Royal Ascot Day 3 Betting Tips: Big Orange can thrive on favourite patch to take the Gold Cup

Atmospheric, colourful, eccentric, flamboyant, quintessential, traditional and tremendous - all are phrases that could readily be used to sum up Gold Cup day here at a piping hot Royal Ascot.

Day three is all about the Group 1 staying contest at 4.20pm, with the Gold Cup worth an eye-watering £226,840 to the winner.

A three-length winner of this race 12 months ago, Aidan O'Brien's Order Of St George is many punters' banker bet of the week, the sole runner in the 14 strong field for the master trainer.

Clear top-rated on a mark of 120, he'll be hard to topple if turning up in the same mood as last year, but there is a nagging doubt that the Order Of St George of here and now isn't quite the same potent force of the last two seasons.

Bear in mind, this undeniably smashing horse has triumphed in just one of his last five starts, and that when dropping down to listed company at Leopardstown last time out.

Albeit, staunch supporters will roll their eyes and point to his magnificent placed effort behind Found in the Arc De Triomphe back in early October, plus his brilliance over this marathon distance.

Even so, he'll have to work hard to bring home the bacon here, with some old adversaries as well as some up-and-coming talent lying in wait.

In this race a year ago the David Simcock inmate, Sheikhzayedroad, toughed it out to be third after being hampered in-running, and he too has to be one for the consideration shortlist.

The last two St Leger winners, Simple Verse and Harbour Law, both grace the race with their presence too.

The one for me though, representing the bang in-form Michael Bell yard, is the tough, consistent, totally gutsy, Big Orange.

Winner of eight of his 23 starts, he has little to find on official ratings and arrives here having won in a canter last time out.

Want further encouragement? Not an issue:

His form figures at at Ascot are a promising 4,1,5, and the way he sees out his races suggests this extra half mile ought not to be a worry.

What's more, last season's Princess Of Wales's Stakes and Goodwood Cup winner (both Group 2's) boasts the following lifetime form figures when running on ground termed as Good to Firm: 4, 1, 1, 1, 1.

At around the 7/1 or 8/1 mark he looks super each way value.

My other wager on a super day's racing comes in the second race on the card, with Benbatl fancied to improve an already good week for the royal blue colours of Godolphin, as he lines up towards the head of the market in the ten furlong Hampton Court Stakes (3.05pm).

Dropping in grade and distance here, he's likely to be much more aggressively ridden than when set a mountain to climb in the Derby, finishing with a rattle to be fifth, beaten only three and a half lengths in the Epsom showpiece.

Prior to that, it's worth recalling his excellent placed efforts in both the Craven and the Dante, as well as the fact he was despatched the 4/1 favourite when second to the talented Permian at York, in the latter of those two assignments.

It's still early days for Benbatl, he didn't see the racecourse as a two-year-old, but he might be seeing the Ascot winners' enclosure as he makes up for lost time.

Godolphin had a red-letter Tuesday, enjoying wins with Ribchester, Barney Roy and Sound And Silence, and they may not be finished just yet...

Back Benbatl to keep the ball rolling. 

Good luck!

Thursday's best bets with Unibet at Royal Ascot:

3.05 - Hampton Court Stakes - 3 Benbatl (win)

4.20 - Gold Cup - 1 Big Orange (each way)