my thoughts and bets for york - saturday 23/8/2014

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my thoughts and bets for york - saturday 23/8/2014

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2:05 Betfred Play Today’s £2Million+ Scoop6 Strensall Stakes

A Group 3 race run over 1m1f which formerly took place at York’s first September Meeting, the Strensall Stakes was switched to the Ebor Festival in 2009. When it was run as a Listed race it was won by the future Breeders’ Cup Mile winner, Opening Verse (1989), and the future four-time Group 1 winner, Muhtarram (1993), but nothing of their calibre has been successful in ten runnings as a Group 3 event. Godolphin have made a habit of winning this prize since it became a Group 3 race having been successful in six of the ten runnings since the upgrade (and also in 1995) but they are unrepresented this year.

It is probably best just to concentrate on runnings since the race’s promotion as we should be dealing with a different class of horse and it’s been a bit of a struggle for three-year-olds since then posting just one win from 21 contenders. There can be no argument, however, that they enjoyed far more success when it was a Listed race winning on eight occasions in the preceding 14 years. Maybe it is coincidence, maybe it is harder for them to beat older horses at Group level? Just Lady Lara represents three-year-olds this year and she has it all to do being bottom rated of the seven runners but arguably her best run did come at York when beaten ¾l in a Listed race for fillies and mares at the Dante Meeting.

York form has been well represented by winners recently as two of the last three winners had won on the Knavesmire earlier in the season plus Echo Of Light was a dual winner of this contest in 2006/07 and the 2005 winner, Mullins Bay, had finished second on his previous start which was in the Wolferton Stakes when Royal Ascot was transferred to York. Farraaj won the valuable John Smith’s Cup here on his last start and in doing so he became the officially the highest-ever rated winner of that prize when striking off a handicap mark of 111. That win has seen his rating rise to 116 which puts him 2lb clear on official figures of the second top-rated, Graphic. Those who sat close to the pace in the John Smith’s Cup dominated the race so Farrajj was in the right place but he is a solid, uncomplicated, genuine horse who is still improving and he will take the beating here as a consequence and he is the right favourite for sure. Eight of the ten winners since the upgrade started favourite or second-favourite.

The William Haggas-trained Graphic also has York-winning form having won a handicap here last autumn and he has been most progressive since then posting two wins and two second places this season. He did look he appreciated some cut in the ground in his first two starts this season but he handled Good ground well when second to the classy Elite Army (was St Leger second-favourite until an jury ruled him out) and then when making all and quickening up well to win a weak Group 3 at Maisons-Laffitte last time out for which he started odds-on. His stable won this race in 2011 and have been in cracking form at this meeting but Graphic does have a 4lb penalty for winning that weak Group 3 and Echo Of Light is the only winner since the upgrade to have won under a penalty though only eight horses have tried. The other penalised runner is Custom Cut who picked up his 4lb penalty when following up Listed race successes at Windsor and Pontefract with a Group 3 victory at Leopardstown on soft ground so David O’Meara’s charge is chasing a four-timer. He has been busy this season as this will be his ninth start since he switched stables from Ireland and, on the first of those, he was a length behind Graphic at the Lincoln Meeting on soft ground and they meet on the same terms today. I just fear the ground could be too lively for him under a penalty. The third previous course winner is Trade Storm, the oldest of the septet aged six who won the 1m handicap at this meeting two years ago. He developed into a smart horse in Meydan during the spring of 2013 which encouraged connections to shoot for the stars in Group 1s but he has just dropped off that pace a little since then and his last run was a decent one when a ½l second to Professor in a conditions race.

Foreign raiders complete the sextet as Mike De Kock runs Flying The Flag and David Marnane sends over Elleveal. Flying The Flag has not run since winning the four-runner International Stakes at the Irish Derby Meeting 421 days ago when trained by Aidan O’Brien. He escapes a penalty for that Group 3 success as it was so long ago but the fact he has left Ballydoyle and his long absence suggests he has had problems and it is anyone’s guess how much ability he retains and how straight he will be. His form also leaves him 6lb to find with Farraaj so he makes little appeal. Elleval represents David Marnane who has done so well with his British raids but he does have 7l to find on his running behind Custom Cut last time out at Pontefract and they meet on the same terms today so it’s interesting they fancy travelling over to want to take him on again. The balance of his form says he is not good enough though.

