Fame And Glory will face 14 rivals as he bids to assume the mantle of his former stablemate Yeats in the £250,000 Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday.
Aidan O’Brien’s five-year-old has won four Group 1s already in a celebrated career to date, but it has been the plan for some time to step him up to the marathon trip of two and a half miles.
Yeats famously won the race four times before earning an honourable retirement and arguably Fame And Glory has stronger form over middle distances having won an Irish Derby, Tattersalls Gold Cup and Coronation Cup to date.
However, his victory in the Saval Beg Stakes over a mile and three-quarters on his last start remains the longest trip he has tackled so far.
With last year’s winner Rite Of Passage missing the race, the betting suggests his sternest test will come from John Gosden’s Duncan, who runs here rather than in the Hardwicke Stakes later in the week. He beat Blue Bajan in the Yorkshire Cup but is another with stamina doubts.
Kasbah Bliss and Brigantin are the French challengers while Fictional Account joins Fame And Glory from Ireland.
The action starts at 2.30pm with the £75,000 Group 2 Norfolk Stakes over 5 furlongs (1000 metres).
American trainer Wesley A Ward will hope for better luck than on Tuesday when Holiday For Kitten finished down the field in the King’s Stand Stakes and Gentleman’s Code finished fourth in the Windsor Castle Stakes. In the Norfolk he saddles the fancied Everyday Dave.
Connections of Highest are under no illusions about the task facing the filly in the £100,000 Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes over one mile and four furlongs (2400 metres) at 3.05pm
John Gosden’s daughter of Dynaformer chased home subsequent Investec Oaks winner Dancing Rain at Newbury back in April, and confirmed that promise when dotting up at Newcastle next time.
She made do with the runner-up spot once again behind another Oaks participant in Beatrice Aurore in Goodwood’s Height Of Fashion Stakes on her latest start.
Zain Al Boldan lost her unbeaten record when only ninth in the Investec Oaks and Bruce Raymond, racing manager for owner Jaber Abdullah, admits a place may be the best she can hope for this week. Kieren Fallon replaces Sam Hitchcott in the saddle. “She’s got to find a few spots, so we’re more hopeful than confident. I think she can run into a place,” said Raymond.
The Michael Bell-trained Creme Anglaise impressed when winning her maiden at the track at the start of the month and the master of Fitzroy House is anticipating a bold show from the daughter of his Derby hero Motivator. “She’s been in good form at home and we’ve targeted the race since she won her maiden,” said Bell.
The six-race card also includes the Britannia Stakes at 4.45, the Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at 5pm and the King George V Stakes at 5.35pm.
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