Wednesday action kicks off with a really competitive handicap over the flying five furlongs at York, and so many of these horses are regulars in this race.
Final Venture got chinned close to home at Ascot by Stone of Destiny and is a pound better off here – the worry is that he was placed last year and is 3lbs higher now. Dakota Gold bolted up on Saturday at Ripon but the drying ground is a worry for that one.
The one that I do like is Gunmetal for David Barron. He has only run once at York and ran a super race finishing fourth on very quick ground. This decent ground will suit better. They will go hard and that will also suit.
Persuasion was a ready winner at Goodwood as he overcame greenness and traffic problems to win comfortably.
Vitalogy is one that I really like and gets a confident nod here. Overcame a bad position to win at Naas and the form has been boosted. It’s interesting that Joseph O’Brien sends him here when there could have been easier options.
Logician was a comfortable winner of a handicap at Newbury and sets a good standard here. His price reflects that, though, and this is a lot tougher.
Constantinople looks like a bit of a monkey to me. The way he rolled around at Goodwood when beaten by Nayef Road and the fact he threw the race away when beaten by his stablemate at Ascot is not making me want to back him.
In fact, Nayef Road is the value here. I really liked the way this lad did it at Goodwood, and when I spoke with Silvestre de Sousa at York when he ran in the Dante, SDS was of the opinion that while this is a group horse, it may not be a group one. He was right, and this could be a good spot for the selection.
Crystal Ocean is the highest rated horse in Europe! While I have every respect for global rankings I have no doubt Enable is a better horse and she should be the highest rated.
What you do get with Crystal Ocean is consistency – he is a remarkable horse. What a pleasure it must be to have anything to do with him. He had a toe-to-toe with Enable at Ascot and the latter is taking the slightly easier route to the Arc by running in the Yorkshire Oaks this week. It looks, then, as if Crystal Ocean has a penalty kick – but there’s no such thing in horse racing! He is down in trip and has to give weight to some younger rivals.
King Of Comedy was really well backed in the Prince Of Wales at Ascot and he should have won. He had a troubled passage through in the business end of the race and flew home. You would expect him to improve for that race and I find it fascinating that John Gosden has pitched him in here.
Aidan O’Brien is well represented and Ryan Moore rides Japan, who looked very good in the Derby and at Royal Ascot over a mile and a half, dropping in trip is a concern but he is a strong traveller. Circus Maximus was supplemented for the Prince of Wales and got the better in a tactical affair over a mile.
Crystal Ocean is the proven performer but Japan showed when winning at Ascot and in the Grand Prix de Paris that he is a force for the future. He, along with King of Comedy, receive weight from Crystal Ocean and I think King Of Comedy is the value bet in this contest to at least be placed.