IN-FORM racing expert Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) discusses his best bet from the Gold Cup on Day 3 of Royal Ascot this Thursday.
4:20 Ascot | Gold Cup | ITV
It's the big race of the week and this is shaping to be one hell of a renewal. Nine high class stayers line up, and the long awaited clash between Order of St George, Stratavarius, and Vazirabad is going to happen. I cannot wait.
Vazirabad makes his long awaited UK debut and the French superstar is one of the top stayers in training. A multiple group 1 winner in France and three time winner of the Dubai Gold Cup, he's earned over £2 million during his illustrious career. Vazirabad has a fantastic relationship with jockey Chrisrophe Soumillon and he will be produced as he always is, as late as possible here. He will have no difficulties with the trip, however I have concerns over the ground being firmer than than ideal in the toughest race he's ever been involved in. He's up against it.
Stratavarius improved dramatically last season, starting with a handicap win off a mark of 78 and ending it as a group 1 winner. He was also third in a St Ledger and the Long Distance Cup. He shapes as a hugely promising stayer and on his seasonal debut he won the Yorkshire Cup in great style. His stable is having a really good meeting and he will run a huge race. However, the extra half mile he faces here will push his stamina to the limit and it's possible others will handle the extreme conditions better.
I love Order of St George. He is a fantastic horse and his CV is incredibly impressive. Not many horses can win a Gold Cup and place in the Arc in the same season but he managed this 2 years ago. He should have won this race last year and put that right with a brave performance when winning the Long Distance Cup beating Stradivarius in October. His preparations have gone smoothly, he will love the ground and I fully expect him to win his second Gold Cup here.
4:20 Ascot – Order of St George to win (2/1 Sportingbet)