Sky Sports Racing Ambassador Hollie Doyle fears her hopes of winning the Ascot Gold Cup on Trueshan on Thursday will be dashed by the prevailing fast ground, which is almost certain to rule the star stayer out of the race.
Fast ground makes Gold Cup bid unlikely
I’ve been dreaming all year about winning the Ascot Gold Cup (4.20) on Trueshan but the fast ground we’ve been racing on all week is almost certain to rule him out of Thursday’s Group One showpiece.
It’s no secret that Alan King’s Goodwood Cup winner relies upon some give in the ground and understandably won’t be risked unless underfoot conditions take an unexpected turn.
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He is entered in the Queen Alexandra Stakes on Saturday so could possibly run in that instead if the rain clouds gather as he’s match fit and ready for another race.
Trueshan has been in top form on the build-up to Ascot, enjoying a gallop at Nicky Henderson’s Seven Barrows stables, and would be the one they’d all have to beat if the word ‘soft’ featured in the going description.
In his likely absence, I’d dearly love to see his old adversary Stradivarius win a fourth Gold Cup but there’s a new kid on the block in Aidan O’Brien’s Kyprios who has been hugely impressive over a-mile-and-a-quarter this year and will be a threat to all if he stays the longer trip, as I expect he will.
Hoping for a Command performance
Lawful Command deserves to take his chance in the Britannia Stakes (5.00) and in the likely absence of Trueshan looks my best chance of supplementing Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes win on Bradsell.
Brian Meehan’s gelding has won four of his last five starts and hopefully has more to offer off his revised rating of 87 – even in a hot race like this.
I’m happy with my high draw in stall 20 but he’s produced his best form on easy ground so has to prove he can handle these different conditions.
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Sky Sports Racing ambassador Doyle was quick to brush off her latest record achievement after becoming the most successful female rider at Royal Ascot with victory in the Coventry Stakes on Bradsell
Commitment a live outsider
My ride in the Buckingham Palace Stakes (6.10) is a live outsider. Total Commitment arrives at Ascot on the back of a good run and could be well drawn in stall 24.
Simon Hodgson’s gelding has been a reliable handicapper on the All-Weather for a few years now but has proven that he can be effective on turf too with good runs at Ascot, Goodwood and Windsor.
The way he finished off his race to be third over six furlongs at the Thames track last time offers hope that he will come home well over this additional furlong on such a stiff track.
Waiting game for Mr Big Stuff
It’s a waiting game for Richard Spencer’s Mr Big Stuff who is among the reserves for the King George V Stakes (3.05).
I’ve ridden him twice before, finishing a close second on him at Nottingham and then missing out on the placings when we got no luck in running at Newbury.
He’s still a maiden but is lightly raced and promises to enjoy the step up to a-mile-and-a-half if he’s lucky enough to get a run.
Big chance for Tom in Ribblesdale
My husband Tom Marquand has a great chance of achieving Royal Ascot success on his boss William Haggas’ lovely filly Sea Silk Road in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes (3.40).
She is improving at exactly the right time and has a good attitude as she showed when digging deep for Tom to win a Listed race at Goodwood last month.
The quicker ground she is likely to encounter at Ascot could suit her better than the soft conditions that day and she looks ready for this step up to one-mile-and-four-furlongs.
Another horse I’m looking forward to watching is Andrew Balding’s Bakeel, who has been kept under wraps since winning on debut at Ascot in April and looks to have the profile to run well in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes (2.30).
Hollie Doyle was speaking to Sky Sports Racing’s Simon Mapletoft.
Watch every race from Royal Ascot live on Sky Sports Racing (Sky 415 | Virgin 535) from Tuesday 14th June to Saturday 18th June.