Horse racing betting: George set to continue Ballydoyle’s love affair with the Ascot Gold Cup

Bill Esdaile
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Order Of St George romped away with last year’s Irish St Leger (Source: Getty)

There are so many fantastic races during the five days of Royal Ascot that it’s hard to pick out a highlight.

However, the one that gets the public most excited is Thursday’s Ascot Gold Cup (4.20pm), which has been specially named the Gold Cup In Honour Of The Queen’s 90th Birthday this year.

No-one will ever forget the scenes around the winners’ enclosure as Her Majesty greeted her 2013 winner Estimate, the only time she has ever won this famous Group One contest.

However, if there is one name that is inextricably linked with the 2m4f prize it has to be Yeats.

The son of Sadler’s Wells gave Aidan O’Brien his first Gold Cup in 2006 and by 2009 he had landed an historic fourth straight win.

Since then, Ballydoyle have taken it twice more with Fame And Glory and Leading Light, and I firmly expect them to make it seven with ORDER OF ST GEORGE.

Although unproven over this marathon trip, you will never see a more impressive winner of a Group One race than when this son of Galileo romped away with last year’s Irish St Leger.

He had decent horses toiling in his wake, and plenty of punters would have fancied him for either the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or Melbourne Cup if he had been directed there.

O’Brien decided to pull up stumps and, despite an interrupted preparation ahead of his reappearance, Order Of St George sauntered to a comfortable success in last month’s Saval Beg.

There are almost always stamina concerns before any horse tries the Ascot Gold Cup, because there are so few races run over this distance.

However, my selection has so much class that he should really be too good for this field. Take the even money with Betway.

Willie Mullins has had plenty of success at Royal Ascot in recent years, but the ultimate prize still evades him. In fact, it was he who so nearly ruined the party in 2013 when Simenon got within a neck of Estimate.

His entry this year is Max Dynamite, who almost won the Melbourne Cup last November under Frankie Dettori.

The six-year-old is a progressive stayer, but he was disappointing on his reappearance at Sandown and I’m happy to leave him alone.

The ground has come right for both Flying Officer and Clever Cookie.

The former won the Long Distance Cup on QIPCO British Champions Day in October, while the latter took last month’s Betway Yorkshire Cup.

They are both respected, but just don’t look to be in the same class as the favourite.

Pallasator won well last time, beating Max Dynamite, and he won’t mind the ground.

But I’d still be worried about how he’ll handle the preliminaries, though, as he can get very worked up.

Not quite as much money will be wagered on the colour of the Queen’s hat on Ladies’ Day as on the Gold Cup, but it’s still always a topic of hot debate.

According to data, blue is the most popular colour worn by the Queen during the Royal meeting, but green and purple share the award for most worn on Ladies’ Day.


Order Of St George, 4.20pm, Royal Ascot

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