This is a very famous old race and one that has attracted a good field. The mile-and-a-half handicap is worth over £62,000 to the winner and as such some of the biggest stables are represented; William Haggas, Charlie Appleby and John Gosden among others bringing horses from Newmarket.
William Haggas’ four-year-old comes into this race as favourite after winning the Zetland Gold Cup at Redcar, but while the extra distance may help it has to be said he wasn’t impressive enough there to warrant his short price here and he has a wide draw to attempt to combat.
The positives are that his profile overall is one of an improving gelding, he’s bred for this trip, appears to go very well on fast ground and once again has the assistance of man-of-the-moment Danny Tudhope up top.
With not too many miles on the clock we should remember that this horse is bound to carry on improving, he’s just not doing it via sticking religiously to the handicap route and as such he has gone rather overlooked for this race.
The highlights of his busy three-year-old season were a third over these race conditions in a Group 3 behind Cross Counter and Dee Ex Bee as well as a third in a class 2 handicap at Yarmouth.
The trip was a little short and the opposition too hot on his reappearance run behind Regal Reality while the softer ground and slow pace last time at Leicester meant he again didn’t show what he can truly do, though he still ran to an appropriate level for a horse rated 98.
Now that he’s in a fast-paced handicap his level will move up significantly and that’ll make him well-handicapped off this mark, a true force to be reckoned with.
Everything For You
Hugely overpriced as an each-way option at around 50/1 this week; Kevin Ryan’s gelding has mixed it with the likes of First Eleven and Caliburn and while being beaten mostly, he is coming down in the weights a little bit and is likely to peak in these conditions too, meaning he is not without a chance under Shane Gray.
Handicap-wise nothing can touch the form of John Gosden’s runner; an unlucky loser at Royal Ascot last year, a comfortable winner against Ghostwatch and a first-time-out scorer in the ultra-competitive Jorvik Handicap at York this season.
He can still improve more and his form is unsurprisingly working out very well, but his wide draw is a concern as is the fact that while he carries top weight for a reason, others may be just a little better handicapped at this stage.
The only two lingering doubts about this horse are his wide draw and the fact he carries top weight and if either of those had been different on the day he’d have been the selection without doubt.
A Godolphin colt by Camelot who should love this trip in theory, though when tasked with running over it last time at the Royal meeting he took a slight step back from the form of his seasonal reappearance at York over a mile-and-a-quarter.
It could just be that 1m2f is his forte, but even if that’s not true the comparative form of the respective York handicaps contested by he and First Eleven tends to put his rival in a better light and so significant improvement could be needed.
He has an inside draw and his trainer Sir Michael Stoute is legendary at improving older horses, so with those things taken into account this son of Cacique must have some sort of a chance.
He’s been far from his best in two runs so far this season however and that is of some concern, so we’d be taking a chance on him suddenly returning to form and that could be quite a leap.
We’re not as keen on the form of Lucius Tiberius and Al Muffrih as many others so don’t see them as strong options, while chances would need to be taken on Melting Dew and long-shot Everything For You with neither looking worth the risk.
First Eleven is rock solid but has to overcome that wide draw, while BOMBYX remains very interesting and unlike the others appears to have been doing some good work away from the handicaps and thus looking after his mark which could make all the difference today.