CONCLUSION - Farraaj will be tough to beat if he is in the same form as for his John Smith’s Cup win and Graphic looks the one to give him most to do.

2:40 Betfred Melrose Handicap

There are no strong weight or draw stats to talk of but, despite its competitive edge of late, no winner since Riddlestown 2000 has been returned at bigger than 10/1 and he was the beneficiary of Jardine’s Lookout being disqualified so maybe concentrate on those towards the head of the market. Certainly a more competitive three-year-old 1m6f handicap these days with 94 runners in the last six years compared to 49 in the previous five years and that is certainly the case again as 19 have been declared for what is regarded as the most prestigious 3yo staying handicap of the season.

The best guide has been the Jaguar Handicap at Glorious Goodwood won by Double Bluff or, if you are from my generation as it has had a few name changes down the years, you may know is at the old Extel Handicap that Luca Cumani used to farm in the 1980s. Four of the last 11 Melrose winners contested that heritage handicap at Goodwood finishing 7325 and its representatives this year are Fun Mac (5th) and Adventure Seeker (6th). Fun Mac ran well on good-to-firm ground that day having twice been a non-runner due to a quick surface and, being German-bred, there is reason to believe he can improve for this extra 2f given their breeding is all about stamina (there are no Group 1 races in Germany short of 1m4f for example). Any easing in the ground would also help his chance. Adventure Seeker plugged on well enough for sixth on the fastest ground he had ever encountered so he too is a potential improver for a longer trip and not so quick a surface. That was also his first run since he won a 15-runner handicap at the Dante Meeting so we know he can do it in a big field at York.

Another potential angle in is looking to horses that were unraced at two and therefore can be argued to have more improvement to come than their more experienced rivals as four of the last 12 winners, from limited representation, were not given their racecourse debut until their three-year-old season. The 2007 winner, Speed Gifted, was only having his third career run and last year’s winner ran just once at two. Connecticut, From Frost and Mantou fit the profile. Luca Cumani has also won two of the last nine runnings of the Melrose (and supplied the third who started favourite last year in Havana Cooler) so these kind of handicaps for later-maturing, staying types are still right up his street and he saddles the highly-progressive top weight, Connecticut, who I have little doubt is a Group horse in time. This is only his fifth start and he has won his last three including a very ready success when upped to 1m4f at Newmarket last time after winning at this course and he is up another 2f today. Andrew Balding has been knocking on the door of late in the Melrose with three placed runners in the last six years and runs From Frost who is tried in a visor for the first time. He too is only having his fifth start after winning twice on the all-weather to start his career by 9l and 6l but he has struggled since being reassessed by the Handicapper. Mantou is taking a big step up in distance from 1m2f after winning at Newcastle just eight days ago bypassing 1m4f altogether so there is too much guesswork there for me.

What the last 15 winners all had in common was having notched up a victory earlier in the season but as all 19 in today’s line up have managed that feat, we have no extra help there. However, eight of those won on their most recent outing which brings in Rocket Ship, Our Gabrial, Battersea, Penhill, Fiery Sunset and Uradel in addition to Connecticut and Mantou. The French import, Uradel, is having his first start for Willie Mullins who has booked Paul Hanagan for this German-bred winner of a race at Chantilly last time out in early June over 1m4f. The fact Mullins sends him over on his debut for him is interesting enough and especially so if he can improve for this step up in trip and, being German-bred, there is every chance of that. A handicap mark of 84 has been given to him on his French form but we know how much Mullins can improve horses from other yards. Battersea represents Roger Varian who has progressed with each of his three starts this season culminating with a win at Ascot over 1m4f and the way he stayed on suggested he would relish this extra 2f so he is another I have time for. After recording three consecutive second-place finishes Rocket Ship has come good and he is now chasing a hat-trick for Sir Michael Stoute who has saddled three runner-up positions (one of which was the subsequent Group 1 winner, Ask) and a winner in the last 12 runnings of the Melrose having also won the 1996 renewal. Rocket Ship’s two wins in July and August were by 11 lengths (at 1/7 in a bad maiden) and 4l at Pontefract for which he has been raised 9lb so he will have to be seriously progressive to overcome that against 18 rivals. Penhill is also on a hat-trick after wide-margin wins at Thirsk off 77 and Ripon off 83 over 1m4f since finishing fourth behind Connecticut here in June. He is up another 6lb here in a much better race. Our Gabrial is off a 6lb higher mark for winning a Shergar Cup race two weeks ago so connections have turned to Jack Garritty to offset 5lb of that. Fiery Sunset’s last-time-out win came in a Lingfield maiden under Richard Hughes. Daniel Muscott takes 5lb off his back today.

