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Royal Ascot Ultimate Guide - 2019-06-06

Data:

The six-million dollar questions

THURSDAY 4.20 GOLD CUP

MATT BUTLER

Can Stradivarius complete back-to-back victories? Stradivarius has a fine chance of becoming the first back-toback winner since Yeats won four in a row. Bjorn Nielsen’s classy stayer impressed on his comeback, winning the Yorkshire Cup with relative ease despite giving weight away to all. Southern France is no slouch and the pair pulled five lengths clear off a steady gallop, with the performance rating 1lb off a career-best on Racing Post Ratings. While he will face a host of new challengers, it does not look a stronger race than 12 months ago and if his return is anything to go by Stradivarius could be even better, blessed with the perfect combination of stamina and tactical speed. Can Cross Counter continue on his upward trajectory? Cross Counter had only won a pair of Wolverhampton novice races by this time last year, but his meteoric rise may not have finished. He thumped Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee at Goodwood and thrived on his travels, winning the Melbourne Cup and Dubai Gold Cup. There is no reason why that cannot continue, while Sagaro Stakes and Henry II winner Dee Ex Bee is almost certain to improve for this extreme test.

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