Golden Horde proves himself worthy of top-class status with Commonwealth Cup glory at Royal Ascot

Marcus Armytage
The Telegraph
Golden Horde (far right) streaked home under Adam Kirby - GETTY IMAGES
Golden Horde (far right) streaked home under Adam Kirby - GETTY IMAGES

Clive Cox and Adam Kirby, one of racing’s most enduring partnerships, had a good track record with top-class sprinters before Friday and to Lethal Force, Reckless Abandon, Profitable and Harry Angel you can now add the name Golden Horde, the 5-1 winner of the Commonwealth Cup.

The colt, by Lethal Force and stabled in the same box as his dad, flew out of the gates and, after getting a tow to just beyond halfway from Mums Tipple, the chestnut cruised through to the furlong pole and then kept going to beat Wesley Ward’s strong-finishing Kimari a length and a half.

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“He’s a proper horse,” said Kirby, a jockey who lives in the sauna. “We thought he was good before his first run at Newbury and he’s done nothing but improve and strengthen up over the winter. He jumped away, travelled good, has a very high cruising speed - he’s just like his dad only a different colour.”

Cox, who now has the complete set of Royal Ascot Group One sprints, said: “He’s a lovely big strong horse. It’s been a strange start to the season. Coming here first time out was a big ask so I’m very proud of the team at home. We’ll look at the July Cup – better ground might see a bit more improvement.

“He’s a wonderful physical (specimen). He was a beautiful yearling and he’s always been very athletic. He’s really grown into his frame, he’s uncomplicated and one of his qualities is his high cruising speed. It’s good to get the show on the road with him.”    

Cox will, doubtless, settle for the one winner but John Gosden clocked up his fifth of the meeting when Fanny Logan, ridden by Frankie Dettori, swept from last on the home bend down the outside to win the Hardwicke Stakes.

The 17-2 shot beat 40-1 outsider Alounak two and a half lengths with last year’s winner Defoe in third. Last year’s Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck had a rough passage up the straight and the 9-4 favourite could only finish fifth.

Fanny Logan provided Frankie Dettori with his 70th Royal Ascot win - reuters
Fanny Logan provided Frankie Dettori with his 70th Royal Ascot win - reuters

Dettori, riding his 70th Royal winner, said: “On paper I thought we were maybe racing for a place but John gave me a lot of confidence that she had improved mentally and physically for her Haydock run.

“I was a bit further back than I wanted but they started racing early and by the time I got to the furlong pole they were all dead. I thought she might be in the shake-up but she quickened and kept going.”

When Hayley Turner won her second Sandringham on Onassis on Thursday she named-checked Hollie Doyle and said it was only a matter of time before females jockeys were more regularly in the winners’ circle at Ascot.

Sure enough within 24 hours Doyle broke her Ascot duck by weaving her way through a wall of horses on Scarlet Dragon, also a 33-1 shot, to win the Duke of Edinburgh.

Doyle goes back a long way with Scarlet Dragon, a second winner of the week for Alan King, having won her first big handicap as an apprentice on the gelding in 2016.

Hollie Doyle riding Scarlet Dragon after winning the 16:40 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes - REUTERS
Hollie Doyle riding Scarlet Dragon after winning the 16:40 Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes - REUTERS

“I can’t put into words what it means,” said Doyle who has been riding winners on an almost daily basis since racing’s resumption. “It means a huge amount. You walk in every year with high hopes imagining what it must be like to ride a winner here so it’s amazing.

“When I first rode Scarlet Dragon I found him very strong so he made me cop on about the important of fitness and strength – so it’s weird to win here on him four years later. I try and improve every year and I have been improving but I have a long way to go. Hayley’s been there and done it, she’s won Group Ones so I know it’s possible.”

It is unlikely there will a more impressive juvenile winner this week than Dandalla, Karl Burke’s filly, who left her rivals standing in the Albany to beat the well-back favourite Setarhe by six lengths to give jockey Ben Curtis his first Royal Ascot winner.

