Royal Ascot Day 3: Gold Cup Sees Familiar Winner

Since 1807 it’s been the centerpiece of the Royal Ascot meeting, the pinnacle of thoroughbred racing. The 2½-mile Gold Cup is a throwback to a time when stamina, not speed, was prized, and Kyprios and Trawlerman went the distance with grit and style on a warm Thursday afternoon.

Kyprios Edges Trawlerman in Dramatic Gold Cup Finish

The finish was dramatic, the result predictable. The world’s No. 1 trainer-jockey partnership, Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore, ended up in a raucous winner’s enclosure with 3-5 favorite Kyprios.

Moore gave his standard brilliant ride, waiting behind front-runner Trawlerman before swinging wide into the stretch. Kyprios went by him approaching the final furlong but Trawlerman, under William Buick, fought back before going down by a length.

“He’s a beautiful horse, and Ryan was masterful with how he rode him,” said O’Brien, who extended his records with his ninth Gold Cup win and 89th at Royal Ascot. He and Moore have teamed for four this week. It was Moore’s fourth Gold Cup and second on Kyprios, who scored in 2022.

“Aidan knows exactly what is required to win this race and how to get his horses ready,” Moore said.

The father-son team of John and Thady Gosden trains Trawlerman and third-place Sweet William.

“William gave Trawlerman a lovely ride,” John Gosden said. “It was a battle at the end of the Gold Cup, and that’s what you like to see.”

Port Fairy gives O’Brien-Moore earlier win in Ribblesdale

In the previous race, O’Brien and Moore warmed up in the Group 2 Ribblesdale in an unconventional way for them – with a $27.80 winner. Moore sat second along the rail on Port Fairy before overtaking longtime runaway leader You Got To Me. Port Fairy then outdueled 23-1 closer Lava Stream by a neck in the stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

Port Fairy was Moore’s 82nd Royal Ascot winner, breaking a tie with Frankie Dettori.

“It’s incredible for Ryan to have achieved what he has, and at his age (40),” O’Brien said, “given he’s 13 years younger than Frankie.”  

Burke, Doyle strike again in day’s first race

When it comes to training 2-year-old stakes winners, Englishman Karl Burke is right up there with America’s Wesley Ward. Burke and James Doyle scored for the second consecutive day in the opener, taking the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes with 11-1 shot Shareholder. They took Tuesday’s Queen Mary with 23-1 Leovanni.

Shareholder (10) ridden by James Doyle wins the Norfolk Stakes (Group 2) on Day Three of the Royal Ascot Race Meeting at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, United Kingdom on June 20, 2024. Shamela Hanley/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

The Kentucky-bred daughter of Not This Time improved to 2-for-2 for Wathnan Racing, which also owns Leovanni.  Shareholder took control approaching the furlong pole and defeated Tropical Storm (10-1) by a length. Odds-on Whistlejacket, considered O’Brien’s top-rated juvenile of the meeting, was fourth after rallying too late.

Frustration continued for Ward and rider Joel Rosario, who ran 10th on longshot Saturday Flirt. They were far back twice Wednesday with Ultima Grace (20th in the Queen Mary) and Honorary American (24th in the Windsor Castle). Ward has 12 Royal Ascot wins but none since 2021. The duo has one last chance with Burning Pine in Friday’s Group 2 Albany Stakes.

Before the race, Ward spoke of his Royal Ascot years to FanDuel TV’s Jess Stafford. Besides the victories, his highlight was sitting with Queen Elizabeth II and watching a race from the royal box in 2019.

“I’ve been so successful here, and it’s changed my life and my children’s lives, too,” Ward said. “We know so many people we never would have met otherwise.”

Around the track

Trainer Brian Meehan got his second stakes win of the week when Jayarebe ($20.60) and Sean Levey held off favored King’s Gambit in the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes … Rossa Ryan and 11-1 shot Going The Distance surged in deep stretch to edge 53-1 Neski Sherelski by half a length in the 1½-mile King George Handicap. The $1 exacta paid $582.80. It was trainer Raf Beckett’s second Ascot win this week and fifth in the past two years … Mickley ($21.40), ridden by Callum Rodriguez, took the mile Brittania Handicap by three-quarters of a length over 22-1 shot Skukuza … As he did in the day’s first race, James Doyle rode the winner for Wathnan Racing in the finale. English Oak, the 5-2 favorite, rallied in the 7-furlong Buckingham Palace Stakes.

Posted on