The cavalry are coming to try and shoot down the Champion Stayer this season, but do any of the challengers have the high cruising speed, turn of foot and staying power of Stradivarius?
Well, of the new generation, Cross Counter could well match John Gosden’s king on all three counts, but he isn’t entered in Friday’s Yorkshire Cup and of the champs’ seven rivals, none look worthy opponents over this mile and a three trip.
The giant Southern France is crying out for a trip in excess of two miles plus and may only come into his own on Ascot Gold Cup day. That view was endorsed by his opening salvo at in the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan where he travelled into the race like a Rolls Royce only to have the end of race acceleration of a Ford Anglia.
The victor that day, Master of Reality, should confirm the form over this intermediate trip, but the biggest danger to the current champ over this distance of ground looks likely to be Mildenberger who has a bit more about him in the ‘speed’ department.
But from a betting perspective, the most interesting event of the day is the following class two, mile and a quarter handicap at 3.35.
UAE Prince only had the three starts last year, but has a deal more progression in him and of course the Varian team is white hot at the moment.
However, the six-year-old makes the market for the rest of the field and the each-way supreme value has to be the Godolphin owned Lucius Tiberius despite his welterweight.
The son of Camelot was hardly suited by the run of the race last time out at Epsom and will be much more at home on this more galloping track. As long as the Knavesmire doesn’t get any significant rain then he could well take care of the likes of Big Kitten, Grandee and the tight market leader.
I love the way that Florenza went about her business last time out, but she will need another significant step forward to land the fillies’ handicap at 4.05 after having the run of the race that day.
The better offer at the prevailing weights is Agincourt, second to the Fairhurst filly at Town Moor, and hailing from the in-form David O’Meara yard. This daughter of Declaration of War will relish the likely break-neck pace here and should gain her revenge.
Mawde is the each-way call at a gigantic price in the three-year-old burn up at 4.35, while Magnetic Charm looks the main viable punting rival to the Gosden/Dettori market leader Twist ‘N’ Shake in the fillies’ Listed event due off at 2.25.