Royal Ascot 2017: Benbatl wins Hampton Court Stakes – live!


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Royal Ascot 2017: Benbatl wins Hampton Court Stakes – live!” was written by Barry Glendenning, for theguardian.com on Thursday 22nd June 2017 14.48 UTC

Ribblesdale Stakes (3.40) result

1 Coronet (O Peslier) 9-1
2 Mori (P J Smullen) 2-1 Fav
3 Hertford Dancer (Jim Crowley) 16-1
12 ran
Also: 40-1 Rich Legacy 4th

Ribblesdale Stakes (3.40) 1m 4f

They’re off and running in the Ribblesdale, with Mori going off favourite. The Sky Is Blazing makes the early running, streaking four or five lengths clear of the rest of the field. Halfway through the race and The Sky Is Blazing leads by nearly 10 lengths clear from Serenada … The Sky Is Blazing leads around the bend with Hertford Dancer in hot pursuit … Hertford Dancer takes the lead with Mori chasing … Mori noses clear but gets collared by Coronet. Coronet wins the Ribblesdale for trainer John Gosden, with Olivier Peslier in the plate.

Ribblesdale Stakes (3.40) betting

  • Mori 5-2
  • Alluringly 11-4
  • Naughty Or Nice 7-1
  • Coronet 9-1
  • Astronomys Choice 14-1

16-1 bar

Greg Rutherford
Longjumping;s Greg Rutherford presented the trophy to the winning connections of the Norfolk Stakes. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Benbatl a Suroor thing

Saeed bin Suroor secured his first success of the week at Royal Ascot as Benbatl fended off Orderofthegarter to win the Hampton Court Stakes. Fifth in the Derby, Benbatl (9-2) bounced back in style and certainly responded to Oisin Murphy’s urging in the finish.

Taj Mahal set the early pace for fellow Aidan O’Brien inmate Orderofthegarter, while Murphy settled in behind, happy to bide his time before kicking for home just under two furlongs out.

Mirage Dancer looked like challenging but could not quite go with them at a crucial stage, as Orderofthegarter flew down the middle of the track, pushing Benbatl all the way to the line.

The Godolphin runner clung on to victory by half a length though to continue a fruitful meeting for Sheikh Mohammed’s team, with Mirage Dancer staying on for third.

Benbatl and Oisin Murphy win the Hampton Court Stakes.
Benbatl and Oisin Murphy win the Hampton Court Stakes. Photograph: racingfotos.com/REX/Shutterstock

Updated

Ribblesdale Stakes (3.40) preview

Alluringly, third in the Oaks, is the obvious one but she was beaten 11 lengths that day and may be vulnerable to one with more pace. That could be the regally bred Mori, by Frankel out of the six-times Group One winner Midday. Mori has improved with each run and should be able to show significant improvement on her Listed success at Goodwood last time over Coconut Creme. Coronet has a bit to prove after a disappointing fifth in the Oaks. John Oxx’s unbeaten Naughty Or Nice might need a shade further.

The winning jockey speaks …

“I don’t celebrate very often but that one meant the world to me,” says Oisin Murphy, who has just ridden his first Royal Ascot winner. “We had the hood off him today and fair play to [trainer] Saeed [Bin Suroor] and everyone at home because we had a lot in hand at the end there.”

Hampton Court Stakes (3.05) result

1 Benbatl (Oisin Murphy) 9-2
2 Orderofthegarter (R L Moore) 10-3 Fav
3 Mirage Dancer (Andrea Atzeni) 7-1
13 ran
Also: 8-1 Taj Mahal 4th
Non Runners: 1,4,7
CSF: 18.55
Tricast: 103.09

Benbatl ridden by Oisin Murphy on the way to winning the Hampton Court Stakes.
Benbatl ridden by Oisin Murphy on the way to winning the Hampton Court Stakes. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Updated

Hampton Court Stakes (3.05) 1m 2f

Taj Mahal continues to lead from Grey Britain, Mucho Applause and Speedo Boy … Benbatl leads with half a furlong to go and wins by half-a-length under Oisin Murphy. Benbatl wins the Hampton Court Stakes.

