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Three key talking points from Thursday's declarations for Royal Ascot

Will Frankie Dettori be celebrating again after this year's Gold Cup?
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With the 72-hour declarations confirmed for day three of Royal Ascot, Matt Butler takes a look at three key talking points from a star-studded card featuring the Gold Cup.

Bounce more of a concern than opposition?

Seven rivals will take on Stradivarius in an attempt to stop Bjorn Nielsen’s superstar stayer from completing a Gold Cup hat-trick, but only Cross Counter and Technician are rated within 9lb of the six-year-old.

Cross Counter is nearest on official ratings but has been swatted aside by Stradivarius twice, including when fourth in last year’s Gold Cup, and next best Technician has shown his best form in testing conditions, which are unlikely for Thursday’s test.

Stradivarius wins last year's Gold Cup at Ascot

It is arguable that the biggest danger to Stradivarius is himself and the dreaded bounce factor. John Gosden felt Stradivarius would benefit from a prep race and so he dropped him to 1m4f for the Coronation Cup, which was run at hot fractions and won by Ghaiyyath. Frankie Dettori took care of Stradivarius once the winning opportunity was gone, but the favourite will have had only 13 days to recover. Will it be long enough?

Will a future Group 1 winner emerge from the Jersey?

The Jersey Stakes has a niche place as a high-quality seven-furlong race for the Classic generation and, although it is only a Group 3, horses of the highest calibre often progress from the race.

Recent winners Ribchester and Expert Eye are two fine examples and this year’s Jersey has attracted an intriguing 15-runner field.

The likes of unbeaten duo King Leonidas and Mister Snowdon could develop into anything, while Monarch Of Egypt and Celestin set a strong standard.

Bright Devil: bidding to go two out of two in the Chesham Stakes

Chesham to provide two-year-old clues

During the rushed preparation for Royal Ascot, trainers urgently tried to get their precocious two-year-olds out after being denied the useful learning opportunities typically available in April and May.

With all juvenile races pushed towards the rear of the meeting, the Chesham – which ironically has been brought forward from its previous Saturday slot – provides a glimpse of which early two-year-old contests might offer the strongest form lines.

While the Chesham is not guaranteed to offer up a performance as stunning as Pinatubo's victory last year, it will certainly provide some clues for the remainder of the week and early winners Bright Devil, Concessions, First Prophet and Modern News have the chance to remain unbeaten.

Ascot card on Thursday


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It is arguable that the biggest danger to Stradivarius is himself and the dreaded bounce factor
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