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Royal Ascot : Light shines bright in Gold Cup

Leading Light 615 X 400 StL
Photo: Yuji Noda

Aidan O'Brien claimed his sixth Ascot Gold Cup as Leading Light dug deep to the very bottom of his reserves to repel the determined challenge of The Queen's Estimate.

A renewal which provide a visual delight, just like last year, the finish of the Ascot Gold Cup was exceptional with Leading Light and Estimate battling tooth and nail for victory on the grandest stage, with the magical story associated with Missunited sticking in gamely to herself challenge under an enterprising ride by jockey Jim Crowley.

In the shadows of the post Leading Light dug deep, answering every call from Joseph O'Brien to gain that incredible sixth success for O'Brien Senior, and a first win in the race for O'Brien Junior.

"It's a brilliant feeling to win this race - unbelievable," said Joseph O'Brien, who's father's string have finally hit their best stride today after a disappointing week so far. "Ryan [Moore] was looking for a bit of room, but I was entitled to keep the room I had. When I got to the front my horse had a little look and he just wandered a little bit left, probably because he was getting tired, but he's as tough as nails."

The Queen was reported to have been delighted with the run of Estimate, who has been off the track since October of last year. Trainer Sir Michael Stoute said before the race that any placed result would be incredible, so to see his mare challenge in this manner will not only be pleasing but also be testament to the training abilities of Stoute to get this mare to this superb level of fitness off of just work at home.

Missunited, a winner of the Galway Hurdle and a star under both codes, laughed in the face of her odds of 40-1 with a third placed finish.

Earlier in the day, Frankie Dettori and his flying dismount were again in the winner's circle as Baitha Alga sauntered to victory in the Norfolk StakesRichard Hannon was delighted with the result, pinpointing the GI Prix Morny as a possible next stop for the Al Shaqab owned two year old.

Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore may not have claimed victory in the day's feature race, but they did claim victory earlier in the card with Cannock Chase, who the trainer believes will be a Group I contender in time. 

Cannock Chase was winning the GIII Tercentenary Stakes ahead of Mutakayyef and Postponed.

The Ribblesdale Stakes created some magical memories last season as Lady Jane Cecil's Riposte powered to victory just days after the passing of Sir Henry, but it was Aidan O'Brien who claimed another victory in this this year as one-time Oaks favourite Bracelet rewarded her connections confidence, and performed in the manner of one who can contest the very best twelve furlong fillies contests this year.

Born In Bombay and Elite Army were the final two winners on the undercard.
 
 

Friday's feature is the Coronation Stakes, in which Kenny McPeek bids to dethrone the European stranglehold on the race with Rosalind in what is an open renewal.

Lightning Thunder, second in two 1,000 Guineas, receives a new jockey booking in the form of Olivier Peslier, but she has been usurped for favouritism by John Oxx's daughter of Sea The Stars, My Titania.

Wesley Ward will be looking for further riches in the Albany Stakes, as Sunset Glow bids for victory less than two weeks after breaking her maiden at Belmont Park ahead of Crown The Kitten. She figures to be heavily fancied for the race and looks to be one of Ward's better chances of the week.

Super sire Kitten's Joy is represented in the two mile Queen's Vase by the favourite, Marzocco, who runs for John Gosden and William Buick. 



Across The Pond's Three to Follow for Friday
SUNSET GLOW (Race 1 : Albany Stakes)
Wesley Ward's strike rate over distance further than five furlongs at Royal Ascot hasn't been good so far, but Sunset Glow has been cherry picked from her recent victory and looks to be his best chance in a weak looking Albany Stakes.

Sunset Glow, as most will know, was impressive when winning at Belmont over ten days ago, and she will have been the latest addition to Ward's raiding party, so much so that they would've been rushing the paperwork in desperation to let her line up at Royal Ascot.


EURO CHARLINE (Race 4 : Coronation Stakes)
For all that Euro Charline came up short in the English 1,000 Guineas, I can't help but think she can improve on that effort here.

Andrea Atzeni has been rebooked in favour of Adam Kirby, and Atzeni was aboard when the Team Valor owned filly was a close up second in the GIII Nell Gwyn Stakes earlier in the year. Kirby is by no means a bad rider - far from it - but the association Atzeni has with this filly may see her back to her very best in this one turn mile.

MARZOCCO (Race 5 : Queen's Vase)
A two mile race with a Kitten's Joy in it, what's not to like?

John Gosden went close to winning this race last year and his Marzocco could continue a great week for the Newmarket handler, coming into the race off the back of a narrow defeat at Goodwood. The colt will undoubtably come on for that run and this extended distance looks as though it'll play to his strengths. 

 

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Older Comments about Royal Ascot : Light shines bright in Gold Cup...

I've gotta say, I am enjoying Ascot. Typically I prefer US and dirt but these races on the turf have been tremendous.

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