Geordieland to finally get the better of Yeats
You can be sure there won't be a dry eye in the whole of Berkshire if Aidan O'Brien's Yeats wins a fourth Ascot Gold Cup at odds of 9/4.
The eight-year-old absolutely adores Ascot and adores this race having won it for the last three years and the whole of Ballydoyle will be hoping the old boy still has another Gold Cup left in him.
His seasonal reappearance in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan, a race which he had previously won twice saw him run disappointingly.
Many believe it is down to not being fit enough to tackle sufficiently the soft ground he encountered but the knockers are out saying he's not as good as he was and that this Ascot Gold Cup attempt will sadly be fruitless.
There were negative vibes last year though before he romped home and O'Brien will not be sending his star here if he thought a rapid fall from grace was a possibility.
Yeats' main market rival is his old nemesis Geordieland who is currently at odds of 3/1 in the betting.
Trainer Jamie Osborne may be hoping deep down Yeats is not the horse he once was as Geordieland has consistently been the bridesmaid while Yeats collected the glory.
Twice second to O'Brien's horse in this race, Osborne has gone on record saying that Geordieland is an improved horse and his preparation and form could not have gone better in the lead up to the race.
He won his seasonal reappearance in the Group 2 Blue Square Henry Stakes and has pleased his trainer ever since. If Geordieland is to ever capture this coveted crown then this could be his year.
Also at odds of 3/1 is the horse that Geordieland beat in to second at Sandown in the shape of Patkai.
When Patkai won the Queen's Vase he was touted as a potential Gold Cup horse and his emphatic win in the Woodcote Stud Stakes at Ascot did nothing to dispel that, and doubts have only come about since his defeat by Geordieland last time out.
Whether he will get the trip is an unknown as well but his shrewd trainer Sir Michael Stoute will not be running him if he didn't think he had a big chance.
Whether he is ready to overhaul the great Yeats and his rival Geordieland is open to question and many seem to think it's between these three for the Gold Cup crown, with doubts about all could there be a good bet lurking among the bigger priced runners?
The only other runner in the vicinity of the front three in the market is one of three Godolphin trained runners, Veracity who can be backed at odds of 6/1, (the other two Saeed bin Suroor runners are 16/1 chance Eastern Anthem and 33/1 poke Sagara).
The very fact they Godolphin enter three runners in the race show they are desperate to loosen Ballydoyle's firm grip on the Ascot Gold Cup crown.
The simple fact is, is that this quantity is not going to oust the quality of the front three in the market. Eastern Anthem won a few in Dubai over the winter but does not have the quality to take this. Sagara hasn't won since his maiden victory in 2007 and isn't about to start now.
As the betting dictates Veracity has the best chance of the three as the step up in trip and quick ground would be perfect for him but ultimately it is unlikely he has the class to take this.
Hindu Kush may relish the 2m4f trip but it is hard to see this 25/1 chance getting heavily involved for trainer David Nicholls, likewise for Tastahil who would only run if the ground was not too quick and if it is on the slower a small interest could be in order for this 25/1 chance but otherwise he looks out of it.
Finally Washington Irving and Centennial both look out of their depth in this class and their odds of 33/1 reflect this.
The best chance of a winner undoubtedly comes from the front three and with doubts about all of them the tentative selection is Geordieland.
The subject of such glowing reports from home encourage, he has already beaten Patkai and knows what this race is about and if Yeats is not at his best then Jamie Osborne's star can capitalise.
For certain though this will be an absolute cracker of a race to watch and as always William Hill are offering their Best Odds Guaranteed promise to all out punters.
Geordieland - 3/1