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This is a really strong renewal of the Esher Cup, and this is normally a very good race anyway. I believe we will see a few subsequent winners for the rest of the season come out of this contest. The one I’m really keen on is the Richard Hannon-trained DINGLE, who is better than an 86-rated horse on all known form that we’ve seen. Factor in that there also should be a bit of improvement to come from him too.
The colt ran at Newbury last week, when he was unlucky not to win. He should have been closer in the end, but he got really badly hampered by a runner coming all the way across him late in the day. The form of that race looks strong too, the winner Mithras is a really progressive horse and I believe Dingle would have beaten him if it wasn’t for the interference.
Dingle is 2lbs well in here too and he should come on from that run at Newbury. That was over 7 furlongs, but his best distance seems to be a mile. All the conditions just seem to be in his favour, and I’d be surprised if any horse in this field is as well handicapped as Dingle.
I’m going to go with HIGHEST GROUND in the Gordon Richards Stakes. It might be an unoriginal shout, as these Sir Michael Stoute four-year-olds are always ones that are picked up on. But, he’s a really exciting horse for the season moving forward and seems capable of taking this on route to better things.
Stoute’s record in this race just speaks for itself and he’s won it 10 times in total, including the last three renewals with Ulysses and Crystal Ocean. Both of those horses went on to claim Group 1s after winning this and Highest Ground strikes me as one who has a very similar profile to Ulysses.
Highest Ground was very exciting last year when he beat Waldkonig at Haydock and that led to talk of a Derby tilt, but he skipped it and went onto the Dante Stakes at York instead. That proved to be the right decision given how he ran at York.
He was just a bit too immature there and he also had a disappointing run at Newmarket at the end of the year that he needs to put behind him, but Ryan Moore wasn’t too hard on him there and Highest Ground can be forgiven for that outing.
But, you just know with how he went last year and with who trains him that Highest Ground has a lot of improvement in him yet. Hukum could be the biggest danger too him, but Highest Ground is going to be fit, forward and ready for this. I can’t look past him to take it.
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