Last year’s Gold Cup saw Colour Vision get the better of Godolphin counterpart Opinion Poll in what has subsequently proved to be Frankie Dettori’s last Group 1 success to date for Godolphin. Colour Vision is back again this year as is 2010 winner Rite Of Passage; here we take a look at their credentials alongside the rest of the main contenders and provide some free betting tips for the feature race of the Royal meeting.
Rite Of Passage is towards the head of the market for the race and although he can de tricky to train he deserves his place at the head of the market. He defied a 510 day absence to win the Group 3 Long Distance Cup on British Champions Day at Ascot at the end of last season and this race has been the aim ever since. A past winner of the race, his class and stamina is in little doubt and much depends on his well-being. He was an intended runner in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown which was to be used as a stepping stone to this but he did not run in the race due to the fast ground; market rival Saddler’s Rock also skipped that race for the same reason. A lack of a recent run is of no concern for Rite Of Passage and if he gets to Ascot on top form he must have a strong chance of winning the race for a second time.
Last year’s winner Colour Vision will no doubt have been aimed at this race ever since his success 12 months ago and whilst it is perhaps foolish to take his reappearance effort on face value, it was undeniably a very laboured effort. He is likely to improve for that outing but he has ran well fresh in the past before and it takes a leap of faith to be confident about his chances, especially given the way he finished last season. On the back of two very poor runs he is not a betting proposition but if he sparked back into life you could not rule him out completely.
SADDLER’S ROCK was a close up third in last year’s renewal and unfortunately for him running well without winning has become a bit of a common trait for him. He won the Group 2 Goodwood Cup in August last year but since then has not looked like winning again, albeit he has run well in good races. He stayed on well enough over this trip of 2m4f in the Prix Du Cadran in France when finishing 4th but his finishing effort was not enough to put him in contention. He ought to run a solid race and does not have much to find on last year’s running and he looks a solid each-way chance on this good ground.
Estimate is a progressive stayer who was a convincing winner of the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes at Ascot on her last start; she also won the Group 3 Queens Vase last season and is two from two at the track. This requires a further step forward but stamina looks to be her forte and her unexposed profile makes her an interesting contender. She has been well supported and probably does not offer any value anymore but she would be a popular winner for the Queen.
A similarly unexposed and seemingly improving horse is MODEL PUPIL, who without making many headlines has been gradually brought along by trainer Charlie Hills. He went close to winning the Chester Vase as a 3 year old and in three starts this season has twice ran respectably in Group 3 company. He gives the impression of being very one paced and it could be that this extreme test of stamina could suit him well. He has plenty to find on official ratings but should carry on improving, and his relentless galloping style could see him run on well late in the race. He is smartly bred, related to plenty of pattern race winners; he is from the same family as the high class filly Midday amongst others. Unexposed and in an open race he could be chanced to sneak a place.
SADLER’S ROCK @ 9/1 with William Hill
MODEL PUPIL @ 40/1 with Bet Victor
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