Sport Horse Racing

Monday 18 December 2017

Fame to face 14 Gold Cup rivals

Richard Forristal

Richard Forristal

Fame And Glory will face 14 rivals as he bids to assume the mantle of his former stablemate Yeats in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot tomorrow.

Aidan O'Brien's five-year-old has won four Group Ones already in a celebrated career, but it has been the plan for some time to step him up to the trip of two and a half miles.

Yeats won the race four times before earning an honourable retirement. Arguably, Fame And Glory has stronger form over middle distances having won an Irish Derby, Tattersalls Gold Cup and Coronation Cup to date.

However, his victory in the Saval Beg Stakes over a mile and three-quarters on his last start remains the longest trip he has tackled so far.

With last year's winner Rite Of Passage missing the race, the betting suggests his sternest test will come from John Gosden's Duncan.

Blue Bajan, second to Duncan in the Yorkshire Cup last month, went on to win the Henry II Stakes at Sandown two weeks later, convincing connections to fork out £25,000 to supplement him for this. He will be fledgling trainer David O'Meara's first Group One runner.

Gold Cup regular Geordieland had his heart broken on more than on occasion by Yeats and returns after over 600 days off the track.

Godolphin have two runners -- Holberg, which will be ridden by Frankie Dettori, and Opinion Poll partnered by Mickael Barzalona.

Kasbah Bliss and Brigantin are the French challengers, while Fictional Account joins Fame And Glory from this side of the Irish Sea. Fame And Glory heads the betting with Coral at 2/1 with Duncan next best at 5/1.

Meanwhile, Quevega will not run in Saturday's French Champion Hurdle at Auteuil after champion trainer Willie Mullins scratched her at yesterday's forfeit stage. The three-time Cheltenham Festival heroine had been due to form part of a four-strong Mullins assault on the three-and-a-quarter-mile contest. Known locally as the Grand Course De Haies D'Auteuil, the Grade One is a race that the Carlow-based handler has won twice before with Nobody Told Me in 2003 and Rule Supreme in 2004.

"I wasn't all that happy with Quevega's last two bits of work, so we decided not to send her," Mullins said.

Ascot Gold Cup -- Coral betting: 2/1 Fame And Glory; 5/1 Duncan; 9/1 Holberg; 10/1 Blue Bajan; 12/1 Kasbah Bliss; 14/1 Brigantin, Manighar; 16/1 Asker Tau, Motrice; 20/1 Fictional Account, Geordieland, Opinion Poll; 22/1 Tastahil; 33/1 The Betchworth Kid; 50/1 Aaim To Prosper.

Irish Independent

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