This mile-and-a-half handicap for the older horses should in theory be easier to solve than the one for three-year-olds, but it’s extremely competitive nonetheless.
A full field of 19 line-up on the round course, with money coming once again for one of the Queen’s runners at the royal meeting.
Both Saeed bin Suroor and Danny Tudhope have been excellent this week, which should come as no surprise whatsoever, and they will fancy their chances again with this overpriced Brilliant Light.
Potentially well drawn in stall 4, he ticks some very obvious boxes for this. He comes into the race in the form of his life, loves fast ground and is by Sea The Stars.
He’ll be going up in trip here which is bound to suit, and if that brings about the required improvement then he is bang in with a chance.
Both William Haggas and Tom Marquand probably envisioned having better weeks than they’ve had thus far, but they each have another outstanding chance here with Candleford.
Improving steadily if not in lumps, this Kingman gelding saw off Coltrane the last time we witnessed him on track and that horse has since gone on to run second in the Chester Cup before winning the Ascot Stakes here earlier in the week.
Fast ground shouldn’t be a worry and he is sure to go well.
This is the Queen’s horse, helped onto the track by the familiar combination for her of Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore.
We don’t want to beat the old ‘improving Stoute four-year-old’ drum, but it really could be the case and it’s certain that the master trainer would have prepared this one to peak today.
He has form with Gaassee which is good to see, the trip and the ground are fine and so it’s all about whether he is well enough handicapped which he looks to be at a glance.
It would be no surprise to see Johnny Murtagh and Ben Coen smiling in the winners’ enclosure again, with Mashoor providing them with a fair chance of doing so.
His win at the Curragh last time was very taking and he posted some good speed figures despite the rain-softened ground.
He goes up in trip here and if that truly suits, he is another who can get competitive.
William Knight’s runner has the look of a real plot horse, one who has been trained specifically to come good on the big day.
Assuming then that he comes good, he will need to significantly outdo his wins at Newbury and Goodwood in the spring as he’s moving up the handicap, but that all looks possible for the last time out beaten favourite.
As well as with Brilliant Light, Godolphin have another big shout and this time with one trained by John and Thady Gosden. Their Trawlerman really does have the best profile on offer here.
In terms of his form, he is a last time out winner over 1¼ miles who will improve plenty for stepping up in trip as a Golden Horn/Monsun cross.
Three runs ago in fact, over the mile and a half, he demolished a field by an easy 8½ lengths that included King Frankel, a horse who went on to finish second behind Bay Bridge and who was rated 91.
He gave the impression even back then that he could be heading for middle-distance Group company and that remains the case now.
Trawlerman was around 20lbs better than King Frankel and is getting better all the time, making his own official mark of 98 look potentially a little daft.
This is as competitive as it should be on paper, both Candleford and Moktasaab remaining of interest, but clearly the best handicapped horse in the race for us is TRAWLERMAN who has to be backed.
If he gets into trouble on the inner from stall 3 it may make things hard, but given his form and his profile he simply cannot be ignored and will hopefully remain backable overnight.
At the time of writing his price ranges from 4/1 to 11/2, putting him behind Just Fine. The hope is that the money continues to come for the royal runner, leaving us with a good value punt.