Of the remaining octet, Captain Morley makes most appeal. He has not run since third to the classy Elite Army at Royal Ascot where he got motoring too late over 1m4f so this step up in trip can be in his favour. I am not sure the other seven are progressive enough.

CONCLUSION - I like too many so cutting a short list to even four was a problem and they are Uradel, Adventure Seeker, Battersea and Connecticut.

3:15 Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Gimcrack Stakes

In a bid to add more variety to the Saturday of the Ebor Festival, the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes was moved to the final day last year in tandem with a notable increase in prize money upped from £150,000 to £200,000 doubtless in a bid to increase the quality of runners in the hope that would ultimately lead it to becoming York’s first Group 1 two-year-old race and it has certainly attracted good numbers this year as 11 have been declared to the usual half dozen or so in previous years. If that happens to be the case then that would fit in ideally as the Saturday is the only day of the Ebor Festival that does not host a Group 1 race. Just two favourites have won in the last 14 years.

The Gimcrack went through a dodgy stage between 1994-2000 with five of the seven winners not only being beaten on their previous start but beaten in non-pattern races. It was during that period when Royal Applause completed the Coventry-Gimcrack double but, in 18 runnings since his victory in 1995, only two winners had already already won a Group race (Rock Of Gibraltar and Approve) and possessed the class to overcome their penalty and none had won a Listed race. That said, of the 12 horses that have tried to defy a penalty since Royal Applause, five of those finished second (424726281226) so I would only consider it a small negative. I highlight this as the Norfolk (Group 3) and Woodcote (Listed) winner, Baitha Alga, is likely to start favourite trying to give a 3lb penalty to all ten of his rivals. The Hannon stable have four Gimcrack successes to their name but none since Bannister in 2000 from 13 runners since their last victory. Baitha Alga’s Norfolk form hasn’t worked out well with all runners being a combined 1-11 since and that sole win was an odds-on success in a maiden so it wasn’t a good running of that 5f Group 3 race where he has Ahlan Emarati back in third with the odds-on The Great War a disappointing fifth. We know Baitha Alga stays 6f though as he won the Woodcote. Ahlan Emarati has since finished second to Kool Kompany in a Group 2 and fourth to Highland Reel in another Group 2 and is back to 6f here.

With regards to Group and Listed races over the last 26 years, the two most notable guides by a significant margin are fellow Group 2 events over 6f; the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the July Stakes at Newmarket. Eleven of the last 26 winners ran at Royal Ascot with the Coventry narrowly holding the edge featuring seven Gimcrack winners with finishing positions of 3116438 over the July Stakes with six winners and finishing positions of 114254. This bodes well for Jungle Cat who was third in the Coventry Stakes before finishing second in the July Stakes where Muhaarar was one place back in third (also third in a weaker race next time out at Ascot) and The Great War disappointed again back in sixth. No other race in the last quarter of a century has featured more than two Gimcrack winners. The Great War is trained by Aidan O’Brien who has twice won the Gimcrack but not since Rock Of Gibraltar in 2001. Don’t let that absence of a more recent success fool you however as Ballydoyle have only sent three contenders over in the subsequent 13 years including last year’s runner-up, and another also finished second when relatively unfancied. You would have to be of a very forgiving nature to back The Great War on the evidence of his last two starts though. Jungle Cat was no match for a second time against Ivawood at Glorious Goodwood, a meeting that saw Beacon not get the best of rides as Hughes admitted himself when going down by ¾l when odds-on for the Molecomb over 5f. Mind you, he didn’t pick up like he did at Sandown on his previous start which makes me wonder whether he would prefer a stiff finish and this will be lightning.