In contrast, The Lir Jet, Michael Bell’s last-gasp winner of the Norfolk Stakes, had to chase down Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal who was four lengths clear and, seemingly, not stopping a furlong down.

But the petrol ran out almost within touching distance of the line for the US raider and Oisin Murphy judged it to perfection getting up two strides from the line to win by a neck on his well-named mount.

03:50 PM

Doing it for the girls

Yesterday ended with a win for Hayley Turner and today we end with a win for Hollie Doyle. A great result for female jockeys.

03:46 PM

4.40pm result

  1. Scarlet Dragon 33/1

  2. Deja 9/1

  3. West End Charmer 4/1

What a ride from Hollie Doyle! She weaved her way through horses magnificently, taking the toughest route possible as she slotted between her rivals.

03:43 PM

Scarlet Dragon wins!

Off they go and the favourite West End Charmer is going to try to lead every step of the way. He leads from Indianapolis and Deja as they pass halfway, and it's up to the others to try and pass him entering the home straight. Deja and Scarlet Dragon are the two to do so and they will fight it out for victory. And it's Hollie Doyle who gets up on Scarlet Dragon!

03:33 PM

Non-runners

There are five non-runners in this race, which means 14 go to post.

03:30 PM

Betting for the last race

  • West End Charmer 7/2

  • Durston 9/2

  • Good Birthday 15/2

  • Le Don De Vie 17/2

  • Indianapolis, Medal Winner 8/1

  • Deja 12/1

  • Johnny Drama 14/1

  • Al Muffrih 16/1

  • Dubai Future 20/1

  • Scarlet Dragon 22/1

03:27 PM

Frankie's 70th

A classic video:

 A nice touch:

03:24 PM

Race 7 preview - 4.40pm

4.40 Duke of Edinburgh Handicap (1m 4f, 3yo+) 

The combination of soft ground and a wide draw should suit JOHNNY DRAMA (NB) well, with apprentice Joshua Bryan taking off a handy 3lb. Durston will need a lot of luck in-running, but should appreciate the conditions, and can continue a very good week for Jim Crowley. Dubai Future has done little wrong so far and has more to offer; with a good draw in 22, he can also make his presence felt in an open contest.

Marcus Armytage's tip: West End Charmer

03:19 PM

4.10pm result

  1. Santiago 10/3

  2. Berkshire Rocco 3/1

  3. Al Dabaran 6/1

03:14 PM

Santiago wins!

Off they go. Punctuation claims the early lead, where he is joined by Born With Pride from Al Dabaran as they settle into a rhythm. No change as they pass halfway and prepare to make the turn for home. Nobel Prize starts to move forward as they approach the bend but its Santiago who shows the best turn of foot, easing his way between horses and stretching clear in the home straight. Berkshire Rocco's chase is forlorn.

02:58 PM

70 in 30

Number 70 was Fanny Logan's win in the Hardwicke.

02:55 PM

Fancy a flutter

Here are your numbers. Just eight in this one.

  • Berkshire Rocco 11/4

  • Born With Pride 3/1

  • Santiago 4/1

  • Al Dabaran 5/1

  • Nobel Prize 15/2

  • On Guard 18/1

  • Punctuation 22/1

  • Cloud Thunder 150/1

Punctuation represents The Queen in this race and if you fancy backing him, have a look at these Royal Ascot betting offers.

02:44 PM

Race 6 preview - 4.10pm

4.10 Queen’s Vase (1m 6f, Group Two, 3yo) 

The rain continues to fall at Ascot, and BORN WITH PRIDE is taken to relish the conditions. Both her Newmarket and Kempton form are working out very strongly and this step up to 1m6f should suit her well. Berkshire Rocco ran well behind leading Derby hope English King, and looks very solid, with the step up in trip also likely to suit. Santiago takes a big step up in trip, but should also appreciate the distance.

Marcus Armytage's tip: Punctuation 

02:38 PM

3.35pm result

  1. Golden Horde 5/1

  2. Kimari 5/1

  3. Ventura Rebel 50/1

02:37 PM

Golden Horde wins!

