The third day of Royal Ascot is colloquially known as Ladies’ Day but will always be Gold Cup day among racing purists, in celebration of one of the world’s oldest and longest G1 contests.
Papineau was a memorable winner for Godolphin and his sire Singspiel back in 2004, while Kayf Tara won it not once, but twice – taking home the trophy in 1998 and 2000.
Cross Counter (pictured) may have visited the winner’s enclosure only once since his famous victory in Australia (the G2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March last season), but has run with great credit in the Europe’s top staying contests including fourth in this race last year, third in the G1 Goodwood Cup, fourth in the G1 Irish St Leger, and a very close eighth (beaten less than two lengths) when going for a repeat win in the Melbourne Cup.
Moonlight Spirit is an up-and-coming stayer who could have a very bright future ahead of him. A fellow Godolphin galloper, he is a lightly raced four-year-old that has progressed from handicaps into Group company with ease, winning the G3 Prix de Lutece last September by four-and-a-half lengths.
The first Black Type race on the card is the Listed Wolferton Stakes, and Dubawi is represented by his well-bred son Prince Eiji. A 2.6 million-guinea yearling, he won on debut as a two-year-old in 2018. In a lightly raced career, he has since raced exclusively in Stakes company.
Australian Darley sire Lonhro sees his consistent son Mountain Hunter take his place, while Cockolorum (Cape Cross) completes the Darley-sired lineup.
The Cheveley Park-bred colt won at York’s Ebor meeting last year before taking the Listed Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster, where he beat subsequent 2,000 Guineas second Wichita.
Night Of Thunder has no fewer than seven runners on Thursday, with Acquitted and Global Storm in the Golden Gates Handicap, Path Of Thunder and Sun Power in the Britannia, and Dubai Love and Night Colours in the Sandringham also bidding to provide their leading young sire with yet more success.
There is two-year-old action in the Listed Chesham Stakes and New Approach, who sired an unprecedented three Stakes-winning juveniles at the Royal meeting in 2012, is represented by Clarendon Cross.
Golden Horn, who is enjoying a purple patch of late with six winners and four Stakes performers since the start of June, has Golden Flame aiming to add a first win to his record, having finished a close second to Devious Company (by the late Fast Company) last time out.
Modern News (Shamardal) also lines up, having won a Newmarket maiden on his previous start. Should he win, this would also provide New Approach with a notable result as he is the sire of Modern News’s dam Modern Ideals.