Anticipation for the Gold Cup at 2023’s Royal Ascot is building fast. The £500,000-prize Group 1 flat race is on a roster of most prestigious on Britain’s horseracing calendar, and there are plenty of contenders looking to bag the £283,550 first prize and one of the most historic trophies the ‘Sport of Kings’.
The Ascot Gold Cup is considered a true test for the leading stayers in British and Irish horseracing. It’s also one of the oldest established flat races in the sport, inaugurated in 1807. It’s now the first leg of the ‘Stayers’ Triple Crown’, with the second and third legs covered by the Goodwood Cup and the Doncaster Cup.
Stradivarius made history by landing a Stayers’ Triple Crown four years ago. This achievement is one of the most significant feats across all global sports, not just the UK racing scene.
Can any horse emulate Stradivarius in 2023?
To stand any chance of landing an historic Stayers’ Triple Crown, the Ascot Gold Cup is the first port of call. Below, we assess those runners with aspirations to win at Royal Ascot on Saturday, June 24.
The current favourite at the top of the Ascot Gold Cup ante-post market is Emily Dickinson, who is consistently priced at 4/1 with most bookies. However, the Aidan O’Brien-trained charge is as short as 7/2 with Unibet, which is noted for its risk-free horse racing free bets, handing new customers a chance to wager up to £40 risk-free on any horse race, including the Ascot Gold Cup.
The price on Emily Dickinson fell in recent days following her stunning display in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan. The filly stormed to victory in this one-mile, six-furlong contest, in which she demonstrated the potential to stay much longer than this. She was a steady second behind front-runner French Claim before growing in strength to close out the win by five lengths.
O’Brien was interviewed after Emily Dickinson’s win, and he stated his intention to take her to Leopardstown to race in the Saval Beg prior to the Ascot Gold Cup.
The Ascot Gold Cup and Melbourne Cup awaits Broome in 2023
The second favourite in the ante-post market is Broome. Another one trained by O’Brien, seven-year-old Broome has previous in high-profile races, landing the Dubai Gold Cup in Meydan in March. He’s come a long way since finishing last to Trueshan in Ascot’s Long Distance Cup back in 2020.
O’Brien has intimated that Broome is being eyed-up as a Melbourne Cup contender and could fly over to Flemington this winter if he performs well at the Ascot Gold Cup.
We’ve already mentioned Trueshan’s performance in the 2020 Long Distance Cup, and Broome’s rival is likely to feature at this year’s Ascot Gold Cup. That’s after being pulled from last year’s Gold Cup by trainer Alan King due to the firming ground. If Trueshan gets soft ground this year, he could be one of Emily Dickinson’s stiffest opponents.
Will Subjectivist push for a second Gold Cup triumph?
It would also be remiss not to discuss the potential of Subjectivist, who most bookmakers are currently pricing as a 10/1 prospect for the Ascot Gold Cup. Subjectivist raced well in Saudi Arabia before a credible third-place finish in the Dubai Gold Cup behind Broome. Trainer, Charlie Johnson, said the plan post-Dubai was to focus squarely on the Ascot Gold Cup.
Subjectivist landed the 2021 Ascot Gold Cup by five lengths but sustained an injury that threatened his long-term racing career. Fortunately, his recent performances in the Middle East suggest that rehabilitation has worked wonders.
Nevertheless, Johnson admitted there was a “black cloud” looming over Subjectivist’s connections, with there being major uncertainty as to how long his racing career will last due to that troublesome tendon problem. He responded “quite well” to racing twice in four weeks in the Middle East, so Johnson and his team will look to “build him back up” to be in contention for Royal Ascot.