Ireland has won the last six renewals of the Ascot Gold Cup and Fame And Glory, last year’s hero, will bid to continue that excellent recent record, in gaining himself a Gold Cup double.

His form last season was rock solid and his win in this race was impressive. He was the class horse of the field and that showed. He proved that he stayed the trip and has done supremely well since. Aidan O’Brien’s horse further enhanced his course record when landing the British Champions Long Distance Cup in October. This season, he is unbeaten, although his latest win did come in workmanlike fashion. That was only his prep run, however, and the step back up in trip here will make him very hard to beat.

In fact, the Irish are double handed and John Oxx’s Saddler’s Rock could be a threat. His stamina is a big plus and he won a decent Doncaster Cup last year, blowing Opinion Poll away. Saddler’s Rock was beaten by Fame And Glory last season, but deserves his place in the line up and has been well supported.

Opinion Poll does look the best of the British raiders. Papineau, the last British trained winner of the race back in 2004, was owned by Godolphin and they are responsible for Opinion Poll too. He is a model of consistency and finished second to Fame And Glory last year, beaten three lengths. He narrowed that deficit to just over a length in the Long Distance Cup four starts later however, having won the Goodwood Cup, the Lonsdale Cup and finished runner-up in the Doncaster Cup in between. Any more improvement would see him challenge the Irish raiders. Interestingly, Godolphin are also responsible for recent purchase Colour Vision, who will stay the trip and is ridden by Frankie Dettori. He was close behind Fame And Glory and Opinion Poll in the aforementioned Long Distance Cup and there could be more improvement to come from him too.

Fourth in that race was Nehaam for John Gosden and this six-year-old gelding could be an outsider with a squeak. This may be his optimum trip, although he is likely to struggle against the principles.

Whatever the outcome, a thrilling race is in store. The Gold Cup is at 3.45 tomorrow.

James Muir

Image courtesy of The Telegraph