2023 Royal Ascot: Review of Gold Cup Day and Day Four Preview

Gold Cup day was enthralling and now we look ahead to the penultimate day of Royal Ascot.

The much anticipated Gold Cup Day at Royal Ascot has been and gone and what a day of racing it was. The action was enthralling and the day’s racing produced many memorable moments for those taking in the action at the racecourse and around the world.

Some memorable moments from Thursday includes Frankie Dettori’s win in what was his final ever Gold Cup race, whilst Ryan Moore was able to win for the 77th time at Royal Ascot when he rode Warm Heart to victory in the Ribblesdale Stakes. Valiant Force was also the shock winner of the Norfolk Stakes which was also a second win at Royal Ascot this week for Rossa Ryan.

Now, let’s reflect on all 7 of the races to have taken place on Gold Cup day from the Norfolk Stakes to the Buckingham Palace Stakes Handicap which finished the action for the day.

Norfolk Stakes – Winner: Valiant Force

There was a surprise winner in the Norfolk Stakes to open proceedings on the third day of racing. Valiant Force, who managed to fend off all competition and equalled the biggest starting price in a royal meeting as well as being the biggest price returned in a British or Irish group race.

Valiant Force managed to surge into the lead from the far side leaving race favourite Elite Status behind who had to eventually settle for third place. The other two spots in the top four were filled by Malc (2nd) and His Majesty (4th).

King George V Stakes – Winner: Desert Hero

In the second race of the day, the King George V Stakes were won by Desert Hero which provided the King and the Queen with a first winner at Royal Ascot with the horse having been bred by her late majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Jockey Tom Marquand made steady progress through the field and once he had joined the leaders at the front of the pack, he guided Desert Hero into the lead by a nose where he managed to hold off all challenge of Oisin Murphy and Valiant King, who had to settle for a second place finish in the King George V Stakes.

Ribblesdale Stakes – Winner: Warm Heart

Ryan Moore is one of horse racing’s most talented jockeys and he proved it once again in the Ribblesdale Stakes on Thursday. Moore rode Warm Heart to victory ahead of the likes of Lumiere Rock (2nd), Bluestocking (3rd) and Crown Princesse (4th) who filled the final three spots in the top four at the end of the race.

This was Moore’s 77th win at Royal Ascot and it is likely to not be his last, with it also being yet another win for trainer Aidan O’Brien. It was a very competitive race, with Warm Heart finally taking the lead with two furlongs remaining and eventually secured victory with a lead of two and a half lengths on Lumiere Rock.

Ascot Gold Cup – Winner: Courage Mon Ami

The prestigious and much anticipated Ascot Gold Cup most certainly did not disappoint and it saw Frankie Dettori, riding Courage Mon Ami, secured his first win in what will be his final ever Royal Ascot before he retires. Coltrane, Subjectivist and Emily Dickinson filled the remaining three spots in the top four. Pre-race favourite Yibir had to settle for a 6th place finish in the end.

At the beginning of the race, Subjectivist looked in a strong position with a considerable lead on the chasing pack. Dettori and Courage Mon Ami stayed off the pace for a while with Coltrane going on to take the lead. To the relief of Dettori, he managed to guide Courage Mon Ami to a three quarter length victory in the end leaving Coltrane and Subjectivist in second and third respectively.

Britannia Stakes – Winner: Docklands

The Britannia Stakes was the third to last race of the day on Gold Cup day with Hayley Turner, riding Dockland claimed victory in the race ahead of the likes of New Endeavour (2nd), Urban Sprawl (3rd) and Thunderball (4th) who also finished in the top four at the end of the race.

It was an action packed and enthralling race for all of those watching and it was a superb performance from Hayley Turner, who was able to lead Docklands on a charge for victory in the dying embers of the race, charging past New Endeavour to secure a stunning victory.

Hampton Court Stakes – Winner: Waipiro

The penultimate race of the Gold Cup Day was the Hampton Court Stakes which was won by Waipiro, which saw jockey Tom Marquand secure yet another victory at this year’s Royal Ascot. Waipiro and Marquand lived up to expectations as they were seen as favourites to win ahead of the start of this race.

Following a tight race where there was no clear winner for some time, Waipiro eventually managed to pull away to win the race by a margin of 2 and a quarter lengths ahead of Exoplanet who had to settle for a 2nd place finish in the end. As for the two remaining spots in the top four, these positions were to be filled by Bold Act (3rd) and Torito (4th).

Buckingham Palace Stakes – Winner: Witch Hunter

Witch Hunter was the final race winner of this year’s Gold Cup Day, winning the Buckingham Palace Stakes Handicap. This was a fantastic day and result for jockey Jamie Spencer, who was able to record his first win in the royal meeting since winning the Sandringham Stakes with Agrotera in 2018. This was Spencer’s 27th win at a Royal Ascot meeting.