William Haggas (unrepresented this year) and Kevin Ryan have been the trainers to follow in recent seasons and Ryan has won the Gimcrack with Amadeus Wolf (2005), Blaine (2012) and Astaire (2013) and saddled two other placed horses to boot. His contender this season is Teruntum Star who looks up against it however having recorded one win from three starts (at 4-1 ON) and beaten by 1¾l at odds-on last time by the unbeaten-in-two Fendale representing Brian Smart. Fendale won well 15 days ago despite running green so he is likely to improve again in general terms and maybe also for the extra furlong. Tommy Stack’s Accepted has the same profile being 2-2 following up a short-head maiden win at The Curragh over 6f by justifying favouritism in a Tipperary Listed race over 5f despite racing widest of all in the centre when the rail was favoured so that win can be marked up. His trainer has won with two of the nine 2yos he has run in Britain over the last five years.

Six of the last 16 winners contested a maiden race on their last start of which three arrived here off the back of just one run and Glenalmond will be attempting to do likewise for the Karl Burke stable having a good Ebor Meeting. He made a winning debut by ½l 33 days ago when beating just four rivals at Ayr so this is a huge leap but he cost £100,000 being a full brother to Wootton Bassett who won the big sales race at this meeting and then a Group 1 in France. The maiden, Aussie Ruler, completes the field.

CONCLUSION - I am concerned the Norfolk form isn’t that strong and Baitha Alga has a penalty for winning it so maybe the unbeaten pair of Accepted and Fendale offer better value. Jungle Cat looks very likely to his race and be thereabouts for any place-only punters.

3:50 Betfred Ebor

Historically the Ebor had been one of the more punter-friendly big handicaps of the Flat season but with Mudawin scoring at 100/1 in 2006 and three of the next seven winners sent off at 25/1 (though it should be noted that Purple Moon also won as 7/2 favourite in 2007), things have got a lot tougher for punters of late which has coincided with the handicap becoming more condensed. Formerly a strong trends race but with high-drawn, fairly highly-weighted, Irish and unfancied horses winning in recent seasons, most of the stronger negative trends have been blown out of the water making this a far more difficult race to nail down than during the 1990s when the Ebor was a trends-punter’s dream. We should certainly be looking to horses that have put a recent big run on the board as 17 of the last 20 winners had won or finished second on either of their last two starts something which is against the likes of Gabrial, Aussie Reigns, Great Hall and Elidor.

Four of the last ten winners ran at Glorious Goodwood, three of which won and the other was placed which is a positive for Van Percy who has picked up a 4lb penalty for his narrow victory at that meeting over Havana Cooler (Repeater back in 11th) who was a leading Ebor contender at the time but he could only get in as second reserve so it is doubtful that he will get a run. After that win, Andrew Balding commented that Van Percy prefers fast ground and he would be more at home on a flat track so all is set up for him to run well again.

Just two winners since Sea Pigeon won back in 1979 as a nine-year-old have been aged over five (and they were both six-year-olds) and one of those was Sergeant Cecil who won the Northumberland Plate, Ebor and Cesarewitch in successive races, so it is fair to argue that two of the last three Ebor winners aged 6+ were extraordinary racehorses and why I find it tough to support a horse aged six or older so the top weight, Whiplash Willie, who would prefer some cut is not for me. The other older horses are harder to dismiss though as the classy dual purpose horse, Clever Cookie, has taken a shine to York winning twice here this season, De Rigeur has won his last two races including a neck defeat of the favourite, Pallasator, and the Irish raider, Ted Veale, was fourth in this race last year and is off just a 1lb higher mark but with a 7lb claimer on this unlike 12 months ago. The Irish have won three of the last 13 runnings from less than 10% representation.

There is still a weight-based angle but it is certainly not as strong as in the past as the Ebor has become a far more condensed handicap in recent seasons and only 9lb covers the field for a second year running. A good example of this would be that only three winners between 1983-2003 carried over 9st but six of the last ten winners have carried 9st or more. All that said, if we just consider just the last 11 years then there is a leaning towards horses carrying 8st12lb or less as they lead their higher-weighted rivals 6-5 despite being outnumbered almost 2:1. The last six winners (and eight of the last nine) were officially rated between 94 and 101 and that might be the better angle which means from De Rigeur downwards even if the bottom weight is rated as high as 98 this year. That means the top eight in the weights have a toughish task on which includes the favourite, Pallasator, despite only picking up a 4lb penalty for a 2l victory over Double Bluff last time out, form that was franked when the runner-up then won at Glorious Goodwood. His trainer, Sir Mark Prescott, has been responsible for a winner, second and fourth from his six runners stretching back to 1994 and that is part reason why he is trading as short as just 3/1. The Irish raider, Mutual Regard, the Chester Cup winner, Suegioo, and the Royal Ascot second and John Smith’s Cup third, Bold Sniper, are also trying to become just the second winner in ten years to be rated over 101 beforehand.

