Ascot Gold Cup 2015: Mizzou ready to strike Gold if fast ground reveals Rules' flaw


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The Independent Online

If the Royal Ascot ground were soft, or even good, few would be looking beyond Forgotten Rules in today’s Gold Cup. Dermot Weld’s late developing five-year-old won the Long Distance Cup at Ascot last October in deep going and although by no means just a mud-lover, these rattling fast conditions, even if eased a  little by overnight watering, are hardly ideal.

The Irish stayer has impressed everyone with the rapid progress he has made since winning a bumper in April last year, but connections of today’s opponents are taking encouragement from the one perceived chink in his armour.

After watching Forgotten Rules make a successful return to action at Navan last month, Luca Cumani accepted that his own smart stayer Mizzou would be up against it in this afternoon’s Group One race but at least he knows that his colt will handle the underfoot conditions following a convincing win on “good to firm” at Ascot in April.

Mizzou has improved with each step up in distance and there is every reason to believe that this first attempt at two and a half miles will bring about further progress.

Richard Hannon, already upbeat about the prospects of King Of Rooks in the Norfolk Stakes, will be more confident after events on Tuesday when Buratino, brushed aside by his two-year-old by five lengths at Sandown last month, won the Coventry Stakes and Steady Pace, third-placed at  Sandown, finished third again in the Windsor  Castle Stakes.

Juvenile form lines can be notoriously misleading, but this is solid evidence, about as good as it gets. If King Of Rooks is to be beaten, it will probably be by his stablemate Log Out Island, who bolted up on his debut here in April.

Jim Bolger’s high opinion of Pleascach was justified when the filly won the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the trainer is confident that she can be at least as effective over the mile and a half of the Ribblesdale Stakes.

Subsequently bought by Godolphin and still an intended runner in the Irish Derby later this month (second favourite to Derby runner-up Jack Hobbs), Pleascach is the clear pick on form here and should have too much for chief home hope, the promising Pamona.

Trainer Roger Charlton is expecting big things of Time Test after watching him work impressively with the stable’s multiple Group One winner Al Kazeem before cutting down a strong handicap field at Newbury a month ago. This exciting three-year-old is more than ready to step up to Group Three company in the Tercentenary Stakes.