And they're off. Mums Tipple leads as they split into two groups down the centre of the track, with Golden Horde showing the way at the front of the other group. Together they come with two furlongs to go and Golden Horde still leads. Kimari tries to catch him, but he can't get close enough to land a glove and Golden Horde will hold on all the way to the line.

02:30 PM

A 50/1 shot?

Our racing correspondent has written a Commonwealth Cup preview, in which he plumps for Dubai Station as his selection. Dubai Station is currently 40 or 50/1! Here's a snippet:

Dubai Station, whose form tailed off dramatically after finishing third in last year’s Norfolk Stakes due to some niggling injuries, can prove his win first time out this season was no fluke by winning Friday’s Commonwealth Cup.

“He’s totally underestimated and has a fantastic turn of foot,” said his trainer Karl Burke on Thursday. “He wants cover and riding for speed so his draw might make it a bit awkward and Ben (Curtis) will have to take a pull and ride him for a bit of luck. He’s definitely over-priced.”  

Neither the Mill Reef winner Pierre Lapin or the Middle Park runner-up Golden Horde have had a run this season and might not be so effective on the ground while many of the rest are backing up quickly after trying to stretch their stamina to a mile in either the 2,000 Guineas or Irish Guineas.  

02:27 PM

Commonwealth Cup odds

  • Pierre Lapin, Lope Y Fernandez 7/2

  • Kimari, Golden Horde 5/1

  • Millisle 8/1

  • Royal Crusade 12/1

  • Mums Tipple 18/1

  • Royal Lytham 25/1

  • Shadn, Southern Hills, Ventura Rebel 40/1

02:24 PM

Long time no see

A few of these at the head of the market haven't managed to get a prep run in this season, including favourite Pierre Lapin (last ran 272 days ago), Golden Horde (262 days) and Royal Crusade (259 days).

02:15 PM

Commonwealth Cup horse-by-horse guide

1. Aberama Gold: Listed Rockingham Stakes winner as a two year old, well-beaten on his reappearance in the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes. Too much to find here.

2. Dubai Station: Winner of the Group 3 Pavilion Stakes, third in last year’s Norfolk Stakes. Has a lot to find still if he is to figure in this company.

3. Golden Horde: Consistent colt, last seen finishing second to Earthlight in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. Tough ask on seasonal reappearance, but respected.

4. Lope Y Fernandez: Looked the Irish 2000 Guineas winner briefly in the closing stages, only to be outstayed late on. Massive player back in trip.

5. Mums Tipple: High-class 11-length York win sticks out like a sore thumb on his profile. Will appreciate drop to six furlongs, but has a bit to prove.

6. Pierre Lapin: Unbeaten Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes winner, comes here for his first start of the season. Tough ask, needs to prove his effectiveness on soft ground.

7. Pistoletto: Consistent colt at a level, has plenty to find in order to figure here. Has a squeak for a place at the prices; the booking of Daniel Tudhope takes the eye.

8. Royal Commando: Come up short on three tries at Group level. Arguably had the worst of the track in the Dewhurst, but still had too much to find here.

9. Royal Crusade: Well-regarded son of Shamardal, reached a very good level of form in three starts. Interesting prospect dropped back to 6 furlongs.

10. Royal Lytham: Disappointing in the Irish 2000 Guineas, but semi-interesting dropped back to six furlongs on the seven day back-up. Each-way chance.

11. Southern Hills: Not sighted since winning last year’s Windsor Castle Stakes over five furlongs. Has course form, but mammoth task on his hands after a year off the track.

12. Ventura Rebel: Last year’s Norfolk Stakes second, sure to improve on his recent run in the Pavilion Stakes. Could outrun his odds here; place claims.

13. Kimari: Last year’s Queen Mary second, resumed for the season with a Listed win at Oaklawn Park. American raider, has work to do to figure.