It doesn’t look as if Havana Cooler will get a run but Luca Cumani is still represented by Sir Walter Scott having just his four career start and he shaped with some promise on his only start this season in a Listed race at Newbury will should have sharpened him up. Cumani’s record is phenomenal for a big handicap with eight of his last 12 runners finishing in the first six including three winners. Saeed Bin Suroor has won two of the last six runnings (if you include the replacement race at Newbury) and he runs Wadi Al Hattawi who won at the Dante Meeting before not getting a clear run when seventh in a Royal Ascot handicap.

Of the remaining quartet it is the Lady Cecil-trained pair of Mighty Yar and Retirement Plan that appeal most as the stable bids for consecutive wins following Tiger Cliff’s victory last year. It will be a relief to Mighty Yar’s ante-post backers that he squeezed in off bottom weight as there was a lot to like about his second to the highly progressive Kings Fete here last time out having slipped coming out of the stalls. He disappointed on his previous start but he had earlier beaten Miss Marjurie (then won at Epsom on Derby Day), Amralah (then won two Group races), Salutation (then placed at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood) and Van Percy (won at Glorioius Goodwood) into second, third, fourth and fifth at the Guineas Meeting so that is very solid handicap form. Retirement Plan has picked up a 4lb penalty for his won at the Shergar Cup two weeks ago but I prefer Mighty Yar. The field is comprised of Nearly Caught who has not run for three months since finishing second over 2m and Dare To Achieve who has not run since disappointing in an Epsom handicap on Derby day.

CONCLUSION - Pallasator is very short so Mighty Yar appeals most at the prices ahead of Van Percy and I like my dear old friend Ted Veale’s each-way chance despite being older than ideal.

4:25 Julia Graves Roses Stakes

A Listed race over 5f for two-year-olds which features six colts and four fillies in receipt of 5lb. Fillies have two of the last three runnings and Al Fareej has chances of extending that recent record on her second place in the St Hugh’s Stakes (Listed) last weekend with Rosie’s Premiere back in fifth having run down the field in the Queen Mary Stakes on her previous start. However, Littlemissblakeney has a better chance if we take the view she failed to stay on her first attempt at 6f last time out as she previously finished ahead of Al Fareej when fifth in the Queen Mary only beaten 2¾l by Alexander Anthem and Tiggy Wiggy. Horsforth arrives here off a win at maiden win at Beverley after four defeats so is hard to fancy.

Of the six colts, it is the Norfolk Stakes runner-up, Mind Of Madness, that is top rated but horses from that contest are a combined 1-11 since (and that was odds-on in a maiden) so it was a poor Norfolk. Mind you, if the Norfolk winner, Baitha Alga, wins the Gimcrack under a penalty that view will have to be revised and would have a positive knock-on effect for Mind Of Madness’ chance. The unbeaten-in-two Showing Character has to be respected and has a similar form chance to Al Fareej judged on the way she easily beat Rosie’s Premiere at Chester last time out. Surprisingly this is a race to have eluded the Hannon’s in the last decade and they try to change that with Cool Strutter who has improved with all three starts culminating with a convincing win at Sandown earlier this month showing plenty of early pace and he took some pulling up afterwards. Moonraker made a winning debut over 5f at Ascot where he beat Mubtaghaa who won the valuable sales race here on Thursday so that form received a huge boost but then probably found himself outclassed in the Richmond Stakes over 6f behind Ivawood. The fact Mick Channon even sent him there has to be viewed as a positive and he wasn’t disgraced in that Group 2 and dropping back down to 5f and Listed class with Ryan Moore in the saddle gives him an obvious chance.

Commander Patten doesn’t look good enough judged on any of his six runs and Lightscameraction who made a winning debut and is running quickly enough after a crack at a Listed race at Deauville last weekend when placing fourth as favourite.

CONCLUSION - Littlemissblakeney appeals as best of the fillies and Moonraker as best of the colts but take note if Baitha Alga wins the Gimcrack regards Mind Of Madness’ chance.

