Monday 15 July 2019

'Dee' can be the one to topple Stradivarius

Trainer John Gosden
Trainer John Gosden

Thomas Kelly

All eyes will be on staying king Stradivarius as John Gosden's five-year-old bids to join the pantheon of greats as a back-to-back winner of today's Ascot Gold Cup (4.20).

While there's no doubting his class and his love of the stamina-sapping 2m4f trip, this is a strong renewal and the testing going leaves little value at around even money with others worthy of consideration.

Aidan O'Brien saddles three in the shape of 2017 Irish Derby hero Capri, Cypress Creek and last year's Irish St Leger winner Flag Of Honour with the latter likely to fair best.

Joseph O'Brien's Master Of Reality should be outclassed but Willie Mullins' Thomas Hobson is not without an each-way chance having chased home Stradivarius in second here last October in similar ground.

The biggest challenge comes from the home team where Cross Counter has the quality to cause problems, although the extra four furlongs is a bit of an unknown for Charlie Appleby's Dubai Gold Cup winner.

The selection, however, is Dee Ex Bee. Second in last year's Epsom Derby, Mark Johnston's charge is excelling over extreme trips and there may be more to come in the hands of Silvestre De Sousa.

No favourite has prevailed in the last ten years of the Group Two Norfolk Stakes (2.30) so Paddy Twomey's Sunday Sovereign faces a stiff task despite impressing on soft ground at Tipperary.

Joseph O'Brien saddles Air Force Jet - which held off yesterday's winner Southern Hills at Navan - but it may pay to side with American raider Maven with Wesley Ward a master in these big sprint contests.

It's a huge day for rookie Meath trainer Jack Davison with Fresnel in the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes (3.40) where O'Brien's Fleeting looks the class act after her Epsom third.

Irish Independent

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