Hampton Court Stakes (3.05) 1m 2f

The 16 starters in the Hampton Court Stakes emerge from the stalls in what promises to be a rough, competitive race over one mile and a quarter. Taj Mahal leads from Grey Britain early doors, with Mirage Dancer going around the inside on the rail …

We do not need to talk about gelding

On ITV, co-presenter Francesca Cumani and trainer Charlie Appleby have just had a long and eye-wateringly indepth conversation about Bay Of Poets, who has been gelded since the French Derby in the hope of getting some improvement out of him. I’m the son of a vet and am far from squeamish when it comes to surgical procedures on animals, but hearing chat about horses getting separated from their knackers is something that never fails to make me queasy. “It didn’t cause him much discomfort,” says Appleby of his charge, but I think we should let poor old Bay Of Poets be the judge of that.

Hampton Court Stakes (3.05) betting

  • Orderofthegarter 7-2
  • Benbatl 4-1
  • Mirage Dancer 11-2
  • Irishcorrespondent 11-2
  • Tamleek 8-1
  • Bay Of Poets 10-1

12-1 bar

Sioux Nation has last laugh in the Norfolk

Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore struck gold as Sioux Nation ran out a game winner of the Norfolk Stakes. Sent off a 14-1 chance, Sioux Nation was one of a small group to race on the far side as the majority of the field, headed by American raider McErin, opted to come up the stands side.

A furlong out, there were a handful of horses still in contention but Sioux Nation had just poked his head in front and dug sufficiently deep as the Declan Carroll-trained Santry was flying in the final strides. Despite being separated by the width of the track, Sioux Nation just held on with Cardsharp following home 13-2 joint-favourite Santry in third.

Sioux Nation and Ryan Moore
Sioux Nation and Ryan Moore on their way to post before winning the Norfolk Stakes. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Hampton Court Stakes (3.05) preview

From the stable that has won this twice in eight years, Mirage Dancer must overcome inexperience but this could be the right time to catch him. A son of Frankel, he was awkward on just his second trip to the track at Chester last month but finished with real verve to be a close fourth behind a horse who was later second in the Derby.

Benbatl deserves his place on the strength of his Derby fifth but may have been flattered by the way the Classic unfolded. Irishcorrespondent was third in the Irish Guineas but trailed the winner by seven lengths and still has something to prove in Group company. Godolphin’s Tamleek still has promise and might be suited by this step back in trip from the Chester Vase, in which he was fourth.

Royal Ascot
SOme serious colour co-ordination going on here. Photograph: Tim Ireland/EPA

Ryan Moore speaks …

“The ground is probably even everywhere,” he says, having found cover behind the three horses accompanying him down the far side, before moving to the front late doors and winning by half a length. “We had speed where we were and were always ahead. I wouldn’t read too much into the track or the draw. He travelled … he always travelled well but got a bit lonely on his own. The ground is much the same [as it was over the first two days].”

Updated

Norfolk Stakes (2.30) result

1 Sioux Nation (R L Moore) 14-1
2 Santry (Jim Crowley) 13-2 Jt Fav
3 Cardsharp (James Doyle) 8-1
17 ran
Also: 13-2 Jt Fav Mcerin, 9-1 Frozen Angel 4th
Non Runner: 13
Tote: win 17.50 places 4.80 2.70 3.30
Tote Exacta: 147.50
CSF: 98.87
Tricast: 820.99

Sioux Nation, ridden by jockey Ryan Moore comes home to win the Norfolk Stakes.
Sioux Nation, ridden by jockey Ryan Moore comes home to win the Norfolk Stakes. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Updated

Norfolk Stakes (2.30)

Sioux Nation and Ryan Moore win the Norfolk Stakes at 14-1 for Aidan O’Brien. It’s an interesting outcome, as three of the first five home travelled down the far side of the course. “This horse has pure, raw, speed,” says O’Brien. “He’s a massive, big strong horse and to be doing this at this stage of his career is unreal.”

Norfolk Stakes (2.30) 5f

The two-year-olds break from the stalls with True Blue Moon slow out. A group of four take the far side, while Mcerin leads them down the near side. Santry leads them on the near side. Sioux Nation leads them down the far side. Sioux Nation wins the Norfolk Stakes.

Norfolk Stakes (2.30) 5f

They’re loading up for the first! Any second now …

Mcerin shortens in the betting

The Wesley Ward-trained American raider Mcerin is now contesting favouritism with Santry, with both hovering around the 13-2 mark. Mcerin has impressed over four-and-a-half furlongs in the USA, but may find this a mite too far. For anyone who’s interested, Santry is ITV pundit Jason Weaver’s lock of the week.

