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Timeform Sectional Debrief: Gold Cup

25 Jun 2015

After Trip to Paris's golden triumph at Royal Ascot, Timeform have taken a look at the sectional debriefs from the Gold Cup.

Trip to Paris is the surprise winner of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Picture courtesy of Racingfotos.com.

For a race that is an outlier in distance terms, and which has been described as an anachronism, the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot is in remarkably good health. Field sizes have dipped below double figures only twice this century, and a dozen lined up for the 2015 edition despite some notably fast ground conditions.

The race did not disappoint, either, with the entire field covered by no more than 10 lengths at the three-furlong marker. A few fell away quickly from that point, but there were still nine in with some sort of a shout approaching the final furlong, before Trip To Paris forged through near the rail to settle the matter.

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Such a wide-open finish owed plenty to an earlier pace that was far from exacting, one result of which was a poor overall time.

Timeform’s manually-taken closing sectionals show that the stayers were finishing nearly as quickly as good horses at much shorter distances earlier in the week. Trip To Paris’ 36.09s last-three furlongs was faster than all but first and second in Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes for classic milers!

Trip To Paris had shown a smart turn of foot on a couple of occasions earlier in the year, when winning the Chester Cup with a telling late burst, and when beating all bar Vent de Force in a slowly-run Henry II Stakes at Sandown (sectionals made him best in that race).

Both those races, and all races on the first three days of this year’s Royal Ascot (plus numerous others), may be purchased as part of Timeform’s unique sectional archive, by the way. 

Sectionals also confirm that Scotland did a lot of late running (same last-three-furlong time as Trip To Paris) and can be rated alongside the second on the day, at least in sectional terms. That second, Kingfisher, encountered plenty of trouble in running, and was coming back for more at the death, so he, too, can be considered better than the result, though for a different reason.

The favourite, Forgotten Rules, had no excuses in sectional terms, close up and even leading for much of the penultimate furlong, though he had been a doubtful runner due to ground conditions beforehand.

Times don’t tell the whole story, of course, and Trip To Paris is probably capable of running to a figure higher than that 113. But it would seem that he is still a bit behind Snow Sky and Brown Panther, the one-two in May’s first leg of the QIPCO British Champions Long-Distance Series, the Betway Yorkshire Cup.

Snow Sky drops in distance for Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes, while Brown Panther is injured. There is room for something to make a proper mark on the staying division in the months ahead. The third leg of the British Champions Long-Distance Series is the Qatar Goodwood Cup on 30 July.