Roy the Boy looks ahead to the Ascot Gold Cup in June and he is confident that Order of St George can repeat his 2016 success in the Thursday spectacular.
St George by Royal Order
Remarkably Royal Ascot dates back to 1711 when it was founded by Queen Anne. Over 300 years later, over the course of the five-day festival which will run between June 20 and June 24 in 2017, over 300,000 people will attend the meeting. In total Royal Ascot will offer 16 Group races during the five-day feast with at least one Group 1 race staged each day.
Alas most won’t have a clue about the spectacle before them and even less the first idea about betting. Many will plough into nice names, even more simply back favourites blind, especially in the Ascot Gold Cup, billed as the showpiece event of Royal Ascot.
It’s not a bad policy as it happens with 8 of the last 12 winners having started as favourite and Irish-trained runners having also won 8 of the last 12 Gold Cups.
Year Form Winner Age SP
2016 111-1 Order of St George 4 10/11F
2015 1112 Trip To Paris 4 12/1
2014 110-1 Leading Light 4 10/11F
2013 133-1 Estimate 4 7/2F
2012 133-1 Colour Vision 4 6/1
2011 15-11 Fame And Glory 5 11/8F
2010 11- Rite Of Passage 6 20/1
2009 151-6 Yeats 8 6/4F
2008 113-1 Yeats 7 11/8F
2007 27-11 Yeats 6 8/13F
2006 1946- Yeats 5 7/1
2005 11-11 Westerner 6 7/4F
With a simple email back from Luca Cumani’s yard confirming last year’s runner-up, Mizzou, has been retired to stud (remarkably some firms are still quoting him at 11/1) last year’s winner, Order Of St George, looks to have an even easier task in this year’s renewal.
This is, after all, a race where repeat winners are commonplace. Drum Taps (1992/93), Kayf Tara (1998/2000), Royal Rebel (2001/02), Yeats (2006/07/08/09) all won the race more than once in recent times.
Order Of St George, who also won the 2015 Irish St Leger, may have been beaten in a prep-race at Navan but he was giving his conqueror 5lb and will surely be far better with the run under his belt. Let us not forget the Gold Cup is 2m 4f and defeat over 1m 6f should not be considered a catastrophe. That said this O’Brien-trained son of Galileo showed class in abundance when finishing third in last season’s L’Arc de Triomphe.
The 2m 4f trip is key, as is a fresh horse come race day, and that puts the current Gold Cup second favourite under the microscope. The French-trained Vazirabad has only raced beyond two-miles once and that resulted in a defeat by Quest For More (available at 16/1 for this year’s Ascot Gold Cup) at Chantilly in October. Since that autumn race the Aga Khan’s 5-year-old has raced three times, most notably in Meydan in February and March.
That’s enough question marks to make the defending champion a far better bet at the 2/1 that is currently available and it would be surprising if that price has not collapsed by early June.
Order Of St George Ascot Gold Cup at 2/1 with Betfred and Skybet