14. Les Hogues: Well-beaten on seasonal reappearance in the 1000 Guineas, now dropped to six furlongs. Has too much to find here, and is best watched.

15. Millisle: Well-backed when thought sure to stay the mile in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket. Drops back to six furlongs now; has a bit to prove.

16. Shadn: Group 2 winning daughter of No Nay Never. Tough, largely consistent filly, but this is a very big ask on her first run of the season; best watched.

02:09 PM

Race 5 preview - 3.35pm

Time for the showpiece race of the day.

3.35 Commonwealth Cup (6f, Group One, 3yo colts & fillies) 

LOPE Y FERNANDEZ made a big move in the closing stages of the Irish 2000 Guineas only to weaken late; he should appreciate the step back to six furlongs and, with the recent run under his belt, can prove hard to beat. Course winner Mums Tipple should appreciate the step back to six furlongs; a repeat of his York win puts him firmly in the mix here. Golden Horde has hardly put a foot wrong to date and can feature on his seasonal reappearance.

Marcus Armytage's tip: Lope Y Fernandez

02:05 PM

3pm result

  1. Fanny Logan 17/2

  2. Alounak 40/1

  3. Defoe 6/1

02:03 PM

Fanny Logan wins!

Off they go. Communique has decided he will show the way from Alounak and Elarqam as the nine-strong field is rather strung out due to the strong pace from the outset. Anthony Van Dyck looks to be niggled along before they even start turning for home as Elarqam moves up to challenge Communique. Elarqam soon takes charge but Fanny Logan whips down the stands side to pass them all and win it under Frankie Dettori.

01:59 PM

Market movers

Elarqam is very weak in the betting and has drifted to 3/1. Anthony Van Dyck will go off as favourite.

01:48 PM

Here's how they bet for the Hardwicke

  • Elarqam, Anthony Van Dyck 5/2

  • Hamish 6/1

  • Defoe 7/1

  • Morando, Fanny Logan 8/1

  • Communique 40/1

  • Alounak 50/1

  • Eagles By Day 80/1

Can Jim Crowley extend his lead at the top of the jockey standings onboard Elarqam? Back him with one of our Royal Ascot free bets.

01:43 PM

A Derby winner in our midst

So we have our champion tipster Marlborough and our racing correspondent Marcus Armytage both sticking their nap on this race - and opposing each other. One tip for Elarqam and one for Morando. Neither of them have gone for the horse who won the Derby last year:

01:38 PM

Race 4 preview - 2.25pm

3.00 Hardwicke Stakes (1m 4f, Group Two, 4yo+)

The form of ELARQAM’s (NAP) recent run at Haydock was boosted in no uncertain terms with Lord North’s wide-margin win in Wednesday’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes; he should love the soft ground, and can take all the beating on his first try at 1m4f. Course winner Morando is another who should relish the soft conditions, and he can go very well. Similar comments apply to Hamish, who remains open to plenty of improvement after just six starts.

Marcus Armytage's tip: Morando (nap)

01:31 PM

2.25pm result

  1. The Lir Jet 9/2

  2. Golden Pal 12/1

  3. Imperial Force 15/2

01:30 PM

The Lir Jet wins!

And they're off. Golden Pal takes the early lead from Macho Pride... and Golden Pal is only extending away the further they go. The Lir Jet is the only other horse who can go with him. He's chasing, he's chasing, he's chasing. And he's collared him right on the line! Golden Pal led for almost every stride, but The Lir Jet takes the win.

01:25 PM

News: Gold Cup second favourite retired

Technician has been retired after injuring a tendon in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

Martyn Meade's four-year-old was sent off the 7/2 second favourite on the back of several good efforts last year, but he put up a disappointing display in conditions that should have suited him well on Thursday.

Unfortunately, on returning to Meade's Manton base, it transpired Technician had torn a tendon badly enough for his racing days to be over.

"After the race we found out he'd suffered a tendon injury, and I'm afraid it's career-threatening, so we've decided he will be retired," said Meade.

