Fast two-year-olds in the 5f Norfolk Stakes (G2), some of the best three-year-old fillies of their generation in the Ribblesdale Stakes (G2) and then the best stayers of Britain and Ireland taking each other on in the Gold Cup (G1), three cracking races start off day three of the Royal meeting.
The Norfolk Stakes has attracted a fine field, including two former sales toppers – Ahern, who cost £80,000 at the Goffs Kempton Breeze-Up Sale in March, and Gale Force Ten, bought by Demi O’Byrne as a yearling on behalf of Coolmore for £280,000. Both horses have won for connections with both picking up maidens and looking promising types.
But the one with the best form in the book going into this is Cay Verde, a winner on his second start at Ascot before he was successful in a Listed race at The Curragh. The form of his win here is working our particularly well as he beat Hototo then by a cosy two and a half lengths; that one went on to win Tuesday’s Listed Windsor Castle Stakes. Cay Verde has recently been bought by Qatar Racing Ltd.
The Ribblesdale Stakes looks a race to savour with a number of exciting unexposed fillies taking on fillies who filled the places in the Epsom Oaks; today’s race could be worthy of Group 1 status
The Roger Varian-trained Pink Damsel is one from the unexposed group – she cost 600,000gns as a yearling, is by Galileo and a winner on her sole start so far, while the Dermot Weld-trained Princess Highway has already advertised her ability when winning a Group 3 in Ireland on good to yielding ground, beating subsequent Epsom Derby winner Was.
The Oaks runner-up Shirocco Star, third placed The Fugue and the fourth home Vow lock horns again: although The Fugue was unlucky in running at Epsom, she might prefer better ground, while today’s conditions should suit Shirocco Star.
The Queen’s Momentary could easily run well. This is the filly’s first step up to Group race company, but when she won the Listed Swettenham Stakes at Newbury in May, she beat Shirocco Star by a head. That race that is becoming something of an early season marker for top class fillies as last year’s subsequent Oaks and QIPCO Champion Fillies and Mares winner Dancing Rain got her three-year-old career underway with success there.