Royal Ascot Day 3 Tips and Race-by-Race Selections
Race-by-race selections and best bets for all six races on the third day of the 2019 Royal Ascot Festival.
It is day three of Royal Ascot on Thursday, and that means it is Ladies’ Day where another six-race card awaits punters for the third day of top-class horse racing action, and the Group One Ascot Gold Cup takes centre stage of the afternoon on another quality racecard.
There is also classy Group Two support with both the Norfolk Stakes and Ribblesdale Stakes; while competitive Group Three and handicap action completes the day three lineup.
Race 1 – Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
Maven will likely be a popular selection representing Wesley Ward, while Sunday Sovereign was bought by the powerful King Power Racing having won well last time out. Both are respected, but VENTURA REBEL has made an excellent start to his career, and the Pastoral Pursuits colt can land a hat-trick of wins. Richard Fahey’s charge made a good impression when scoring at Thirsk on his debut back in April, showing inexperience but getting better as the race progressed. He showed the benefit of that run to wear down Lady Pauline over course and distance in May, beating a subsequent winner, and there may be further improvement to come. He still looked rough around the edges on that second occasion, taking a little while to hit top gear. When he did however, he quickened up well and may have won a shade easier than the winning margin suggests. He is worth a crack at this higher grade, and he can find further improvement to go close having already won over course and distance.
ROSEMAN stepped up on a very promising debut third at Newbury to get off the mark at the second attempt, running out an easy five lengths’ winner over Deebee at Nottingham at the end of April. That was over one mile, but Roger Varian’s Kingman colt hinted that a stiffer test might be beneficial when finding only King Of Comedy too strong in the Listed Heron Stakes at Sandown latest, where he finished ahead of the reopposing Sangarius. That winner did plenty for the form when just denied behind Circus Maximus in the St James’s Palace Stakes on Tuesday, and it is highly probable that there is better still to come. He isn’t obviously bred for this extra quarter mile trip, but if he can see out the extra yardage then he could play a big part in proceedings in an open renewal of this Group Three prize.
FLEETING won two of her four starts last term which included in the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster where Aidan O’Brien’s charge ran out a near-two lengths’ winner over Star Terms. The Zoffany filly was never a factor in the Qipco 1000 Guineas on her return, possibly needing the run and always racing in arrears; but she stepped up markedly on that performance to finish a close third in the Epsom Oaks, beaten just over one length behind Anapurna. She looked to be at home over the longer distance, travelling well but denied a clear run when trying to deliver a challenge; once clear, she finished well but she wasn’t able to bridge the gap. Assuming those exertions haven’t taken something from her, she ought to go well again having showed improvement for the stiffer test, and Ballydoyle have won three of the last five renewals of the race so her chances appear crystal clear given she remains capable of better still. A repeat of her Oaks run will put her firmly in the mix here, and she could prove a tough nut to crack.
STRADIVARIUS has been carrying all before him in the stayers’ divison over the past couple of seasons, and John Gosden’s star is expected to mount a successful title defence in this latest renewal of the stayers’ jewel in the crown contest. The Sea The Stars entire has already beaten a few of these rivals in previous outings, and he looked as good as ever when winning on his reappearance in the Yorkshire Cup with a defeat of Southern France. Sure to come on for that first outing of the season, he is versatile with regards to underfoot conditions having won both on good and soft ground, and on these terms he ought to prove very hard to beat. Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter and Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee should ensure the defending champion doesn’t have everything his own way, and indeed the northern raider will prove hard to pass judging by his gutsy win in the Henry II Stakes latest; while Flag Of Honour could prove the pick of the Ballydoyle team stepping back up in trip. However, all three are likely to be vying for places only if Stradivarius is fully tuned up to defend his crown, and John Gosden’s charge can successfully defend his crown.
A hugely competitive handicap could go the way of HERO HERO who shouldn’t be inconvenienced by the ground, and the No Nay Never colt arrives here on the back of an impressive win at Chester latest. Andrew Balding’s charge was stepping up on a pair of solid in-the-frame runs when running out an easy eight lengths’ winner over Guandi latest, making all and pulling clear in the style of a smart prospect. He’ll find it much harder to dominate a field of this size, but he showed in previous runs that he doesn’t need to force the pace and he is proven in soft ground having gone close in testing conditions on his debut. An opening mark of 95 ahead of his handicap debut doesn’t appear to overestimate him, and with the potential for better to come he can improve to follow up that last-time win here.
Day three ends with further competitive handicap action, and SIR RON PRIESTLEY is chanced to land the hat-trick having posted earlier successes at Ripon and Haydock already this term. The Australia colt showed some ability in his two runs last term, building on a promising debut to finish fourth in a warm contest at Goodwood behind the subsequent Breeders’ Cup winner Line Of Duty. He has since returned from a break to run out a six lengths’ victor over Babbo’s Boy at Ripon, and he followed up with a similarly impressive run to deny Lariat by four lengths latest at Haydock. He has different ground here to contend with on this latest outing, but he is one who could well have further improvement to come and an 8lbs rise in the weights following his recent success might not be enough to halt his progress if the conditions don’t catch him out. Mark Johnston has a good record in this race, having lifted this prize on six previous occasions, and it wouldn’t come as a huge surprise to see him going close here with the promise of further improvement to come.