Picks and Ponderings: Royal Ascot – 2018 Gold Cup Preview

The Gold Cup is one of the world’s premier events for true stayers, going two and a half miles over the grass.  First run in 1807, the race is the oldest of the Royal Ascot meet.  It has been run at Ascot through the vast majority of its history, though it moved to Newmarket during wartime periods (1917-18, 1941-44), and was run at York in 2005.  It is the traditional feature race of the third day of the meet, Ladies’ Day.

The local prep race, the Sagaro Stakes (G3), is named after a dominant Gold Cup performer. Sagaro won three times, 1975 through 1977, becoming the first horse in the race’s history to win three times.  That record has since been surpassed by Yeats.  The son of Sadler’s Wells marked himself as one of the best stayers of all time by winning four consecutive editions of the race, 2006 through 2009.

Read on for my preview of the race at Picks and Ponderings!

Picks and Ponderings: 2017 Diamond Jubilee Stakes Preview

Royal Ascot, five days of world-class turf racing, draws to a close on Saturday.  This piece takes a look at the closing day feature, the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, a six-furlong turf sprint for older horses.

In a competitive, 19-horse renewal of the Diamond Jubilee…

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, and let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Commonwealth Cup and Coronation Stakes

Royal Ascot continues Friday with a pair of Group I races: the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes.

The Commonwealth Cup is the newest Group I at Royal Ascot: a six-furlong sprint for three-year-olds.  It filled a need on the calendar — before it, elite sophomore sprinters had to decide between stretching out to a mile or facing older if they wanted to race at the top level at Ascot.  Last year’s winner proved a force in the sprint division.  Will this year’s?

The Coronation Stakes is a mile for sophomore fillies.  Jet Setting, who recently upset Minding in the Irish 1000 Guineas, makes her first start for new connections after selling for a gaudy £1.3M to new owner China Horse Club earlier this week.  But, stiff new challengers await.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Commonwealth Cup and the Coronation Stakes, and let me know in the comments what you think!

a Lady’s day at Ascot

words of praise and hopes for things to come
traversed the sea before the royal meet
the bluegrass, knowing well its equine sum
had never seen four hooves so young so fleet

but waters deepened on the other shore
and in the bog none knew if form would hold
so challengers who numbered four by four
came forth to test the burgundy and gold

Frankie eased his Lady to the lead
then chilly sat as she sped down the course
and sixteen fillies felt their pilots plead
but none could find an answer to her force

he shook the reins, her lead became a chasm
as great as her home soil’s enthusiasm

Picks and Ponderings: Gold Cup Preview

Headlining tomorrow’s card at Royal Ascot is my favourite race of the meet: the Gold Cup.

Order of St George looks like the one to beat…but it will be his first try at the demanding twenty-furlong trip…or, anything past fourteen.  Will that matter?  Will I side with him anyway, or will I look for another option?

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Gold Cup, and let me know what you think in the comments.

Picks and Ponderings: Prince of Wales’s Stakes Preview

Royal Ascot continues on Wednesday, as do my previews of its Group I races over at Picks and Ponderings.

The Prince of Wales’s Stakes, a ten-furlong test, drew a short but select field of six…which may be five, if The Grey Gatsby scratches due to the soft ground.  Do I think A Shin Hikari will be the goods?  Am I trying to beat him?

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: Royal Ascot, Day One

Over at Picks and Ponderings, I am taking a look at the Group I races at Royal Ascot this week.  Royal Ascot opens Tuesday — and I preview all three top-level races on the card.

The Queen Anne starts the Royal Ascot meet.  The turf mile for older horses features America’s premier miler, Tepin, facing the toughest class test of her life.  The King’s Stand also features another Breeders’ Cup winner: local denizen Mongolian Saturday, taking a mad dash down the straight with eighteen of his closest (and classiest) friends.  Though the St. James’s Palace does not feature any stateside imports, it does feature a showdown among several of the up-and-coming turf sophomores in Europe.

Head over to Picks and Ponderings, read my preview of Tuesday’s Group I races at Ascot, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Picks and Ponderings: 2015 Diamond Jubilee Stakes Preview

Royal Ascot draws to a close on Saturday.  The final Group I race of the meeting is the main event for older sprinters: the Diamond Jubilee (GI – ENG).

The race drew a field of fifteen, with a mix of European, American, and Australian runners.  The American raider is Undrafted, a solid fourth in the July Cup (GI – ENG) last year at Newmarket.  Caspar Netscher, a European who shipped to Canada to take the Nearctic (GI – CAN) at Woodbine, also takes a shot here.  The one to beat is one of the Aussies: Brazen Beau, who has racked up a pair of Australian GI wins at the same distance as the Diamond Jubilee, but has never shipped overseas before.

Head on over to Picks and Ponderings, and see where I landed in the Diamond Jubilee!

Picks and Ponderings: more Ascot!

Friday’s card at Royal Ascot features a pair of Group I races for three-year-olds, and Paul Mazur and I look at both of them over at Picks and Ponderings.

I take a look at the Commonwealth Cup, a new race on the Royal Ascot calendar for sophomore turf sprinters.  That race contains a pair of American invaders: Hootenanny and Cyclogenisis.  Hootenanny is not only class-proven, but Royal Ascot-proven; he won the Windsor Castle there last year.  Cyclogenisis tries top-flight company for the first time; he has been sharp in three starts, but has not climbed the class ladder past the listed stakes level.  Paul looks at the Coronation Stakes, a turf mile for three-year-old fillies.  Miss Temple City bears the American standard in that race, coming off a win in the Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico.

Head on over to Picks and Ponderings, and see who we like in the Group I races this Friday at Royal Ascot!

Picks and Ponderings: 2015 Ascot Gold Cup Preview

Over at Picks and Ponderings, Paul Mazur and I are tackling a selection of the Group I races at Royal Ascot.

I make no secret of my love for long horse races, and the Gold Cup is one of the longest on the flat racing calendar: two and a half miles over the grass.  The race even has a local tie: Havana Beat, who finished third behind The Pizza Man in the American St. Leger, will face his toughest company yet.

Head on over to Picks and Ponderings, and see where I landed in tomorrow’s featured race!