Simon & Ed Crisford’s colt ran an absolute cracker when second at Kempton with the front two pulling seven lengths clear of the remainder of the field. He looked in a completely different league at Redcar when dominating proceedings earlier this month. He was always travelling well and it was just a question of when his jockey PJ McDonald decided to move that day. Ilzaeem cost 260,000 guineas at the breeze up sales so he’s always going to catch the eye when he turns up at the races, His rating of 89 still underestimates him.
Sir Michael Stoute’s charge made no mistake in the early part of his career and looked for all the world is if he was going to win the Dante Stakes at York but his run just petered out in the closing stages when failing to deny another of today’s opponents, Thunderous, by a neck.
We can safely put a line through his run in the Group 3 Darley Stakes at the back end of the season where he was a complete no-show on soft ground. Highest Ground is one runner we can expect to improve as he gets older as time and patience is key for this operation.
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We all know how good he is on a rating of 125 and comes in here with officially 9lb in hand of his nearest rival, Khuzaam, who admittedly is an improver. However, Roger Varian’s runner needs to take a significant jump forward if he’s going to trouble what could be the mile champion for older horses this season.
It will be interesting to see which way Frankie Dettori handles Palace Pier in the early stages, but he can easily pop along up on the front-end if required and should be too good for these.
The Irish challenger got better with each and every start last term rounding off with a gutsy success over the mile at Cork. With his wonderful pedigree being a brother to a Group One winner in Sir Dragonet, he was always going to be a big improver this season when stepped up in distance.
Sir Lucan will give Ballydoyle a handle on where they stand regarding the pecking order for some of the stayers in the three-year-old division. On official ratings he is not far behind what the home team has to offer and this could this be the start of the Irish domination of the Flat season.
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