After his gallant second to Snow Sky in the Betway Yorkshire Cup, it’s next stop Royal Ascot for Brown Panther and a second attempt at winning the Gold Cup.
Although Snow Sky always had a slight advantage on the run to the line at York, Brown Panther battled on under a Group 1 penalty, but was unable to close the gap and went down by only half a length.
Following Friday’s result Betfair Sportsbook have pushed Brown Panther out to 10/1 for the Gold Cup, with some firms being far more cautious quoting only 6/1 about Michael Owen’s horse. The market is headed by Forgotten Rules who will make his seasonal reappearance at Navan this afternoon, so the ante-post betting could yet be shaken up further. However, it looks unlikely that Snow Sky will renew rivalry with Brown Panther and the Investec Coronation Cup is a more likely target as Sir Michael Stoute looks to get his 4-year-old ready for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup in November.
Speaking after the race Brown Panther’s trainer Tom Dascome said “It’s all about trying to win the Ascot Gold Cup and we’ll have to change a few things.” Before joking “I’d like to move the start 100yds closer to the finish. We couldn’t believe he wouldn’t stay, so we’ll ride him like he has to put his head in front right on the line.”
Last year Brown Panther was well in the mix to win the stayers crown inside the final furlong before fading to fourth (promoted to 3rd) behind Leading Light and Missunited. But the son of Shirocco reversed those placings at the Curragh when winning the Irish St Leger before going on to win the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan and will be primed for a repeat bid at Ascot next month.
Brown Panther’s best form is over 2 miles and there are some doubts as to whether he can see out the trip over an addtional 4 furlongs in the Gold Cup. But if Dascome’s new tactics can be executed to perfection by jockey Richard Kingscote, then the current best odds of 10/1 with Betfair could look very generous indeed, come Thursday 18th June.