Some of the star milers of the future could be lining up in what looks a good Britannia Handicap, stars such as Gosden, Hamdan Al Maktoum and Godolphin all holding strong hands in the race.
It’s a close one on paper as expected, though one potential Group horse who has plenty in his favour would seem to stand out. Here’s the shortlist.
Godolphin’s third colours are carried by this Saeed bin Suroor Dubawi colt and he is not without a place chance despite a far side draw.
After two solid maiden runs against good types last season, he opened his account after the resumption of racing with a comfortable win at Kempton and while he of course needs to improve, he looks the type to do so while Cieren Fallon takes off a valuable three pounds.
After winning at Ascot last season on his juvenile debut it was always felt that John Gosden’s runner was potentially high class, and he may now have been given the chance to prove it while well weighted in a handicap after disappointing last time.
Going off at 1/2 on his seasonal bow at Yarmouth the Qatar Racing colt could only manage second, but the ground that day was very firm which is dead against him and this surface will suit much better.
Looking at not only Muharrar himself but also his early progeny, it seems a bit of juice in the ground is exactly what is needed here so off a mark of only 89 and from a good draw under Oisin Murphy this horse has an outstanding chance of landing the prize.
While Enemy is a shorter price, the second John Gosden runner on our list (he has four in the race in total) is a strangely huge one at the time of writing but it could well be that the two are of very similar ability.
He has only won an average Kempton maiden and been soundly beaten three more times, however he has been highly tried and on a line through the horses he has kept company with he may well outdo this handicap mark of 90, though Jim Crowley has gone for another Hamdan Al Maktoum runner.
Taking in his second run after a wind operation and wearing a tongue tie, there is improvement expected of The Crisford’s well-backed son of Exceed And Excel although it also means he has questions to answer.
Having had that surgery as well as having been gelded, he reappeared this season with a resounding win in a handicap at Haydock but that opposition was nowhere near as strong as what he’ll face here so while he has to make the list, he is also a short price.
William Haggas’ runner took a big step forward when winning a handicap at Newbury recetly, relatively comfortably too considering the narrow winning distance.
Fourth to Derby contender Military March on debut, James Doyle’s mount has always been highly thought of and it’s far from certain that his 5lb penalty will be enough to stop him, though this task from stall 10 is very different to last time.
The last of three John Gosden runners on our list, Godolphin’s first choice in the race and the mount of Frankie Dettori, it is clear that there will be plenty of money for this one and we can see why.
Now having just his fourth career start off a mark of 95, the No Nay Never colt won at Yarmouth on debut before being pitched in too high at Newcastle in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity last November.
Just fourth when favourite at Lingfield on his first start this season, he has shaped as though turf is what is required and ideally not too firm. This now looks the right race to pull the required improvement out of him, however being weighted 5-6lbs higher than the other two Gosden runners who have at least as much potential makes him look a tad less well handicapped.
Johan could yet find the required level to win this although that is not certain, while of the three top Gosden runners Verboten may have it all to do at the weights.
On our figures that leaves Eshaasy at a big price and ENEMY, with on all known evidence there being much more certainty that the latter has what it takes to win this so from a prime draw under a jockey riding at a world class level he gets the nod to take the Britannia.