Light heads 19 Gold Cup possibles

Leading Light, winner of the Queen’s Vase 12 months ago, heads the ante-post market for next Thursday’s Ascot Gold Cup after the latest declaration stage yesterday.

Light heads 19 Gold Cup possibles

Victorious in the Ladbrokes St Leger in September, Aidan O’Brien’s charge has already demonstrated his well-being this term when taking the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan with some authority.

The Ballydoyle handler also has El Salvador, Ernest Hemingway and Eye Of The Storm, while other Irish-trained possibles are Simenon, last year’s runner-up for Willie Mullins, Royal Diamond, Saddler’s Rock, Ralston Road, Missunited and Pale Mimosa.

Last year’s winner Estimate is also on course for the race despite not having run yet this season. A horse who will carry strong support on the home front is Brown Panther, bred and co-owned by former England striker Michael Owen. The Tom Dascombe-trained six-year-old has been in the form of his life this season, chalking up convincing victories in Chester’s Ormonde Stakes and the Henry II Stakes at Sandown.

Marco Botti has left in Tac De Boistron, winner of the Prix Royal-Oak and Sagaro Stakes, while Godolphin rely on Ahzeemah, trained by Saeed bin Suroor.

German raider Altano could try to improve on his fifth place in the race last year for trainer Andreas Wohler. Completing the list of 19 six-day confirmations are Oriental Fox, Whiplash Willie, Havana Beat and Shwaiman.

O’Brien meanwhile is responsible for four of the 14 fillies as he looks to win next Thursday’s Ribblesdale Stakes for the first time.

Dazzling was disappointing in the Investec Oaks at Epsom last week, but may turn out again quickly, while Bracelet could potentially step up in trip after finishing down the field in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket early last month.

Cork winner Just Gorgeous and Cheshire Oaks fifth Terrific complete the O’Brien quartet.

Lustrous has been supplemented by the Richard Hannon team after her success at York last month.

John Gosden has Bright Approach and Criteria in contention for the mile-and-a-half contest. The Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Inchila ran an excellent race to finish fourth in the Epsom Oaks and would be of interest if turning up in similar form next week.

Other contenders include Wonderstruck, French challenger Vazira and Italian Oaks heroine Final Score.

Dermot Weld is leaning towards a tilt at the Jersey Stakes for Mustajeeb following his fine effort in last month’s Irish 2,000 Guineas.

The Nayef colt kicked off the season with a runaway victory against his elders in the Group Three Amethyst Stakes at Leopardstown and picked up minor honours in Classic company behind British raiders Kingman and Shifting Power.

Mustajeeb could again take on Kingman in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes, but is likely to turn out the following day for the Jersey.

“Mustajeeb is very well and I’d say he’s more likely to go for the Jersey. I think the Guineas form is very solid and I’d say he could represent us well,” Weld told At The Races.

Mustajeeb is set to be part of a small but select raiding team from Rosewell House at next week’s showpiece meeting.

Pale Mimosa looks set to take her place in the Gold Cup, while Hisaabaat is poised to run in the Ascot Stakes.

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