Ascot Gold Cup Guide

1. Called To The Bar

T - Mme Pia Brandt

J - Maxime Guyon

French player, taking his career profile to a new level when landing a Group Two at Longchamp over just shy of two-miles.

Been busy this term with three appearances, the first of which was a good win over Holdthasigreen in a Listed affair at Chantilly and seems to show his best in the latter stages.

All that and more will be required in this top contest over two-and-a-half.

2. Capri

T - Aidan O'Brien

J - Donnacha O'Brien

Won the 2017 St Leger from Crystal Ocean and Stradivarius, but also Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling and top mare Coronet.

Sadly since then, he just has not been good enough - but has been unfortunate with plenty of injuries.

Two attempts this term, and yet to place in either of those. Plenty to do to unlock the talent that is buried away somewhere.

3. Magic Circle

T - Ian Williams

J - Jim Crowley

Chester Cup winner of last season, but the plan did not come to fruition in the Melbourne Cup won by Cross Counter.

Lightly raced in past couple of years, and returned to finish third in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester in May.

Likely to stay, but more needed to be amongst the best here.

4. Stradivarius

T - John Gosden

J - Frankie Dettori

Millionaire winner, Stradivarius looks to become the first horse to win this contest back-to-back since the great Yeats did over ten years ago.

Quality winner of this twelve months ago, he seems to relish the further the distance and is very versatile in terms of ground.

Convincing win on return, and should be very hard to beat.

5. Thomas Hobson

T - Willie Mullins

J - Andrea Atzeni

Not the best return in Germany in a Group Two, when failing to justify very short odds, but could give Stradivarius another fright.

Will be better now back in the UK, where he finished second to the John Gosden five-year-old on Champions Day in the Long Distance Cup and was denied any room to challenge.

Not to be completely forgotten about just yet.

6. Cross Counter

T - Charlie Appleby

J - James Doyle

Top class four-year-old, who took his career to new heights when winning the Dubai World Cup in Meydan on seasonal reappearance.

Ended a good campaign last season with a victory down under in the Melbourne Cup - the first ever for Godolphin, and has got better the further in distance he goes.

Fourth here in the King George V Stakes last season, but is a much better horse now.

Major danger.

7. Cypress Creek

T - Aidan O'Brien

J - Seamie Heffernan

Last of nine in the Coronation Cup at Epsom, but will suit going back up to this marathon distance.

Better form was early last season, and has a squeak at big odds on his wins over two miles in Group Three company.

Should see a better account today, but this still looks overly tough.

8. De Ex Bee

T - Mark Johnston

J - Silvestre De Sousa

Not the best on paper, but cannot argue with his two wins at Ascot and Sandown this season over two mile distances.

Fourth in the St Leger last year and second in the Derby does make for good reading, but hard to know how he will fare over an extra half-mile.

Others may be better put together, but trainer; currently bullish over chances, is looking for Royal Ascot winner number 44.

9. Flag Of Honour

T - Aidan O'Brien

J - Ryan Moore

Faded out of contention in the Long Distance Cup here back in October, and a shame given his progress last season which led him to Irish St Leger glory.

Hat-trick of seconds this season in small fields, and found Magical too good in all three occasions.

Strong form however, and being the selection of Ryan Moore he cannot be overlooked just yet.

10. Master Of Reality

T - Joseph O'Brien

J - Wayne Lordan

Fair fourth at Leopardstown last time out in Listed company, but needs to produce something special here to be in contention.

Won smartly on return at Navan in an even higher grade, but pounced on the low fitness of others.

Son of Frankel, incredible he is even racing over this distance.

11. Raymond Tusk

T - Richard Hannon

J - Jamie Spencer

Good second here on British reappearance in the Sagaro Stakes, but that may not be enough to figure in this.

Third to Crystal Ocean in the Al Rayyan at Newbury in a Group Three - surely that suggests

When The Fun Stops. Stop.