"His run was so inexplicable - he had absolutely perfect conditions, and I was expecting a big run. It's so disappointing. It shows what a good horse he was to run on with that injury - it's bad.

"There's no future trying to repair it, so we'll have to make alternative plans for him now. Hopefully he can go to stud, but I'm afraid that will be his last race.

"We knew something was wrong, because that wasn't like him at all. Usually he battles on - and with conditions right, something had to be affecting him. Clearly he must have twisted badly, and that was it."

01:19 PM

Your odds

  • Eye Of Heaven 7/4

  • Lipizzaner 5/2

  • The Lir Jet 4/1

  • Imperial Force 9/1

  • Golden Pal 14/1

  • Nelson Gay 18/1

  • Jojo Rabbit 20/1

  • Ventura Tormenta 28/1

Have a look at our selected Royal Ascot betting offers

01:17 PM

Here come the boys

We've just seen the two-year-old girls and now it's time for the two-year-old boys, who will be dashing over 5f. As is to be expected, there's not a great deal of experience in this 12-runner field, which contains two horses on racecourse debut.

01:13 PM

Race 3 preview - 2.25pm

2.25 Norfolk Stakes (5f, Group Two, 2yo)

EYE OF HEAVEN’s Newmarket win is looking very smart following yesterday’s Windsor Castle, and he can take all the beating. Golden Pal has been the subject of rave reviews from US-based trainer Wesley Ward and can run well, in spite of potentially testing conditions. The Lir Jet looked very useful when breaking the juvenile track record on debut at Yarmouth, and can go close for new owners Qatar Racing.

Marcus Armytage's tip: The Lir Jet

01:02 PM

1.50pm result

  1. Dandalla 13/2

  2. Setarhe 11/4

  3. Mother Earth 10/3

12:59 PM

Dandalla wins!

Off they go after plenty of late money for Setarhe, which means she goes off at favourite. Ventura Vision refused to enter the stalls so it's a field of 13. Flying Aletha and Follow Suit are prominent in the early stages. But it's Dandalla who sweeps into the lead at the one-furlong pole. And her advantage only grows. Setarhe finishes fast, but far too late, and has to make do with a distant second.

12:52 PM

It's all new to me

There are 14 of these fillies lining up for this one. Only one of them - rank outsider Bonne Vitesse - has managed to run twice already this month, with all of the others making just their second start today. Plenty of them won first time out.

12:48 PM

Windy

ITV Racing commentator Richard Hoiles says the headwind in the horses' faces down the straight is noticeably stronger than in previous days.

12:42 PM

Albany odds

  • Mother Earth 11/4

  • Golden Melody 9/2

  • Setarhe 11/2

  • Dandalla 8/1

  • Willabell 17/2

  • Flying Aletha 9/1

  • Mahale 10/1

  • Undertake 16/1

  • Valpolicella 22/1

  • Cirrus 25/1

Can American trainer Wesley Ward get off the mark this week in this race with Flying Aletha? She is being ponied down to the start, as happens regularly in the US but rarely in Britain. If you're backing her check out the latest Royal Ascot free bets offers.

12:31 PM

Race 2 preview - 1.50pm

1.50 Albany Stakes (6f, Group Three, 2yo fillies)

MOTHER EARTH shaped very well on debut, and should take a big step forward from her first run. Willabell needs to take a big step up from her first run to figure here, but John Gosden has an excellent recent record with his juveniles at Royal Ascot, and she is respected. Golden Melody was an easy winner of her first start, and can be in the shake-up, with Flying Aletha sure to give her a good tow into the race from stall three.

Marcus Armytage's tip: Valpolicella

12:23 PM

Destined for more

That was a hugely impressive victory to start the day. One that certainly suggests Art Power is destined for Group company. Certainly too good for the field he took on today.

12:22 PM

1.15pm result

  1. Art Power 6/4

  2. Keep Busy 6/1

  3. Dancin Inthestreet 9/1

  4. Lambeth Walk 33/1

12:19 PM

Art Power wins!

