The Ascot Gold Cup is a flat turf Group 1 race open to thoroughbreds four years old or older. It is run at a distance of 2 miles, 3 furlongs and 210 yards at the Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England. It is traditionally held on Ladies Day or the third day of the Royal Ascot meeting. This year, that day translates to Thursday, June 20, 2019.

The Royal Ascot meeting is a five-day event that is considered as one of the busiest days of the year for bookmakers. With 30 races, including 17 Group Classes races,  across five days of action, the Royal Ascot offers the best quality in the English flat turf racing season. For the second year in a row, there will be at least one Group Class race in each of the five days of the Royal Ascot meeting.

Among the races, the Ascot Gold Cup is the highlight race as it is considered as the most prestigious race for stayers in England. A total of more than  £4 million in prize money  will be disputed and an estimated  £400 million of bets will be placed on Royal Ascot in 2019.

Last year, Stradivarius bested Vazirabad and Torcedor to win the 2018 Ascot Gold Cup.  This year, the chestnut colt is aiming to become the first horse to win two Gold Cups in a row since Aidan O’Brien’s Yeats won four consecutive times from 2006 to 2009. Stradivarius is the current ante post betting favorite to repeat as Ascot Gold Cup winner. Here are the top odds to win the 2019 Ascot Gold Cup. Odds taken from bet365 as of 5/20/19:

Horse Odds
Stradivarius +175
Cross Counter +500
Kew Gardens +800
Southern France +800
Flag of Honor +800
Dee Ex Bee +1000
Capri +1400
Call The Wind +1400
Thomas Hobson +1400
Magic Circle +1600
Call To The Bar +1600
Cypress Creek +2000
Ispolini +2000
Holdthasigreen +2000
Weekender +2000
Master of Reality +2500
Low Sun +2500
Wicklow Brave +2500
Austrian School +2500
Falcon Eight +2500

“Trophy" Who Are The Favorites?

Stradivarius is the five-year old chestnut colt owned and bred by Bjorn Nielsen and trained by Josh Gosden. This Irish thoroughbred has ran a total of 14 flat turf races and has won nine of them while placing second once and third twice. He is fresh off a victory at the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup Stakes (Group 2) British Champion series last May 17th. Last year, he also won the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, a second Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale Cup, securing a bonus of £1 million for winning all races. He finished 2018 by winning the British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

Cross Counter is a four-year old bay gelding trained by Charlie Appleby and owned by Godolphin Racing stable. Cross Counter has ran in a total of seven flat turf races and has four wins and two second-place finishes. In his last race last March 20, 2019, he won the 2019 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan. Prior to that race, he won the 2018  Reserve Handicap and the 2018 Qatar Gordon Stakes before closing out 2018 with a second place finish a the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes.

Kew Gardens is a four-year old bay colt trained by Aidan O’Brien and owned by Mr. Derrick Smith, John Magnier and Michael Tabor. Kew Gardens developed into a top stayer last year with victories at the 2018 William Hill St. Legers Stakes (Group 1), 2018 Juddmonte Grand Prix of Paris (Group 1) and 2018 Queen’s Vase ( Group 2). In his only race in 2019 so far, Kew Gardens finished second in the Boodles Diamond Osmonds Stakes ( Group 3). He has five wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in a total of 14 flat turf races started.

Southern France is a four-year old bay colt owned by Mr. Derrick Smith, John Magnier and Michael Tabor a trained by Aidan O’Brien. The Irish thoroughbred has won two races, placed second thrice and finished third twice In his most recent start, he finished second to Stradivarius in the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup (Group 2). Southern France also placed third in the 2019 Sequence Events Vintage Crop Stakes.

Flag of Honour is a four-year old bay colt owned by Mr. Derrick Smith, John Magnier and Michael Tabor a trained by Aidan O’Brien. In a total of 11 flat turf races started, he’s won five times and finished second twice. In his most recent start, he finished second to Magical in the 2019 Coolmore Highland Reel Irish EBF Moorsebridge Stakes. Prior to that, he also finished behind Magical in the 2019 Alleged Stakes.

“Trophy" Who Wins?

There has been no back-to-back winner in the Ascot Gold Cup since 2009 so Stradivarius is trying to break a 10-year drought. But remember that his most recent two wins in the Yorkshire Cup and the British Champions Long Distance Cup are both back-to-back wins for him so winning the same race in consecutive years is nothing new for him. On the other hand, Cross Counter is fresh off a victory at the Dubai Gold Cup last March so he’s also in good form heading to the Ascot Gold Cup.

The Ascot Gold Cup is still more than a month away and a lot of things can happen in the upcoming races heading to the Royal Ascot meeting. For now, it’s Stradivarius and Cross Counter who are in good form coming off big victories in the Yorkshire Cup Stakes and Dubai Gold Cup, respectively. As to betting value, I’m intrigued by Ispolini at +2000 because although he finished 4th in Yorkshire Cup Stakes, he was beaten by just one and one-fourth lengths by Cross Counter in the 2019 Dubai Gold Cup.

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