The Gold Cup, a 4000m Group One, seems the obvious form guide for European challengers in November's Melbourne Cup and this year was won in high class fashion by Irish Derby winner and runner-up to Sea The Stars in The Derby, Fame And Glory. To chase home a horse of that calibre says much and Manighar and Brigantin are two who will definitely be aiming for Flemington. David Munro, owner of third home Brigantin, trained in France by Andre Fabre, said after the race, "This horse is coming right into his own now and will hopefully improve from today. The Melbourne Cup is where we would like to go." The Cup is also the intended aim of Manighar, who finished fourth behind Fame And Glory and Opinion Poll. Trainer Luca Cumani said of Manighar, "I think he ran a great race and this soft is okay for him. There were two or three quicker than him in the end, but he has shown today that he belongs in Cup races. I think we were cost third today by exposing too early, perhaps. We don't want to run on fast ground. He will probably be on a plane to the Melbourne Cup in the autumn."
'HARRIS TWEED' at Royal Ascot
Unusually, it was a Group Two over 2400m on the final day that revealed two more Cup contenders. The Hardwicke Stakes was won in impressive fashion by Breeders' Cup bound Await The Dawn, but the second and third home are already preparing for a trip to Flemington.
William Haggas, son-in-law of Lester Piggott and trainer of Harris Tweed, who finished three lengths behind Await The Dawn in second, remarked, "I think the winner will turn out to be a multi Group One winner and we have given him a race, so I couldn't be more thrilled. Maybe Harris Tweed needs the ground, but he stays well and I would like to save him a bit for the autumn because the Melbourne Cup looks quite enticing and he would have to start blood tests for there on Monday.
"My father, who owns and bred this horse, is 80 and I don't think he fancies the trip to Australia as much as his son! But he owns the Harris Tweed company and this horse could run against the New Zealand-bred Harris Tweed, so it would be a good plug for the business!"
Luca Cumani, who knows what's required for Flemington, said of third placed Drunken Sailor, "I'm delighted. He's come a long way from winning handicaps to being placed in a Group Two today. I think the owners are keen for another trip to Australia for the Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup."