Swiftly, so it was a case of right spot for a price but wrong horse to deliver. The Ribblesdale similarly looks open for a well-priced winner, and again several in here qualify. Yet I remain hopeful that Frankellina will live up to trainer William Haggas’s opinion of her. From the family of 2015 Derby (G1) and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) hero Golden Horn, Frankellina recovered from a terrible start to dead-heat for second in the Musidora (G3), and her sixth in the Oaks (G1) was creditable off that one belated prep. The marquee event, the Gold Cup (G1), features a superb defending champion in #4 STRADIVARIUS (6-5). The rain has been a worry for trainer John Gosden, however, and his repeat bid would have been a lot more straightforward in his preferred conditions. Stradivarius willed his way through soft ground to beat #5 THOMAS HOBSON (20-1) in last October’s British Champions Long Distance Cup (G2) here, but that was over two miles. The extra half-mile of the Gold Cup figures to be tougher for him if the ground remains on the softish side. Stradivarius might well be too good for them regardless, but his price in the circumstances is practically begging for an alternative. #1 CALLED TO THE BAR (15-1) has plenty to prove, having never raced at this trip, but I’ve liked him a lot ever since scouting him out for the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) in 2017. Best of the rest behind Oscar Performance that day, the admirably consistent gelding has since developed into one of France’s top stayers, and he comes off a three-length victory in the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier (G2). Trainer Pia Brandt is very deliberate in her placement, not the type to send horses over for the fun of it. She’s compared Called to the Bar favorably to her past stayer Bathyrhon, who was beaten only a couple of lengths when fifth in the 2015 Gold Cup. Granted, this edition is also deeper, so Called to the Bar will have to be substantially better to land a blow. Still, given his ability to cope with a rain-affected track, and his solid closing kick, Called to the Bar is not to be overlooked. The more logical challengers, #8 DEE EX BEE (5-1) and #6 CROSS COUNTER (4-1), are rightly shorter in the market, leaving Called to the Bar a sneaky contender. Check out the Royal Ascot news and notes page along with the free Brisnet past performances! Royal Ascot scenic (c) Frank Sorge/Horsephotos.com

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