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The Royal Ascot Carnival continues on Thursday, where the feature race of the day and perhaps Carnival is the Gold Cup (4000m), featuring two world class stayers in Order Of St George and Stradivarius.

Race 1. (23:30) Norfolk Stakes 1000m

Back Me

9 Vintage Brut (Bet Now: $5.50) has done nothing wrong in two career outings, winning each time. Pulled quite hard last time out at Sandown but still had something left for the finale and surged hard to get the win. Bit more depth this time around, but I’m liking the way he goes about it. Just needs to relax in the run.

Danger

10 Shang Shang Shang (Bet Now: $5.50) is a Wesley Ward trained filly who has had one start for one win, which came over 900m at Keeneland back on April 26 where she showed great speed from barrier eight to lead and that was the end of the race as she won impressively and ran decent time. She’s got the speed…has she got the class?

Long Shot

3 Kinks (Bet Now: $12.00) comes through the race won by Vintage Brut at Sandown. He got back in the run and was never really in contention at all, not making any real progress to finish a disappointing sixth. Two wins prior looked pretty good to the eye and if he produces something similar to those, he’s in the mix.

Race 2. (00:05) Hampton Court Stakes 2000m

Back Me

Happy to have something each way on 7 Masaarr (Bet Now: $17.00). Roger Varian trains this colt, who was pretty sharp in winning two back at Doncaster before going to Newbury where he was a well backed favourite and to the eye, he was disappointing in running fourth, but he didn’t pull up 100% post race. Stable is flying this season and he should get a lovely run from the draw.

Danger

4 Hunting Horn (Bet Now: $7.00) is a son of Camelot for the Aidan O’Brien team who comes through a Group l at Chantilly a tick under three weeks ago where he did work from the wide draw and the effort just told late behind Study Of Man. Drops a fair in grade and depth this time around and Ryan Moore is back on.

Long Shot

14 Vintager (Bet Now: $15.00) is a Mastercraftsman colt who has the right form on the board to run well here. He ran over a mile at Sandown last time out where he was near the speed and fought on well in defeat behind Without Parole, who franked the form on Tuesday. The added trip looks ideal and he has upside.

Race 3. (00:40) Ribblesdale Stakes 2400

Back Me

10 Sun Maiden (Bet Now: $3.50) looks the good thing of the Carnival IMO. She was backed off the map when resuming at Salisbury over 2200m and she justified the avalanche of money by walking in. Stable have a huge opinion of her and I believe they had her marked down as a potential Oaks horse but injury delayed those plans. She’s exciting and I’m keen.

Danger

1 Wild Illusion (Bet Now: $3.75) is a Charlie Appleby trained filly who started fav in the Oaks at Epsom and I thought she had her chance but was rather one paced in the end when second to Forever Together. She’s got the form on the board, no doubting that, but has she got the brilliance and upside of Sun Maiden? I’m saying no.

Long Shot

2 Athena (Bet Now: $11.00) is a Camelot filly for Aidan O’Brien who had been knocking on the door to win her maiden and it came last time out at Fairyhouse where she was prohibitive odds but won impressively. She should eat up the 2400m based on last start and she should get a lovely run just off the speed from the draw.

Race 4. (01:20) Gold Cup 4000m

Back Me

With a potential firm surface on the cards, I’m in the camp of 9 Stradivarius (Bet Now: $2.87). His three year old season was unbelievable, proving that he could match it with the best of the best. Resumed in the Yorkshire Cup and he showed there in winning that he has improved from three to four and is a better horse. If it was a soft track, Order Of St George clearly, but with dry weather forecast, Stradivarius is the one.

Danger

2 Order Of St George (Bet Now: $2.87) clearly has to be respected. Don’t think any horse here could produce the deeds he has with a couple of ripping efforts in the Arc. Two wins back home in Ireland this time in have been dominant, admittedly against far inferior opposition. He’s a tough, tough stayer…but his two losses at Ascot have come on firm ground.

Long Shot

I think the one at odds, perhaps for a place, is 1 Max Dynamite (Bet Now: $34.00). He is well known to Australian punters given he is a two time Melbourne Cup placegetter. Had two jumps runs this prep, both just fair, before going to the Yorkshire Cup where he was okay behind Stradivarius. Turning the tables would be a huge ask, but he will stay and is in the right stable.

Race 5. (02:00) Britannia Stakes 1600m

Back Me

27 Corrosive (Bet Now: $13.00) gets the nod for me. Hugo Palmer has his stable going really well at the moment and this bloke looks an ideal candidate to take the next step. Ran over this track/distance last time out where he was midfield with cover before getting clear and taking the lead 200m out and he held on quite well I thought to get the win. He’ll do me in a dartboard job.

Danger

5 First Contact (Bet Now: $11.00) is a Charlie Appleby trained gelding who hasn’t raced for nearly three months since scoring a rather dominant win over 1400m at Doncaster where Buick had him tucked in behind the speed before he shoved into the clear and from around the 400m mark onwards, he was never getting beat. Does a bit wrong, but has ability.

Long Shot

16 Curiosity (Bet Now: $13.00) is an interesting runner. Hugo Palmer trains this bloke, who resumed on May 5 at Newmarket where he was a little unlucky not to win after bungling the start and eventually just missing out on picking up Symbolization. Gets J Mac on and if he can get a good smother from the draw, he’s a key chance.

Race 6. (02:35) King George V Stakes 2400m

Back Me

11 First Eleven (Bet Now: $6.50) will do me in the get out. John Gosden trains this son of Frankel, who was just outstanding in winning over 2200m at Newbury last time out. He was tucked in midfield before being given clear air to click up and once he did, gee it was good viewing. I’d be shocked if he didn’t measure up, and Franke steers.

Danger

2 Cross Counter (Bet Now: $7.00) is a Charlie Appleby trained son of Teofilo who resumed over 2000m at Sandown where he looked to have a reasonable run in transit and loomed large to win but just had no answers for the finale of Elwazir, who looks a really good prospect. Should come on from that and 2400m no issue.

Long Shot

 1 Dubhe (Bet Now: $13.00) is a stablemate of Cross Counter who looks talented in his own right. Hasn’t raced since April 27 at Sandown where he scored a dominant win over 2200m, settling beautifully in the run before Buick gave him a squeeze and away he went for a four length romp. Buick chooses Cross Counter, which I think is the lead there, but I wouldn’t rule this horse out.

Best Bets & Quaddie Tips

BEST BET: Race Three Number 10 Sun Maiden

NEXT BEST: Race Four Number 9 Stradivarius

LONG SHOT: Race Five Number 27 Corrosive

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All odds are subject to change. Odds listed are correct at the time of the latest update.

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