Our tipster Jones Knows is wondering why everyone is avoiding the obvious in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. He is all over Coltrane at 7/2.
Gold Cup (4.20)
If it looks like a Gold Cup winner, smells like a Gold Cup winner and tastes like a Gold Cup winner – it’s probably a Gold Cup winner.
Andrew Balding’s charge has been friendless in the betting all week in the build-up to the blue riband event yet quite simply, he’s the most likely winner of this famous race. In an event lacking strength in depth, where punters are trying to get him beat by latching onto some sexy profiles that have yet to show their ability at that level, he brings genuine Group One form to the table in this division. And his Ascot record should count for plenty here. In three visits to the track, he’s won twice and was only beaten a head by a fit and firing Trueshan on Champions Day. Odds of 3/1 suggest Coltrane would win this race 25 per cent of the time. That looks awfully unfair on a horse of such consistency and staying power. I’d have it nearer 40 per cent, so whilst the selection trades above 7/4 my maths make him a bet at those prices.
Norfolk Stakes (2.30)
I’m always happy to have a pop at a horse at a chunky price in this contest for two-year-olds. It does have a habit of going against the market to the extent that 33 of the 75 horses to finish in the first three in the past 20 years have gone off double figure prices, with nine of those winning.
We managed to find The Ridler at 50/1 last season and although Elite Status sets a fair standard at the top of the market, there are some very powerful colts lining up against him. The last 14 favourites have all been beaten in the Norfolk, including six going off shorter than 2/1. This race is a graveyard for the market leader.
Thunder Blue is a colt with serious gears and the time is now for him judging by his professional manner in his first two runs. He found trouble when going down narrowly to The Camden Colt on debut but showed he’s a real player at the top level when scooting clear at Goodwood under a more positive ride. Trainer Dominic Ffrench Davis is working at a 30 per cent strike with his two-year-olds this season and reading between the lines, you get the impression this lad is the one he’s most excited about.