Defending champion Stradivarius set for repeat bid in Gold Cup at Royal Ascot

Andrea Atzeni celebrates as Stradivarius wins the Qatar Goodwood Cup
Andrea Atzeni celebrates as Stradivarius wins the Qatar Goodwood Cup

Defending champion Stradivarius features in 13 high-class confirmations for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

Back in winning action again in last month's Yorkshire Cup, John Gosden's star triumphed by three-quarters of a length last year from French challenger Vazirabad - who is an absentee on this occasion.

Frankie Dettori's mount went on to land the Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers' Million bonus 12 months ago, as he added the Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup to his haul.

That could be the route taken by Melbourne Cup hero Cross Counter, who is set to represent Charlie Appleby. He was last seen winning the Dubai Gold Cup on World Cup night in March.

Mark Johnston's Classic-placed Dee Ex Bee has emerged as a staying force this season and is also eligible for the bonus, having won the Sagaro Stakes and Henry II Stakes.

Aidan O'Brien's St Leger winner Kew Gardens is in line to step up in trip - with the Ballydoyle handler also currently represented by Capri, winner of the 2017 Irish Derby. Cypress Creek, Flag Of Honour and Southern France are others for O'Brien.

Further Irish interest comes in the shape of the Willie Mullins-trained Thomas Hobson, who chased Stradivarius home in the Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day in October, and Joseph O'Brien's Master Of Reality.

Magic Circle is in contention for Ian Williams - while Richard Hannon can call on Sagaro runner-up Raymond Tusk, and there is once again a French flavour with Pia Brandt's Called To The Bar.

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Our team of racing experts have selections for every race on the day two of Royal Ascot 2019, including the Gold Cup.

Can Ben Linfoot's Value Bet find more winners on day three?
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Value Bet: Have Aweedram

Ben Linfoot had a great Wednesday with Value Bet winners at 14/1 and 18/1 and he's got five more big-priced tips for day three at Royal Ascot.

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Oli Bell: Dee day in Gold Cup

Our pundit Oli Bell expects Dee Ex Bee to dethrone Stradivarius in the Gold Cup on Thursday and he has a tip for every race.

Today's Racing Tips
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Thursday's racing preview

Nick Robson makes Stradivarius his best bet for Thursday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Sir Ron Priestley is among Simon Holt's selections
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Simon Holt: Arise Sir Ron

Sir Ron Priestley is among three bets bets for top commentator Simon Holt on Thursday's card at Royal Ascot.

Most Read Racing

Our team's most popular picks for Gold Cup day at Royal Ascot
1

Royal Ascot: Thursday tips

Our team of racing experts have selections for every race on the day two of Royal Ascot 2019, including the Gold Cup.

Can Ben Linfoot's Value Bet find more winners on day three?
2

Value Bet: Have Aweedram

Ben Linfoot had a great Wednesday with Value Bet winners at 14/1 and 18/1 and he's got five more big-priced tips for day three at Royal Ascot.

Don't miss Oli Bell's latest selections
3

Oli Bell: Dee day in Gold Cup

Our pundit Oli Bell expects Dee Ex Bee to dethrone Stradivarius in the Gold Cup on Thursday and he has a tip for every race.

Today's Racing Tips
4

Thursday's racing preview

Nick Robson makes Stradivarius his best bet for Thursday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Sir Ron Priestley is among Simon Holt's selections
5

Simon Holt: Arise Sir Ron

Sir Ron Priestley is among three bets bets for top commentator Simon Holt on Thursday's card at Royal Ascot.

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Racing Tips

Today's Racing Tips

Thursday's racing preview

Nick Robson makes Stradivarius his best bet for Thursday and he has a tip for every race in the UK and Ireland.

Can Ben Linfoot's Value Bet find more winners on day three?

Value Bet: Have Aweedram

Ben Linfoot had a great Wednesday with Value Bet winners at 14/1 and 18/1 and he's got five more big-priced tips for day three at Royal Ascot.

Don't miss Oli Bell's latest selections

Oli Bell: Dee day in Gold Cup

Our pundit Oli Bell expects Dee Ex Bee to dethrone Stradivarius in the Gold Cup on Thursday and he has a tip for every race.