PURE speed will win the day in the contest that opens the third afternoon of action at Royal Ascot, the 1000m Norfolk Stakes, but stamina in abundance is the requirement later in the day when the stayers take to the track for the Gold Cup.
Things didn’t seem to be going to plan for Ryan Moore and Order Of St George for much of the race 12 months ago, but once being asked to close down on the leaders, he made rapid and relentless progress to win going away.
Could he be the next horse to run up a sequence of wins in a contest that his trainer has dominated in recent years? This year’s opposition might just be a shade tougher, though – Big Orange can be a hard horse to pass if getting his own way in front.
Memories of one of the greatest performances seen at this meeting in recent times could be rekindled in the Gr2 Ribblesdale Stakes when Mori, a son of brilliant 2012 Queen Anne winner Frankel and out of six-times Group One winner Midday, lines up in the same Khalid Abdullah silks worn by both of her parents to such distinction.
The Thursday line-up:
The Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
The Hampton Court Stakes (Group 3)
The Ribblesdale Stakes (Group 2)
The Gold Cup (Group 1)
The Britannia Stakes (Heritage Handicap)
The King George V Stakes (Handicap)
-from GBI Racing
-Photo: Order Of St George (owner.co.uk)