Royal Ascot: Day three review as Stradivarius won the Gold Cup

Racing
The Queen presents Frankie Dettori with his sixth Ascot Gold Cup
The Queen presents Frankie Dettori with his sixth Ascot Gold Cup

A review of day three at Royal Ascot as Stradivarius won the Gold Cup for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.

Strad shoots to Gold Cup stardom

Frankie Dettori won a fifth Gold Cup and the 60th Royal Ascot race of his glittering career as Stradivarius scored as the 7/4 joint-favourite.

Trained by John Gosden the four-year-old was stepping up to two and a half miles for the first time in his career.

Torcedor led the field into the home straight ahead of Stradivarius, French challenger Vazirabad and 2016 Gold Cup hero Order Of St George, the other 7/4 joint-favourite, and it was Stradivarius who came home best.

Stradivarius was bidding for his second Royal Ascot success, having won the Queen's Vase at last year's meeting.

He was beaten a length into third place by Order Of St George in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot last October, but a winning return in last month's Yorkshire Cup suggested he could be an improved performer this season.

With Order Of St George under a pressure a long way from home on this occasion and eventually finishing fourth, Stradivarius travelled strongly for much of the way and saw out the extra distance well to score by three-quarters of a length.

Vazirabad just beat Torcedor to the runner-up spot by a head.

Dettori told ITV Racing: "That's 60 wins here, six Gold Cups and I'm only 47, in case you forget!

"He was a lion today. He had to see off Order Of St George, Torcedor and then Vazirabad and in the end he took off - it went perfectly.

"I come alive here, I love it. I think the crowd lifted him. The Gold Cup is the showcase of the week and to win it again, my first one for John Gosden, it's great for the team."


Value Bet strikes again

Champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa was at his brilliant best as he steered Ben Linfoot's 16/1 Value Bet selection Ostilio to victory in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Having chased home Tuesday's St James's Palace Stakes hero Without Parole on his penultimate outing before winning at Newmarket, Simon Crisford's charge was among the market principals for this fiercely competitive handicap as a 10/1 shot.

The three-year-old made a smart start over the straight mile and after initially leading down the centre of the track, De Sousa tacked his mount across to grab the stands rail.

It was clear some way from home that his rivals would struggle to close the gap and Ostilio passed the post with a handy advantage.

Curiosity was second ahead of Magnificent and Desert Wind in third and fourth respectively.


Magic back on song in Ribblesdale

Magic Wand dominated her rivals in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Aidan O'Brien's filly had beaten stablemate Forever Together in the Cheshire Oaks in May, but the tables were turned in the Investec Oaks at Epsom three weeks ago as Forever Together claimed Classic glory and Magic Wand finished only fourth.

Back on a sound surface, 100/30 chance Magic Wand proved an entirely different proposition in the hands of Ryan Moore, travelling strongly before powering clear in the home straight for an impressive four-length victory.

Epsom Oaks second Wild Illusion, the 9/4 favourite, had to make do with the runner-up spot once again with Sun Maiden third.

Sky Bet introduced the winner as a 25/1 chance in the antepost market for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.

Horn blows rivals away

Ryan Moore rode his 50th winner at Royal Ascot as Hunting Horn dominated his rivals in the Hampton Court Stakes.

Aidan O'Brien's colt was a 5/1 shot for this Group Three assignment, coming down in class after finishing a respectable sixth in the French Derby on his latest appearance.

Moore settled Hunting Horn in midfield for much of the 10-furlong journey before making his move rounding the home turn and the son of Camelot fairly sprinted up the straight to score by four and a half lengths.

Crossed Baton was best of the rest in second ahead of Zaaki in third.

Moore told ITV Racing: "He ran a really good race in the French Derby and he has progressed with every start this year. The race went smoothly for him. He got there and had a look around, he wasn't doing much in the last furlong. He's a progressive horse but obviously that was a big jump forward from anything he'd done before. Having 51 winners would mean a lot more."

O'Brien said: "We're delighted with him. He had a lovely run at Sandown. He's by Camelot, he travels well and quickens well and we thought a mile and a quarter would suit him.

"Ryan gave him a lovely ride. The lads who look after him at home were very happy with him so I couldn't be happier with him.

"He relaxes well and quickens, his dad was like that. When there's a pace on, he's happy and it was a nice evenly run race.

"He's got a lot of options, he can step up to a mile and a half, you could have a look at an Eclipse, you could go to France or we could give him a little bit of time as well. He's been busy the last couple of weeks. I'm delighted for Ryan (to get his 50th) he gave him a great ride and we're delighted to have him."


Shang beats the boys in Norfolk

Shang Shang Shang clung on grimly to provide Wesley Ward with another Royal Ascot success in the Norfolk Stakes.

The ebullient American trainer had saddled nine previous winners at the showpiece fixture, including No Nay Never in this race five years ago.

Shang Shang Shang was the only filly in a 10-strong field for this five-furlong Group Two, but bounced out of the stalls and was soon leading her male counterparts in the hands of Joel Rosario.

One by one the 5/1 shot saw off her rivals, but she needed the line badly in the final 100 yards and Pocket Dynamo lunged late to almost join her passing the post.

The judge confirmed Shang Shang had recorded a nose victory, with Land Force back in third.

The previously unbeaten 4/1 favourite Vintage Brut was bitterly disappointing.

Shang Shang Shang (yellow silks) wins the Norfolk Stakes
Shang Shang Shang (yellow silks) wins the Norfolk Stakes

Ward said of the winner: "To do this with a filly is quite unbelievable. I come here every year, but we were kinda scratching our heads for a few days and felt like we were back at the beginning and wondering if we were in the wrong place or not.

"We had done all the planning just as before but it wasn't coming through - thank God it did today. Barely!

"I thought she had just done it, but you are never sure and I wanted to wait until the [photo finish] announcement before believing it.

"I felt this filly was better than Chelsea Cloisters on firm ground, but not on soft ground. Unfortunately Chelsea Cloisters just didn't get a breather [during the race] like this filly did. I feel good right now."


Baghdad crowned King for Johnston

Baghdad claimed a narrow victory after a thrilling climax to the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The three-year-old was one of six runners for trainer Mark Johnston in an 18-strong field and was a 9-1 shot under Andrea Atzeni to follow up his victory at York last month.

Baghdad hit the front racing inside the final two furlongs before being strongly pressed by Corgi on the run to the line.

First Eleven then flew home against the far rail to set up a three-way finish, but Johnston's charge clung on by a neck.

Corgi beat First Eleven to second by a nose, with Cross Counter a couple of lengths further back in fourth.

Johnston told ITV Racing: "Turning for home I think we had the first four! We said beforehand that Communique was the favourite and he looked like he was going to be the one to do it, but credit to Baghdad and Andrea, they stuck on dourly.

"I don't believe in it when people say about the 'typical Mark Johnston attitude', but he's a really tough horse and that was great.

"I thought he was more exposed than some of my others, but obviously not."

Atzeni said: "We didn't have a very good draw in 16 and I had to use him to get a good position and I ended up getting a good spot.

"He travelled beautifully and he's very tough.

"I was always holding the horse on my left (Corgi) and then I felt Frankie on my inside, but I thought I'd just held on. It's great to get another winner."

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