A Juddmonte International packed with stars of the turf is a great way to kick off four days of top-class action on the Knavesmire.
We open with a really competitive 5f sprint at 1.55pm. The low-drawn horses seem to have an advantage at York this year and for that reason I like Duke of Firenze races from stall two. He won over course and distance in May and ran a nice race when fifth in the Stewards Cup at Goodwood last time.
The Group 3 Acombe Stakes 2.30pm is a bit of a puzzle as you have to choose between established form or potential with the two-year-olds.
Bear Valley has looked really good in his last two starts and has a solid chance but it was hard not to be impressed with the finishing of Best of Days at Sandown.
He was very slow away then and Godolphin have splashed the cash to buy him. Hugo Palmer has done brilliantly since he starting training and I’ll take this fellow to win.
How’s the form?
The Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes 3.05pm has stood up really well and we have a good contest on our hands.
Ballydoyle’s dual Derby runner-up, Idaho, has the best form on display.
I always think logically in these races. If the horse that beat him in both Derbies – Harzand – was here, he’d be a very short price. So really Idaho should take all the beating.
It won’t be a gimme as Across the Stars is a real improver. He was looked after in the Derby by Kieran Fallon when finishing 10th, and then won nicely in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting. Aidan O’Brien’s other runner, Houses of Parliament seemed to love the quick ground at Newmarket and could step forward again.
The 10f Juddmonte International 3.40pm is all about Postponed .
The big question is whether he has recovered from the bug that stopped him from running in the King George at Ascot. His trainer Roger Varian has had just eight runners in the last two weeks and just one of them has won.
He has very few entries over the next week either and these are all facts you have to bear in mind when backing a horse at a short price.
Roger has called it right everytime with his horses and Postponed has a little in hand of his rivals on ratings and may not have to perform to his very best to win. I am not going to desert Postponed because he is a real favourite of mine and a potential superstar – but I am treading carefully.
Hawksbill beat the Sussex stakes winner The Gurkha on his last start in the Eclipse on soft ground at Sandown. He is by Kittens Joy which means he should be better on quick ground, though I am not convinced he will be.
Mutakayef will love the fast ground and his trainer William Haggas has his string in good form. He is the value each-way bet in the race.
Good luck and I’ll be back for a day two preview on Wednesday.