Royal Ascot 2019: Ascot Gold Cup Odds and Betting Preview
Thursday’s main event at the Royal meeting is undoubtedly for the stayers as the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup, raced over the marathon trip of two miles, four furlongs takes centre stage at 16:20 GMT.
Thirteen participants currently stand their ground before the final 48-hour declarations are announced, with some old and new names in the line-up for Britain’s most prestigious staying race.
Date: June 20, 2019
The Ascot version of the Gold Cup was inaugurated back in 1807 and was initially open to horses aged three years and upwards until the change to four years and above came early into the 20th century. The Gold Cup is the first leg of the stayers’ Triple Crown with further events at Goodwood and Doncaster later in the summer campaign.
Previous winners of the Gold Cup include the great Sagaro, who won three consecutive races from 1975-77 under Lester Piggott. Ardross won many staying events in his stellar career, including two back-to-back Gold Cups in 1981-82, with the legendary Piggott once again in the saddle. Aiden O’Brien has won seven of the last thirteen renewals of the Gold Cup, with Yeats being the all-time greatest performer in this race with four wins spanning from 2006-09.
John Gosden’s Stradivarius took the spoils from French raider, Vazirabad last year as the English staying star repelled all challengers in a strong staying performance. Following the Gold Cup win, Stradivarius went on to racing immortality in 2018, with victories in the Goodwood Cup and returned to Ascot to win the Long Distance Cup last October.
Stradivarius is back to defend his crown once again in 2019.
Here below, we will look in more detail at some of the leading contenders for this key Group 1 race, to try and point our readers in the right direction for a winning bet.
Unbeaten in his last six starts, and having already shown his wellbeing in 2019 following a solid effort to win the Yorkshire Cup at York in May, Stradivarius is likely to be one of the bankers of the Royal Ascot meeting for punters.
The mount of legendary jockey Frankie Dettori, Stradivarius has already proven himself to be one of the best staying flat horses in recent times, and victory here will only enhance that reputation. According to the official ratings from the British Horseracing Board’s handicapping system, Stradivarius has a couple of pounds in hand over the rest of the field, which highlights the five-year olds’ strength at the head of the betting market.
The price is not very big however, Betway and Totesport go just 11/10 on Stradivarius repeating his Royal Ascot success of last year. This price is unlikely to deter the big players on course, and it would not surprise greatly to see the Gosden hot-shot go off even shorter at race time.
The main challengers to Stradivarius are likely to come from the four-year-old contingent, and the leading hope from that age group – from the early betting at least – is Godolphin’s Cross Counter.
A winner of the Melbourne Cup last November, the Charlie Appleby-trained son of Teofilo became the first British horse ever to claim the most prestigious race in Australia to cap off a memorable 2018 for his trainer. Cross Counter has shown significant improvement since being upped to two miles, and it is definitely worth the chance to see how this progressive individual does over the extra four furlongs.
Unibet and Black Type offer the best industry odds of 9/2 on Cross Counter, who could well be the sternest challenger to the favourite. If the extra half-mile ekes out further improvement in the Godolphin charge, then Cross Counter could be adding Gold to his Melbourne Cup victory.
Following the second-place finish in last years’ Epsom Derby at 20/1, Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee has long been earmarked as a staying type for extended distances, and perhaps this marathon trip could suit the son of Farhh perfectly.
It is a little difficult to assess Dee Ex Bee’s recent form, although his two victories at Group 3 level at Ascot and Sandown last month. Mark Johnston’s horses are notoriously tough and genuine individuals and you can expect a solid run in the race under jockey, Silvestre De Souza.
In keeping with Cross Counter, Dee Ex Bee offers a solid each-way chance, provided the extra half mile proves to be no inconvenience. Ladbrokes go top price of 6/1 on the Johnston gelding, who could finally break his Group 1 duck on Thursday afternoon.
Others to Consider
The biggest races across the world usually has a presence from the Aiden O’Brien stable, and the Ascot Gold Cup is no exception this year, with the Ballydoyle handler having three chances in the race with Flag Of Honour, Capri and Cypress Creek.
Flag Of Honour (16/1 with William Hill) is the pick of Ryan Moore, which could be a tip in itself to the strength of the Ballydoyle team. The four-year-old has plenty to find to challenge the leading protagonists after three second-placed finishes so far this season over inadequate trips.
Capri (16/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral) is another unproven type over the distance, with the son of Galileo never been seen racing over fourteen furlongs in public. Two beaten favourite appearances hardly get the pulse racing and is overlooked.
Cypress Creek (40/1 with Betway and Black Type) has plenty to find to make inroads at this level, and it would take several to underperform for him to challenge.
Veteran stayers, Magic Circle (20/1 with William Hill and Betway) and Thomas Hobson (25/1 with Betfred and Totesport) could also be worthy of consideration at larger odds.
This race is highly likely to revolve around the horses at the head of the betting and in particular, Stradivarius and Cross Counter, who are arguably the best two staying flat horses on the planet.
I’m loathed to tip up an almost even money shot, but Stradivarius has everything in his favour, with no qualms regarding trip, ground and experience. I expect Cross Counter to run a fine race however, and the current odds of 9/2 are of enough value to back the Godolphin charge each-way. It wouldn’t be the biggest surprise to see Cross Counter win the race, but I have a narrow preference for the Gosden charge under Frankie Dettori.
- Stradivarius to win the Ascot Gold Cup at 11/10 with Betway.