Royal Ascot - Day three preview

Liber Nauticus ridden by Ryan Moore (centre) go on to win the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes during the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes Day of the 2013 Dante Festival at York Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 15, 2013. See PA story RACING York. Photo credit should read: John Giles/PA Wire

Liber Nauticus ridden by Ryan Moore (centre) go on to win the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes during the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes Day of the 2013 Dante Festival at York Racecourse. PRESS ASSOCATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 15, 2013. See PA story RACING York. Photo credit should read: John Giles/PA Wire

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Ladies’ Day is guaranteed to attract huge crowds -- and they might just witness the first lady to win the big race, the Gold Cup (3.45), since 1991. Sir Michael Stoute’s ESTIMATE, owned by The Queen, is progressive and talented and has already won at Ascot twice. Her biggest dangers could be another track specialist, SIMENON, handled by Irish genius Willie Mullins, who won twice at the meeting last year, and German outsider EARL OF TINSDAL.

The day opens with a 5f dash for two-year-olds, the Norfolk Stakes (2.30), in which Aidan O’Brien’s COACH HOUSE should take all the beating. The pick of the home contingent might be COULSTY, for Richard Hannon, and SAAYERR, for William Haggas.

Ireland might also claim the Ribblesdale Stakes (3.05) -- but not, for once, via O’Brien. Instead ALIVE ALIVE OH, trained by Tommy Stack, is a raging fancy for what is a fascinating race for improving middle-distance three-year-old fillies. She was incredibly impressive last time and might have just too much for John Gosden’s classy WINSILI and the Cecil challenger, RIPOSTE.

The second half of the programme is all about three-year-old contests -- and superb, if tricky to solve, ones at that. I can’t remember a better renewal of the Britannia Handicap (4.25), which could well feature THREE Group One winners of the future in REMOTE, CAPE PERON and WENTWORTH. The likes of STRING THEORY, SO BELOVED, MARKET TOWN and ENOBLED must be respected too, however.

John Gosden’s Remote might switch instead to the Tercentenary Stakes (5.00) where he would be a warm order. But Marco Botti’s String Theory would also be interesting if he tackled this race too, while ELKAAYED is improving leaps and bounds and capable of making all.

If Stoute and Her Majesty aren’t celebrating after the Gold Cup, they could be after The King George V Handicap (5.35) where BOLD SNIPER has a live chance. The veteran trainer has a fine record in the race, as does Mark Johnston, who saddles the progressive ROYAL SKIES.