O’Brien colt can go distance in bid for Glory
UNFORTUNATELY there is little doubt that the absence of last year’s winner Rite Of Passage from tomorrow's Ascot Gold Cup is a major loss to the race and while another Irish winner looks likely, the question is whether FAME AND GLORY will stay or not.
Personally, this scriber thinks Fame And Glory will stay the trip well enough to win tomorrow's Gold Cup and at the moment that's all that matters.
For what it's worth, and now that's very little, I think Rite Of Passage would have been one of the bets of the week in this race but, spilt milk and all that, he's not here and we play with the hand we're dealt.
Look back on Yeats, the horse that made this race his own, and you will see that he had four runs at a mile and a half or further before taking on the mammoth 2m4f of the Gold Cup. He was beat on all bar one of them.
Fame And Glory was hardly spectacular last time over a mile and six furlongs at Leopardstown, but he won, as he did over a mile and five before that, and like Yeats he won the Coronation Cup the season before his first Gold Cup appearance.
Fame And Glory certainly has a lot more miles on the clock than Yeats did going into Ascot for the first time and possibly even the second, but he also has a lot of class and none of the horses in the field tomorrow would have ever got within a length and three parts of the legendary Sea The Stars like Aidan O'Brien's colt did.
Fame And Glory will never emulate Yeats, but he does look set to follow in some of his footsteps by winning this famous race tomorrow.
It's a brilliant race to watch, but not one to delve too deep into from a punting perspective, although it would be great to see Vincent Ward's Fictional Account get amongst the business end at 20/1. And on her form with Fame And Glory that price may seem very big this time tomorrow evening.
There will also be a keen Irish interest in the race prior to the Gold Cup as three Irish fillies line up in the Ribblesdale Stakes and they include Sunday's Cork winner BANIMPIRE.
The quick turnaround will be a negative for some but she's had six runs already this season and won four of them. The other two were also very respectable efforts so she is not without her chance considering the easy manner of Sunday's victory.
Aidan O'Brien sends over Fairyhouse and Cork maiden winners Look At Me and Make My Heart Sing who both appear to have their hands full and Epsom Oaks fancy Zain Al Boldan will bid to put her Classic run behind her for Mick Channon and Kieren Fallon.
It's competitive, but once Jim Bolger is happy enough to let Banimpire take her chance that would have to be good enough.
And this could be the first leg of a quick-fire double for Ireland on day three of Royal Ascot 2011.
In the opening Group Two Norfolk Stakes Everyday Dave for America and Richard Hannon's debut winner Crown Dependency should be running big races but a chance is given to the Tom Dascombe-trained listed winner PYMAN’S THEORY.
Dermot Weld will search for compensation in the Britannia Handicap courtesy of Honey Of A Kitten, but the Hannon and Hughes team are trusted here with what is the hopefully progressive CHAIN LIGHTENING which won on its seasonal reappearance.
Aidan O'Brien saddles Marksmanship in the Tercentenary Stake but the Henry Cecil-trained three-time winner TAZAHUM appears the one to beat there, while in the last DANADANA is a tentative vote.