5:00 Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap

Another ridiculously difficult handicap, this one featuring 19 runners over around 1m2f where Awake My Soul, Whispering Warrior, Silver Rime and Lyn Valley bid to follow up last-time-out successes. Awake My Soul has top weight after a very easy win at Ayr 12 days ago, Whispering Warrior was third to two classy horses in Kings Fete and Mighty Yar here last month before winning at Doncaster and has a C/D win to his credit, Silver Rime is now nine so will do well to follow up his Carlisle win in a much hotter race and Lyn Valley is just one of two three-year-olds and was apparently the stable number one according to Mark Johnston after he beat his shorter-priced stablemate, Rainbow Rock, in a very competitive handicap at Glorious Goodwood. The other three-year-old is Braidley was 1¾ back in fourth that day so he is also bang in this handicap with a chance.

In addition to Whispering Warrior, other C/D winners in the line up are Tres Coronas who was also second to the Ebor fancy Clever Cookie here at the Dante Meeting and is only 2lb higher but has run poorly twice since and Maven who isn’t hiding much from the Handicapper on his 45th start. Llanarmon Lad interests me more than both after he was second at Epsom and since then he finished first, third and second improving or maintaining his official rating each time so he remains progressive. Brian Ellison now turns to Ryan Moore again who won on him at Newmarket at the end of June. Stall 6 couldn’t be much better. Queensberry Rules has become somewhat of a talking horse without delivering but William Haggas is flying so I wouldn’t dismiss him out of hand and neither would I regards Richard Fahey’s Spirit Of The Law who won here in June and has since run two good races in defeat including in a premier handicap at The Curragh.

Of the other nine contenders, the pair that appeal most are Ajman Bridge and Raskova. Ajman Bridge was one of a number of handicappers that went close at Glorious Goodwood for Luca Cumani without winning and he has gone up 4lb for finishing second which is fair enough given it was a competitive 18-runner handicap. He is lightly raced enough to overcome that and has a nice draw in stall 3. Raskova has found one too good on his last two starts since winning at Nottingham, one of them to Charles Camoin who has run below form in three subsequent starts, but it was no disgrace to finish second to the Yorkshire Oaks third, Tasaday, here last time out in a Listed race.

CONCLUSION - Llanarmon Lad, Ajman Bridge and Whispering Warrior appeal most in another very competitive handicap.

5:35 Qipco Future Stars Apprentice Handicap

The closing race of the meeting is the least interesting being a 3yo sprint handicap over 5f for apprentice riders so I will keep this brief and like virtually every other handicap at this meeting, it looks a mine field.

Kevin Ryan’s sprinters have been in fine form at this meeting and his Online Alexander looks to have as good a chance as any and I think she should start favourite. A ready winner at Glorious Goodwood last time out off 86, she looks very fast so York should suit and she looks very capable of defying a 7lb rise with Kevin Stoot helping to take 3lb of that off. After that victory Amy Ryan described her as “a very classy filly” who they felt could earn some black type. This will also be just her seventh start so there is plenty more to come. Ryan might supply her main danger in the hat-trick chasing Searchlight. True, those two successes were both in four-runner races at Bath so this is a totally different kettle of fish but he won both times with authority. I wouldn’t put it beyond Ryan to win this race with Lexington Abbey either who has run well on his last three starts but his fourth contender, Sleeper King, has been out of form all season and they now turn to a visor for the first time.

Royal Mezyan is the one I like most outside of the Ryan squad for William Haggas who won this race two years ago. He has only had one start this season when seventh here in the valuable 3yo sprint handicap in June over 6f and is back to 5f like for all his runs as a two-year-old which included winning a maiden on this course by 6l. Sixth in last year’s Norfolk Stakes, this looks his trip. Innocently is a course-and-distance winner trained by David O’Meara who also commands respect as he arrives here in form having beaten Lexington Abbey 1½l at Ripon last time out. A horse who shows lots of early pace, this fast course should suit like when he made all to win here last summer. Eccleston and Rural Celebration also represent O’Meara and they both ran down the field here in June in that big 3yo handicap in which Royal Mezyan was seventh. Preference is for the latter who had won his two previous races and has not run since. High On Life’s sequence of four wins came to a shuddering halt last time out and he looks in the Handicapper’s grip now so the other one to catch the imagination is Money Team who beat Online Alexander by a length two starts ago but was only eighth behind her next time at Goodwood so maybe the undulations weren’t to his liking there.

CONCLUSION - Online Alexander, Royal Mezyan, Innocently and Money Team would form my short list.

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