Kyprios tops 10 contenders for Gold Cup crown

Kyprios will face nine rivals as he bids to regain his Gold Cup crown at Royal Ascot on Thursday.

Aidan O’Brien’s stayer is one of the hottest favourites of the week in the marathon event, a race he won in 2022 to kickstart a run of four successive Group One victories.

He sustained an injury early last season which kept him off the track until the Irish St Leger in September, when he finished second before being narrowly beaten in the Long Distance Cup on Champions Day.

O’Brien has been thrilled to have an uninterrupted start to this campaign, with Kyprios winning the Vintage Crop Stakes and Saval Beg already.

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John and Thady Gosden’s Gregory is seen as his main threat. Winner of the Queen’s Vase last year, he has stepped into the breach to fill the void left by injured stablemate Courage Mon Ami, winner of the race 12 months ago.

Trawlerman (right) beat Kyprios on Champions Day
Trawlerman (right) beat Kyprios on Champions Day (John Walton/PA)

The Gosdens also run Trawlerman, who beat Kyprios on Champions Day and Sweet William.

Willie Mullins has yet to win the Gold Cup and having dominated the National Hunt scene for years, it is an itch he would love to scratch with Vauban.

A Triumph Hurdle winner, he landed a handicap at this meeting 12 months ago before an unsuccessful run in the Melbourne Cup.

Coltrane, Enemy, Prydwen, Trueshan and the mare Caius Chorister complete the field.

Charlie Appleby’s unbeaten Diamond Rain, a daughter of the Oaks winner Dancing Rain, is one of 13 in the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Andrew Balding’s Kalpana is well fancied as is Ralph Beckett’s You Got To Me, who finished fourth in the Oaks. Beckett also runs Epsom seventh Forest Fairy.

Kalpana is well fancied in the Ribblesdale
Kalpana is well fancied in the Ribblesdale (Bradley Collyer/PA

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The Gosdens field Danielle, Siyola and Queens Fort, with Aidan O’Brien sending Port Fairy and Oaks ninth Rubies Are Red.

There are 14 two-year-olds set to go to post for the Group Two Norfolk Stakes, in which O’Brien’s Whistlejacket comes up against Wesley Ward’s Saturday Flirt.

The Archie Watson-trained Aesterius and Karl Burke’s Shareholder run for Wathnan Racing, with the same owner fielding Andre Fabre’s French Derby runner up First Look in the Hampton Court Stakes, which also features the well-fancied King’s Gambit among 12 contenders.

A maximum field of 19 has been declared for the King George V Stakes with Perisica heading the weights. Candle Of Dubai is the reserve.

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