This is a smashing addition to the Royal Ascot line-up, one that allows the three-year-olds a chance of success over a mile-and-a-quarter.
All too often runners of this age take up space in a Britannia Stakes they simply don’t have the speed to win, but here we have a line-up of potential ten-furlong specialists and one of them is perhaps a real fox in among the chickens.
This will only be a third career start for Brian Meehan’s runner, a son of Sea The Stars who can backed for a decent season it seems.
While better days may be to come and he is not without a chance in this race at the weights, Cepheus may just be a little inexperienced for this task although it of course doesn’t go unnoticed that he was thrown into the 2000 Guineas for his last start and so he’s clearly well thought of.
Despite a couple of wins at Newcastle, it’s the win by Gallaside at Nottingham that is most important in the context of this race as it came on the turf and with ease in the ground.
In fact Archie Watson’s colt took three races in a row last year and would appear to be one to keep on the right side of overall, the slight downside being that in winning those minor events his rating kept creeping up and it’s not certain now that he’s as well treated as some others in the race.
Rightfully carrying the first colours of Godolphin, Charlie Appleby’s entrant finished last season with a taking nursery win at HQ on heavy ground and is fully fit having just about edged another Newmarket handicap less than two weeks ago.
He is of course going up in the weights but is two from two after being gelded and given that he has close form with Miss Yoda, his current rating of 93 still doesn’t seem to fully reflect his real ability.
Well drawn for Gosden and Dettori in stall 2, this beautiful son of Lope De Vega is set for only his third run but it just may well be that he is too well handicapped to ignore and could be the classic Group horse in a handicap.
After a very fine debut at Chelmsford in the winter many of the big races were mooted for Hypothetical this year and he was thrown straight into the Group 3 Classic Trial at Kempton a fortnight ago. Sent off favourite which tells you plenty, he slightly perplexed connections with an under-par run behind Berlin Tango but he was fourth at the end of the day and it’s certain the experience would have done him the world of good.
Had he won there as expected, he’d be heading to his next race rated something like 110 so now, back on turf, he could be as much as a stone well-in and you get the feeling his publicly circumspect yard absolutely are aware of that.
Another potential improver, Maori Knight went into many a notebook for handicaps when scorching home in a Chelmsford maiden in February and on that form, he’d be among the leading lights in this race.
All of that is noted, but in the interests of balance it must be said that he does not come into this race as a winner having finished runner-up at Haydock and so another chunk of improvement is indeed required to win.
Not Godolphin’s first choice, but still one for the shortlist from stall 1 under the excellent James Doyle. A winner at Kempton last back end and in Dubai a few months ago, some of the better races were being discussed as regards this Dubawi colt and so with more improvement expected he looks potentially overpriced at odds of around 10/1 and over.
For various reasons, plenty will be expected by the yards of Maori Knight, Global Storm and Gallaside, but even if they hit the maximum level expected it in theory shouldn’t be good enough at the weights to lay up with HYPOTHETICAL who is definitely worth backing.
John Gosden, despite being a past master at throwing horses straight up into Group company when they’re good enough, is certainly not averse to allowing them to take in handicaps for which they are particularly well treated and so it’s easy to see this horse scoring before going on into Pattern races later on.