A mini-rant …

I have been a huge fan of ITV’s coverage since they took over from Channel 4 and hold Sky Sports old boy and anchorman Ed Chamberlin in the highest of regard as both a broadcaster and a bloke, but I really think they’ve made a misjudgement in their coverage of the Royal Procession this week. The levels of fawning obsequiousness have been little short of nauseating and I imagine even the Queen herself might be a little embarrassed if she was listening to it … which she isn’t, for obvious reasons. As absurd and preposterous a spectacle as the procession might be, it is of course all part of the pomp and ceremony that makes Royal Ascot such a fun event to attend, but lads and lassies … try to rein in the simpering and toadying just a bit.

Queen Elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth is a vision in fuchsia today. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Updated

Norfolk Stakes (2.30) betting

  • Santry 6-1
  • Mcerin 7-1
  • Havana Grey 8-1
  • It Dont Come Easy 8-1
  • Nine Below Zero 9-1
  • Frozen Angel 10-1
  • Koditime 10-1
  • 12-1 bar
Royal Ascot
Crikey. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Finally, a winner!

Having picked pink as the colour of the Queen’s hat in an impromptu office sweep, it is with great pride that I can announce that on Day Three of this year’s Royal Ascot, I have finally backed a winner. Officially it’s fuchsia, but I’m not being diddled out of this one. We’ll bring you pictorial proof just as soon as we have it. There’s quite a strong wind coming off the straight mile as the Royal Procession makes it’s way down the course, prompting the ladies involved to hold on to their hats.

Today’s Royal procession

You’ll all be wanting to know exactly who’s occupying the horse-drawn landaus in today’s Royal procession then, eh? Oh. Well, there’s 40 minutes to go until the start of the first race, so I’m going to tell you anyway.

First Carriage: The Queen, The Duke of York, Mr. John Warren, Mr. Edward Young

Second Carriage: The Princess Royal, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence, Princess Beatrice of York, Princess Eugenie of York

Third Carriage: The Earl of Snowdon, The Countess of Snowdon, Captain David Bowes-Lyon, Mrs. David Bowes-Lyon

Fourth Carriage: Mr. Charles ButterMrs. Charles ButterThe Hon. Peter StanleyThe Hon. Mrs. Stanley

The history of the Royal Procession

Norfolk Stakes (2.30) preview

This being a five-furlong race for two-year-olds, a Wesley Ward runner is the first thing to look for and here we have McErin, the predictable favourite. But his win was over four and a half furlongs and he couldn’t quite get there over five the next time, so his finishing effort may not be the strongest up this incline. At 10-1, Nine Below Zero looks too big, after a couple of handy successes on fast surfaces, the most recent in a decent time. An extra furlong looks like a help, on pedigree.

Cardsharp is a relatively experienced Mark Johnston runner who may be able to take advantage of being drawn on the stands side, where the ground appears faster. Joseph O’Brien’s True Blue Moon is also drawn there and has claims on his two wins. Koditime, from the same yard that won yesterday’s Queen Mary, can be forgiven his defeat over six furlongs on soft but his debut win doesn’t quite look good enough.

Royal Ascot
It’s all about the millinery Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Draw bias on the straight course

Greg Wood wrote earlier about this, saying “the belief in the weighing room that the near side is the place to be on the straight course”. By way of evidence he pointed out that “just three runners stayed far side in yesterday’s race, and they finished well adrift of the all-the-way winner Zhui Feng, from stall 26, but who knows whether he would have been able to hang on if so many of his low-drawn rivals had not given up ground and momentum working their way across?”

Adding to a debate that has also been raging on ITV, reader Raymond Reardon has this to say: “The barrier positions in selecting winners down the Ascot straight course are relevant if used by the jockeys to gain cover or to lead a race if they have an exceptional leader,” he writes. “Day One winning barriers: 1, 9, 18, 12. Day 2 winning barriers Ascot strait races: 10, 20, 10, 26, 11. There was no better example of riding with cover than Jamie Spencer in the last race yesterday, where from barrier 11 Jamie followed Ryan Moore on Rain Goddess like a shadow for the whole race until the last 100 metres where he was able to peal off Moore, who had weaved a path ahead for him.”