Witch Hunter was most certainly not the favourite to emerge victorious before the race, but after a period of patience, Jamie Spencer was able to guide his horse to a victory with a margin of three quarters of a length ahead of Croupier who had to settle for second place in the end. Northern Express (3rd) and Spangled Mac (4th) who were in the final two spots in the top four spots by the end of the race.

Pre-race favourite (according to Paddy Power), Totally Charming only finished 20th in the final standings in this race.

As mentioned earlier on, day three, better known as Gold Cup Day, was full of action and surprises from Frankie Dettori’s Gold Cup win to Witch Hunter’s surprise win in the Buckingham Palace Stakes. Now we turn our attention to the enthralling action to come in the seven races that are set to take place on Friday.

Albany Stakes – 14:30

The opening race of day four at Royal Ascot this year is the Albany Stakes. Back in 2022, it was Ryan Moore riding Meditate who won the most recent Albany Stakes, finishing just ahead of Mawj (2nd), Ivory Madonna (3rd) and Queen Olly (4th).

According to Paddy Power, the pre-race favourite for the Albany Stakes is Persian Dreamer, who is to be ridden by jockey Kevin Stott. Persian Dreamer has been in some good form of late – a win at Newmarket in the bet365 British EBF Maiden Fillies’ Stakes was followed by a 4th place finish in the Clipper EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes at York late last month (May 2023).

Commonwealth Cup – 15:05

The latest renewal of the Commonwealth Cup will follow the Albany Stakes. Last year, in 2022, it was Perfect Power who emerged victorious, with Flaming Rib, Flotus and Cadamosto finishing in the remaining three spots in the top four.

The favourite for this year’s Commonwealth Cup is currently Little Big Bear – trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden by Ryan Moore. Form has been solid for Little Big Bear in recent times, as despite a disappointing finish in the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket, there have been two wins either side of that. Before the Guineas, Little Big Bear won the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at Curragh in August 2022 before another victory came in the most recent race in late May 2023 when a win was secured in the Betfred Nifty Fifty Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock.

Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) – 15:40

The Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes (Handicap) is set to be the third race of the day at Ascot. Candleford won the most recent edition of this race back in 2022, winning the race ahead of the likes of Ajero, Contact and Brilliant Light.

As for the 2023 edition of this race, the favourite according to Paddy Power is Aimeric who is to be ridden by jockey James Doyle. Doyle and Aimeric have been in good form in recent times, with two wins in the last three races. The most recent victory came in the most recent race, which was the Blue Line Taxis Barnsley Supporting WPCC Handicap at the Doncaster Racecourse.

Coronation Stakes – 16:20

The Coronation Stakes will be the next race of the day. In 2022, this race was won by Frankie Dettori and Inspiral – finishing ahead of Spendarella (2nd), Discoveries (3rd) and Tenebrism (4th) who finished in the top four with Inspiral.

Ahead of the latest Coronation Stakes, Remarquee is the current favourite to emerge victorious from this race, and for good reason. Whilst Remarquee did not win the most recent race, wins did come in the two before that, which were the Dubai Duty Free Stakes and the Radcliffe & Co British EBF Novice Stakes in September 2022.

Sandringham Stakes – 17:00

In the third to last race of the day, Eximious will be the favourite to win the Sandringham Stakes. Rewind to 2022 and it was Heredia who won the race ahead of Zanbaq and Crenelle, who had to settle for second and third place respectively.

As mentioned, Eximious is favourite for this year’s Sandringham Stakes with Jockey Ray Dawson looking to secure the victory. The most recent win for Eximious was in the Bob McCreery Memorial British EBF Quidhampton Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Salisbury in September 2022. Despite not winning the most recent race, Eximious has been showing some promise.

King Edward VII Stakes – 17:35

The King Edward VII Stakes will be the penultimate race of day four at Royal Ascot. Changingoftheguard, ridden by Ryan Moore, won the most recent edition of this race in 2022, beating the likes of Grand Alliance (2nd), Lysander (3rd) and Ottoman Fleet (4th) to the victory on this occasion.

This year, King of Steel is the favourite to take home the win according to Paddy Power, and there is good reason for this. Kevin Stott rode King Of Steel to a 2nd place finish at Epsom in the most recent race. The most recent race victory for King Of Steel was back in October 2022 in the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden Stakes at Nottingham.

Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes – 18:10

Action on the fourth and penultimate day of Royal Ascot in 2023 will of course be the Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes. In 2022, it was Latin Lover who won the most recent edition of this race with jockey Hayley Turner leading Latin Lover to a victory ahead of Nymphadora and Peggy Sioux who were in 2nd and 3rd respectively come the conclusion of the race.

According to Paddy Power, Prince Of Pillo is seen as the favourite to win the Palace Of Holyroodhouse Stakes in 2023. The most recent victory came in the British EBF Stallions Harry Rosebery Stakes at Ayr on 16th September 2022. This race sees Prince Of Pillo drop back down into his own age division.

We are looking forward to the final two days of world class horse racing at Royal Ascot this week, but excitement is already building for Royal Ascot in 2024! There is no better way to experience all of the action than with an Eventmasters VIP Hospitality Package.

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