Escalator has been on the up for a while now and is respected as he chases a hat-trick in the Porsche Handicap at Ascot at 14:25, but he’s had more of a rise in the weights than me after a month of watching the World Cup on my sofa, so might be on his way back down again.
Instead, George of Hearts gets the vote, having been given too much to do when only beaten four lengths in the Britannia over C&D last month; usual rider Shane Kelly takes over the reins once more, and the pair get the nod over the in-form Corrosive, who tries headgear for the first time.
The following International Handicap looks tougher to solve than a Swedish crime drama with the subtitles off, and the King George VI at 15:40 may give us a better chance of finding the winner.
The song Cake By The Ocean contains some of the most mind-numbing lyrics created by mankind, including gems such as ‘See you licking frosting from your own hands’ and ‘I’m tired of all this candy on the dry land’, but there could be plenty of celebrating at Ascot if the impressive Hardwicke Stakes winner Crystal Ocean confirms the impression that he is a Group 1 winner in waiting.
Stable-companion Poet’s Word was impressive when beating Cracksman at Royal Ascot and may prove the main threat, though the last-named sets the standard on the pick of his form and can’t be discounted, either.
Over at York, Golden Apollo is preferred in the very competitive sprint handicap at 14:40. He is drawn in stall one, which may seem better than 13 given his name, though the first manned mission of the space programme designed to land the first men on the moon was even more of a disaster.
Hopefully things go more smoothly for the Tim Easterby-trained sprinter, who shaped as though his turn may be near when fifth at Newcastle last time.
He is now 1 lb below his last winning mark, is proven over C&D and should get the strong pace he craves.
Following the horse’s disappointing display in the Irish 2000 Guineas, Elarqam is on more of a recovery mission in the York Stakes (15:15) than Elon Musk’s PR team after his mini-submarine meltdown.
However, Elarqam clearly wasn’t at his best at the Curragh and, with this new trip unlikely to pose a problem and receiving weight from all seven rivals, he is well worth another chance.
Connections probably made a bit of a Boo-Boo when stepping Huxley Stakes winner Forest Ranger into Grade 1 company last time, and he rates a big danger now dropped in class again.