Royal Ascot
Racegoers poses for photographers as they arrive on Ladies’ Day. Photograph: Tim Ireland/EPA
Royal Ascot
More racegoers on Ladies’ Day. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Updated

Today’s non-runners

  • 2.30: Rock of Estonia
  • 3.05: Larchmont Lad, Jake’s Hill, Gold Spinner,
  • 5.00: Gilgamesh, Sea Fox, Naval Warfare
Royal Ascot
You put on a nice hat for Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot, only to get savaged by a swarm of butterflies. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Gold Cup flyover …

Want to see a hi-tech guide to the course for today’s feature race put together by the good people at British Champions Series? Of course you do.

Top trainers so far

  • Wesley Ward 2 wins
  • Aidan O’Brien 1
  • Charlie Appleby 1
  • Richard Fahey 1
  • Richard Hannon 1
  • Willie Mullins 1
  • Richard Spencer 1
  • Clive Cox 1
  • Andre Fabre 1
  • Jean-Claude Rouget 1
  • Amanda Perrett 1

It is extraordinary to contemplate the idea that Wesley Ward could be top trainer here this week but he is, after all, the only trainer to win more than once so far and he is not out of bullets yet. But O’Brien has three seconds and will surely win on a countback if he ties anyone else for wins at the end of the week. His form here this week reads: 373004280027126.

Steve Bell
Today’s offering from the always excellent Guardian political cartoonist Steve Bell. Illustration: Steve Bell

Top jockeys so far

  • Ryan Moore 2
  • William Buick 2
  • James Doyle 1
  • Stevie Donohoe 1
  • Adam Kirby 1
  • Gregory Benoist 1
  • Pierre-Charles Boudot 1
  • Martin Dwyer 1
  • Jamie Spencer 1
  • John Velazquez 1

Ryan Mighty has overtaken Buick at the top of the table, despite having had a less productive first two days than might have been expected. Moore leads by virtue of a couple of second places against none for Buick. Boudot was winning here for the first time, while Dwyer was breaking a six-year drought since Manassas in the Buckingham Palace.

Ryan Moore
Ryan Moore is the current leader of this year’s Royal Ascot jockeys’ championship. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Chris Cook hits us with his going stick

The ground at Ascot will be faster for today than for either Tuesday or Wednesday, according to GoingStick readings published this morning. The readings also add fuel to the debate about which part of the track is fastest; the stands’ side comes out on top at 9.1 but only just from the far side on 9.0, while the middle appears to be sagging at 8.6.
In the circumstances, you’d think the sensible thing for the jockeys to do in today’s Britannia Handicap at 5pm would be to split up the middle into two groups and head for the rails. But, in view of the Hunt Cup yesterday, it seems most jockeys are intent on coming over to the stands’ side. For a jockey drawn lower than 15, that means giving up quite a bit of ground and probably ending up in the middle, where the ground is slowest. It can’t be a good idea.

Royal Ascot
A woman pets a sniffer dog at the ticket booth for the Royal Enclosure. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

King George V Handicap (5.35) preview

There might be quite a bit of unexplored potential in Aidan O’Brien’s Utah, who has been a frustrating sort to this point. He won a useful maiden the last time he was tried on a fast surface and was never nearer than at the line when stepped up to 10 furlongs last time. Today’s extra quarter-mile and stronger pace should help a son of Galileo, whose damsire is the French Derby winner Bering. Ryan Moore rides the stablemate Homesman but that one looks high in the weights on what he has achieved. Charlie Appleby, who won this three years ago, runs three. First Nation, a half-brother to a St Leger winner, appears the pick of them and should be helped by this step up in distance. Atty Persse looked one to follow when overcoming traffic trouble to win at Sandown but he was a bit disappointing when upped in trip at Haydock last time.

Ascot parade ring
The parade ring at Ascot. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Britannia Handicap (5.00) preview

Struck into during the only race in which he ran poorly, Ronald R should have plenty more to offer. He wasn’t particularly fancied for his handicap debut at Newmarket last month, his first outing since August, but held on gamely and deserved every bit of his 7lb rise. In case his draw on the far side proves the wrong place to be, Keyser Soze looks the pick of the near-side bunch; unbeaten in two since being gelded, he was impressive at Kempton last time and comes from the small yard that sprang a surprise in the Coventry on Tuesday.

