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3 Royal Ascot 2018 clashes to savour
Royal Ascot 2018 is Britain’s premier annual Flat horse racing festival and the 2018 edition is set to see some spectacular animals compete in the sport of kings in front of royalty.
That means there’s money to be made betting on Royal Ascot, but what are the key clashes those inside racing are looking forward to most. We take a look at three.
Battaash v Lady Aurelia (King’s Stand Stakes)
One of the most exciting things about Royal Ascot is that it attracts entries from all over the world. We’re set to see an intriguing sprint match-up between the best of British in Battaash versus American wonder-filly Lady Aurelia in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over the flying five furlongs.
Charlie Hills’ Battaash has won five of his last six starts, including the Prix de l’Abbaye over in France at the Arc de Triomphe meeting back in October. He’ll have to give 3lb to fellow four-year-old Lady Aurelia in the King’s Stand, however, who comes across the Atlantic again to defend the sprint crown she won 12 months ago for trainer Wesley Ward.
Lady Aurelia is already a dual Royal Ascot winner, having landed the Queen Mary Stakes as a juvenile, so there’s bound to be some confidence for her to land the hat-trick here. She’s rivalling Battaash for favouritism in the King’s Stand.
Racing at Royal Ascot doesn’t get more prestigious than the 2m 4f Gold Cup. The best stayers on the flat from around the world target this premier contest. Although last year’s winner Big Orange is out injured, 2016 victor Order Of St George bids to regain his crown.
Aidan O'Brien walks the course
The main opposition to champion Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien and his six-year-old in the Gold Cup this time, according to the market, is John Gosden’s young pretender Stradivarius.
Untested over further than two miles, the four-year-old must demonstrate his stamina after being a disappointing third in the St Leger at Doncaster in his Classic season.
Although he’s the older horse, Order Of St George heads the Gold Cup betting from Stradivarius based on their British Champions Long Distance Cup encounter over 2m last October at Ascot. Gosden’s charge has a length to find to reverse that form but has age on his side.
Harry Angel v Merchant Navy v Redkirk Warrior (Diamond Jubilee Stakes)
From long distance back to sprints and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes over 6f which this year has three main contenders. Clive Cox’s Godolphin owned four-year-old Harry Angel is set to battle recent O’Brien recruit Merchant Navy and the Down Under trained veteran Redkirk Warrior.
Ex-Australian horse Merchant Navy has the most scope for improvement as he’s still a three-year-old, yet Harry Angel heads the ante post betting because of his Group 1 successes in the July Cup at Newmarket and Haydock Sprint Cup last summer.
Redkirk Warrior is also a multiple winner at the highest level, yet is surely vulnerable to younger horses like Merchant Navy and the Diamond Jubilee favourite.