And they're off for the opener. There are 21 of them for this 5f sprint and Art Power is very prominent from the outset alongside Never Dark and Keep Busy. But is anything going to get past Art Power? Not a chance. The market was correct. Far too good for them and he wins by three lengths.

12:07 PM

Strong favourite

There's plenty of money for Art Power here, with the favourite now backed into 7/4. He's had three runs in his career and won last time out at Newcastle on the very first day that racing returned after its hiatus.

12:03 PM

Betting for the opener

"This could well be a Group horse in a handicap," is the comment being banded about around Art Power, the favourite for this race.

  • Art Power 2/1

  • Keep Busy, Dancin Inthestreet 7/1

  • City Walk, Never Dark 11/1

  • Maystar 12/1

  • Mighty Spirit 14/1

  • Rayong 18/1

  • Golden Dragon, Classy Moon 22/1

If you fancy having an each-way flutter at some point today, have a look at our guide to the best Royal Ascot day four offers to see which bookies are paying the most extra places on every race.

11:43 AM

Race 1 preview - 1.15pm

For every race at Royal Ascot, we will bring you our tipster Marlborough's preview, along with our racing correspondent Marcus Armytage's selection.

1.15 Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap (5f, 3yo)

Open race, a lot will depend on how some of these handle the ever-changing conditions. MIGHTY SPIRIT looks on a good mark based on the pick of her juvenile form, and finally made the breakthrough to win on her last start of 2019; she looks potentially well-drawn in stall 22. Art Power has done little wrong in three starts, and rates a big danger. City Walk looks well weighted for his first try in handicap company, and looks an each-way chance.

Marcus Armytage's tip: Art Power

11:40 AM

Lunch for two

It must be very strange for the trainers and select people who are allowed at Ascot this week. It's such a vast space and so few people to fill it.

Trainers Maureen and William Haggas watch the bank of TV screens inside the grandstand while having their lunch - PA
Trainers Maureen and William Haggas watch the bank of TV screens inside the grandstand while having their lunch - PA

11:27 AM

Top jockey

The battle for leading jockey has been fascinating this week. Jim Crowley was a 25/1 shot beforehand, but has ridden an astonishing six winners in the first three days. He has only two rides today, but one of them is Hardwicke Stakes favourite Elarqam.

Here are the current leading jockey odds: Jim Crowley 1/2, Ryan Moore 9/4, James Doyle 10/1, Frankie Dettori 16/1.

11:15 AM

Here's what we have in store

11:11 AM

The penultimate day

Hello and welcome to day four of Royal Ascot. Not to start on a downer or anything but... surely nothing today can match watch we saw from Stradivarius yesterday. It would take something truly spectacular for that third Gold Cup victory not to be the highlight of the week.

The way Frankie Dettori was looking around him with bemusement four furlongs from home as if to ask the other jockeys why they were already struggling, the manner in which the horse sidled up to share the lead halfway down the home straight and the turn of foot as soon as Frankie pulled the trigger entering the final furlong. Whoosh.

It was spectacular. And not something anyone is likely to forget for some time.

But that was then. This is now.

Let's begin by fueling the racing fan's obsession and bringing an update on the going. The news is that there has been minimal rain overnight and this morning at Ascot, which means yet another change in the official going:

The reason for the discrepancy between the two courses is because the straight was relaid 15 years ago - and thus drains far quicker - but the loop used for the longer races was not.

Today's feature race, the Commonwealth Cup, is a 6f sprint, taking place on the straight course, so good-to-soft is in verdict. Should the rain stay away, expect it to dry out further today and tomorrow.

That race is for three-year-olds and Lope Y Fernandez (who was third in the recent Irish 2,000 Guineas) is favourite. The Hardwicke Stakes beforehand is also an interesting race, with last year's Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck in the line-up. He is yet to win since his success at Epsom, although he has fared well in some big races around the world.

As usual, there are seven races today with the first at 1.15pm. 

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