Royal Ascot
A punter holds up her ‘lucky’ clutchbag. Photograph: John Walton/PA

Gold Cup (4.20) preview

Now that Highland Reel has calmed any nerves about Aidan O’Brien’s recent form, Order Of St George will be a warm order to repeat his Gold Cup success of last year. But punters are reminded that he was beaten here in October by Sheikhzayedroad (4.20), who is available at double-figure odds to do it again. That was a shorter race but I have no doubt about Sheikhzayedroad’s stamina. He wasn’t at home on the soft ground when third in this last year and today’s faster surface will be right up his street. His stable is finally coming into form after a slow spring.

Big Orange will be dangerous from the front, since he always seems to come good on fast ground in summer. The extra half-mile is a risk for him. Torcedor has improved since moving from David Wachman to Jessica Harrington and beat Order Of St George last time. He had a fitness edge that day and steps up in distance by three-quarters of a mile. Simple Verse is also stepping up in distance but the way she stayed on to be third behind Sheikhzayedroad in the autumn suggests she will cope.

Royal Ascot Gold Cup
The Royal Ascot Gold Cup. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Ribblesdale Stakes (3.40) preview

Alluringly, third in the Oaks, is the obvious one but she was beaten 11 lengths that day and may be vulnerable to one with more pace. That could be the regally bred Mori, by Frankel out of the six-times Group One winner Midday. Mori has improved with each run and should be able to show significant improvement on her Listed success at Goodwood last time over Coconut Creme. Coronet has a bit to prove after a disappointing fifth in the Oaks. John Oxx’s unbeaten Naughty Or Nice might need a shade further.

Royal Ascot
A couple of punters relax on a bench as, somewhere out of shot, a lady searches frantically for her hat. Photograph: Horsephotos/Getty Images

Hampton Court Stakes (3.05) preview

From the stable that has won this twice in eight years, Mirage Dancer must overcome inexperience but this could be the right time to catch him. A son of Frankel, he was awkward on just his second trip to the track at Chester last month but finished with real verve to be a close fourth behind a horse who was later second in the Derby.

Benbatl deserves his place on the strength of his Derby fifth but may have been flattered by the way the Classic unfolded. Irishcorrespondent was third in the Irish Guineas but trailed the winner by seven lengths and still has something to prove in Group company. Godolphin’s Tamleek still has promise and might be suited by this step back in trip from the Chester Vase, in which he was fourth.

Royal Ascot
A stall telling Frankel tat at a Royal Ascot of yore. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Norfolk Stakes (2.30) preview

This being a five-furlong race for two-year-olds, a Wesley Ward runner is the first thing to look for and here we have McErin, the predictable favourite. But his win was over four and a half furlongs and he couldn’t quite get there over five the next time, so his finishing effort may not be the strongest up this incline. At 10-1, Nine Below Zero looks too big, after a couple of handy successes on fast surfaces, the most recent in a decent time. An extra furlong looks like a help, on pedigree.

Cardsharp is a relatively experienced Mark Johnston runner who may be able to take advantage of being drawn on the stands side, where the ground appears faster. Joseph O’Brien’s True Blue Moon is also drawn there and has claims on his two wins. Koditime, from the same yard that won yesterday’s Queen Mary, can be forgiven his defeat over six furlongs on soft but his debut win doesn’t quite look good enough.

Wesley Ward
With two winners under his belt already this week, American trainer Wesley Ward saddles McErin in the Norfolk Stakes. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Our tips for the day

2.30 Norfolk Stakes: Nine Below Zero 10-1
3.05 Hampton Court Stakes: Mirage Dancer 4-1
3.40 Ribblesdale Stakes: Mori 11-4
4.20 Gold Cup: Sheikhzayedroad (nap) 12-1
5.00 Britannia Handicap: Ronald R 18-1
5.35 King George V Handicap: Utah 18-1

The evidence of the straight-course races yesterday was pretty compelling in suggesting a bias towards those racing on the stands side. But two of those races came after I had to file these tips and two of them, Nine Below Zero and Ronald R, are drawn on the unfavoured far side. Nine Below Zero might get away with it in a smaller field at level weights but the draw looks a real problem for Ronald R.

