The Golden Gates is our last big betting handicap of the week.
The mile-and-a-quarter race is an ideal addition to the schedule here, giving horses the distance to race over that so many crave. Many three-year-olds don’t have the pace for the Britannia, nor the stamina for 1½ miles.
We’ve gone for these six to show up best.
Although saddled with top weight, minus the jockey’s claim, Aldous Huxley is a leading light in this contest.
For some reason it feels like he’s been around forever, but in fact he has just qualified for the race having run for the third time since March when finishing second to Lionel in a Listed race.
His form with that horse, as well as Lysander, New London and others reads well. His mark of 101 is about right, so it’s all about what improvement the team can coax out of him.
Tom Marquand really deserves a winner and he’ll be confident aboard Chairman for sure.
Although his recent win at Bath doesn’t immediately read as well as the form of some of his rivals, he did it easily and clearly likes the fast ground.
He has the pace for this, with his chances resting on whether he truly sees it out among fifteen other runners in a potentially fast-run affair.
Among their four runners Godolphin have two potentially serious improvers, one of them being Charlie Appleby’s Falling Shadow.
He was below average on debut last year, but was 11/2 and not expected to win. After that he improved to win at Wolverhampton, although he was ultimately disqualified from the race.
He restarted this season with a fine performance at Newbury. He took care of his maiden field easily back in May, the third horse who was some 8½ lengths back having since won at Goodwood and is now rated 87.
Falling Shadow’s own mark of 92 underestimates him greatly and there is plenty more to come, he handles this ground, loves the trip and should go very well.
The other Godolphin horse who is improving in lumps is Honiton and he represents an important form line or two.
Back in April this horse was third behind My Prospero and Thesis. My Prospero was beaten only a neck in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes earlier this week, while Thesis won the Britannia here on Thursday.
After that Honiton was second to Secret State at Chester, the horse who scored in the King George V Handicap on Thursday, before he ran third at Newcastle behind Wednesday’s Queen’s Vase winner Eldar Eldarov.
For good measure, he won his novice race by a very easy nine lengths to warm up for this.
Honiton has been beaten by 2-3 lengths by the above horses. They are now rated up to 114 and counting and it’s not out of the question that he could be the best of them, save perhaps for My Prospero.
He’s in here off 94 which looks a steal.
Missed The Cut
Despite Honiton’s obvious claims, Missed The Cut has been the one for money this week having just qualified for the race.
He’s won a maiden and a novice, both very easily and both at long odds-on. Some will say that we don’t know how good he can be, which is true, but he’s beaten nothing of note, was well behind Aldous Huxley when they met and is rated 1lb higher than Honiton.
Aidan O’Brien has been doing very well this week, especially in juvenile races, but this Sun King wouldn’t be one of Ballydoyle’s leading lights.
He won a maiden at the fifth attempt in April and could get better yet, but he was comfortably beaten last time and will need to show some sudden improvement to win this.
Godolphin really do hold the key to this race, with two in here being trained by John and Thady Gosden and another pair handled by Charlie Appleby.
Aldous Huxley carries the first-choice colours but is ridden by claimer Benoit De La Sayette with Frankie Dettori riding HONITON. Blue Trail has it to do under James Doyle, while William Buick rides the much better fancied Falling Shadow.
Honiton is the ultimate selection, owing to that extraordinarily good form line and his huge rate of improvement, with Falling Shadow second choice. Chairman was best of the rest.