We have a field of just 11 this year for the London Gold Cup on Lockinge Day, a competitive three-year-old handicap over the mile-and-a-quarter trip. These are our favoured six against the field:
Based on his runaway success at Newcastle, on a surface with a little bit of give, Sir Michael Stoute’s horse could prove to be very well handicapped indeed and even by the standards of a progressive three-year-old.
He represents the outstanding form from Kempton back in November when he was fourth behind Rebel’s Romance, so his win on the Tapeta was no surprise at all.
We already know he’ll stay and he should come on again for his latest run, however we never quite know how well the form will transfer to turf. Ryan Moore rides from stall 8.
Roger Varian is having a brilliant season and this is another last-time-out winner. A Dubawi out of a Galileo mare owned by the powerful Sheikh Mohammed Obaid team, on paper he has everything you’d expect from a contender in a race such as this.
We can’t venerate all of these young handicappers however, and there are some questions attached to Dubawi Sands. His good runs at Nottingham and Ripon weren’t against the highest class of opposition, and they were both on genuine fast ground.
He was less impressive on debut on heavy ground, which is to be expected to be fair, but it may mean that the forecast good to soft ground here may blunt him slightly.
Yet another horse having his fourth run and on the back of a victory. Highland Rocker represents John & Thady Gosden and is ridden by Frankie Dettori, so he’s not one to take lightly.
He was third in that Rebel’s Romance race at Kempton last backend, won very easily last time and in between was a fine second to Sir Michael’s Inigo Jones at Chelmsford.
His form is very good, but we can’t be certain about the ground and off a mark of 91 we can see he hasn’t been given a huge amount of rope by the handicapper, at least not as much as one or two others here anyway.
On the clock Mark Johnston’s horse has to be a leading contender. He routed his small field last time by 32 lengths, but the distance while spectacular represents how poor the other two were as much as it does his own performance.
He’s going the right way overall, but has done his best work on quicker ground and has been beaten on four of his 5 runs so far leading us to believe he is not as well-in as some others.
Once more this is a fourth career run, Hugo Palmer’s Australia colt has been handicapped (82) based on a good run when third at Windsor last time. On that run and off that mark, he’d have a bit of work to do against this field but he may be batter judged on his previous race.
That run was at Newcastle on the Tapeta where he was quite impressive in winning as a 15/2 shot, so with natural improvement from that run back in December to now his mark would look to be fairly lenient.
It sounds paradoxical to say that we’re best not to judge a horse’s form too literally when he comes into a race unbeaten, but it’s the case here.
Strictly, Charlie Appleby’s gelding doesn’t look that well handicapped on his latest win which was his first in a handicap. It took him a while to get going at Doncaster over this trip, eventually winning narrowly as the 11/10 favourite.
He looks the type to keep improving in lumps however, and a closer look at his form reads very well. He beat Annandale last time who has since been impressive, has gone up 7lbs in the handicap and is value for more.
Furthermore, the horse Annandale beat has also improved on the numbers since then so considering Tamborrada gave the Mark Johnston horse 14lbs he looks like a good one.
There shouldn’t be too many ground worries for Godolphin’s TAMBORRADA and the boys in blue may have another high-profile winner here.
Charlie Appleby keeps proving his excellence and it seems highly likely that this horse has improved plenty from his last run.
In behind the others appear close on the numbers as long as they all handle conditions; Bay Bridge, Highland Rocker, King Frankel and Oz Legend all perhaps challenging at some point.