Meanwhile, Sir Michael Stoute must have thought he was about to set a new record for trainer wins at Royal Ascot when Ulysses hit the front in the Prince of Wales yesterday. Alas for him, it was only a brief moment but I have him down for a Day Three double, through Mirage Dancer and Mori. And it could be a big day for Newmarket, if I’m right about Sheikhzayedroad (David Simcock). I’m also hoping for a big day for Pat Smullen, who’s on Nine Below Zero and Mori. Utah would be a second winner of the week for Aidan O’Brien.

Royal Ascot
A runner enjoys a cooling post-race shower in the unsaddling enclosure. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

Ladbrokes Royal Ascot tipping competition

You could win a £50 bet from Ladbrokes by proving your tipping prowess on today’s races. All you have to do is give us your selections for all of today’s races at Ascot. As ever, our champion will be the tipster who returns the best profit to notional level stakes of £1 at starting price. Non-runners count as losers.

Please post all your tips in a single posting, using the comment facility below, before the first race at 2.30pm. There are six races at Ascot today and you must post a single selection for each race.

Our usual terms and conditions apply, except that this will be a strictly one-day thing. If we get a tie after all the races have been run, the winner will be the one who posted their tips earliest out of those with the highest score.

If you don’t win today, don’t despair. You’ll have one more chance tomorrow.
Congratulations to Wemeanyounoharm, winner of our tipping competition on Wednesday. He was the only one to pick Con Te Partiro (20-1) and he also had the first three winners for a final score of +27.50.

Congratulations also to TCtiger and spudpt, who shared victory on Tuesday with a final score of +31 after four winners, including 16-1 and 11-1. Normally, we’d invoke our tie-breaking procedures and hand the sole win to TCtiger, who posted his tips before spudpt. But, given that both did so fantastically well, Ladbrokes have agreed to give a £50 bet to both. Please post your tips or racing-related comments below.

Royal Ascot
The shadow of a horse and groom in the unsaddling enclosure. Photograph: Tom Jenkins for the Guardian

It’s Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot

After two of the hottest afternoons at the Royal meeting that anyone can remember, it is a much cooler start to the day in Berkshire this morning and there is a possibility of thundery showers at some point in the day, though temperatures are still expected to be in the mid-20s throughout.

Chris Stickels, the clerk of the course, did not feel that he was in a position to wait and see yesterday evening with regard to the showers, and applied 5mm of water to the entire track. “We feel that if we didn’t water, and we didn’t get those showers, we really would be too fast,” Stickels said yesterday. “The ground would be too quick.”

Five millimetres is not a great deal of water in the circumstances, and if the evidence of yesterday’s Royal Hunt Cup is anything to go on, it is unlikely to dispel the belief in the weighing room that the near side is the place to be on the straight course. Just three runners stayed far side in yesterday’s race, and they finished well adrift of the all-the-way winner Zhui Feng, from stall 26, but who knows whether he would have been able to hang on if so many of his low-drawn rivals had not given up ground and momentum working their way across?

It is an additional “known unknown” to throw into the mix for this afternoon’s Britannia Handicap, which is generally the most difficult race of the week to solve in any case. No horse from a single-figure draw made the first six in the two races over the straight mile yesterday, and runners in mid- to high-numbered stalls dominate the top of the betting, which currently rates Richard Hannon’s Son Of The Stars the 7-1 favourite. Maths Prize, a 20-1 chance drawn in stall 13, is also likely to attract some support before the race though, as The Queen’s runners almost inevitably do at this meeting.

The Gold Cup is, as ever, the feature event of Ladies’ Day, and Order Of St George is rock-solid in the market this morning to take the Royal meeting’s feature event for the second year running. A couple of bookmakers were a shade of odds-against this morning, but he is now top-priced at 10-11 with only two of the 14 runners Ð Big Orange and Simple Verse Ð at single-figure odds to beat him.

A crowd of at least 60,000 is expected at the track today, after two afternoons when a slight drop in the year-on-year attendance was the one minor cloud on an otherwise unblemished sky. In addition to the Gold Cup, they could also see history made as Mori will attempt to become the first runner by the mighty Frankel to win at the Royal meeting. Victory for Mori, who is out of the six-times Group 1 winner Midday, would also give Sir Michael Stoute, her trainer, sole ownership of the record for the most winners at the Royal meeting with 76, one more than the late Sir Henry Cecil.

Updated

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