Racing: Royal Ascot preview Thursday, June 18

Kingfisher (centre) should carry decent odds in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot  Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
Kingfisher (centre) should carry decent odds in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

Kingfisher can provide Aidan O’Brien with a record seventh success in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Since saddling Yeats to win the staying crown four times between 2006 and 2009, the master of Ballydoyle has struck gold with Fame And Glory (2011) and Leading Light (2014), with all three horses already Group One winners at shorter distances before stepping up to two and a half miles.

Kingfisher has not yet managed to secure that top-level triumph, but has shown his worth in the best company, most notably filling the runner-up spot behind dual Classic winner Australia in last season’s Irish Derby.

The son of Galileo was then asked to tear off as a pacemaker for his esteemed stable companion in both the Juddmonte International at York and the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, predictably folding on both occasions.

Those couple of efforts are clearly best forgotten and Kingfisher can be better judged on his two performances so far this season when he has been the number one hope from the yard.

The four-year-old was far from disgraced when fourth behind Gold Cup favourite Forgotten Rules in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan on his return to action, beaten a shade under eight lengths and looking badly in need of the run.

He stepped up markedly to win Leopardstown’s Saval Beg Stakes, a major Gold Cup trial, finishing powerfully over the mile and three-quarters to get up close home.

Kingfisher undoubtedly needs to improve again and is going into the unknown over the trip, but that is factored into his price and he is worth an each-way interest at rewarding odds.

King Of Rooks is widely regarded as one of the bankers of the week in the Norfolk Stakes and is difficult to oppose.

* Selections -

Royal Ascot: 2.30 King Of Rooks, 3.05 Time Test, 3.40 Pleascach, 4.20 KINGFISHER (NAP), 5.00 Bartel, 5.35 King Bolete.

Chelmsford: 2.20 Diamond Ridge, 2.55 Brown Pete, 3.30 Angelic Upstart, 4.05 Tumbaga, 4.45 Cerutty, 5.20 Big City Boy, 5.55 Boycie.

Ffos Las: 6.05 Tara Mac, 6.35 Ready Token, 7.10 Still Believing, 7.45 Little Mix, 8.15 Kilfinichen Bay, 8.45 Baths Well, 9.15 Mac Bertie.

Leicester: 6.00 Dark Wonder, 6.30 Spongy, 7.00 Pool House, 7.35 Come On Dave, 8.05 Spiriting, 8.35 Be Lucky, 9.05 Tutti Frutti.

Lingfield: 5.40 Criminalistic, 6.15 Agerzam, 6.45 Ocean Crystal, 7.20 Skidby Mill, 7.55 Entity, 8.25 Mossgo, 8.55 Ghost Train.

Ripon: 2.10 Royal Display, 2.45 Scoreline, 3.20 Seaching, 3.55 Ventura Quest, 4.35 Red Inca, 5.10 Flash City, 5.45 Dutch Descent.

Double: Kingfisher and King Of Rooks.