Some of the fastest horses on the planet are in action in the 5f Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday at 15.35.
A smaller field than usual, and that gives TEN SOVEREIGNS a great chance to dominate. Usually I would want to take him on in this, as 5f is so different to 6f. But with Battaash likely to try and get a lead – and so often running poorly at York – the Irish raider really does have every chance to dominate for Aidan O’Brien.
I take him to make all the running and if he is ahead a furlong out – he won’t get picked up.
If Ten Sovereigns lands the prize, he will become the first three-year-old to do so since Margot Did in 2011, and of course, the previous year it went to Sole Power, owned by a lady quite close to Paddy Power!
It’s not always an easy race for the youngsters, which will give Battaash supporters hope. He started 4-5 favourite in this event last year, but could only finish fourth behind Alpha Delphini and Hamdan al Maktoum’s challenger was also fourth in 2017.
Amazingly, for all his ability Battaash has still only landed one Group 1, but he was brilliant when doing so in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly in 2017.
I love Battaash because he’s got so much ability, but he doesn’t always use it.
Michael Dods’ Mabs Cross cannot be ignored, and many will play her each-way. She ran well at Ascot last time and Gerald Mosse will be trying to pick up some pieces here. Hard to keep out the frame and possibly an each-way bet to nothing. Of the others, El Astronaute might hit the frame at a huge price – he has plenty to find on ratings, but loves this track.
We kick off on ITV with the 13.55, a handicap over 1m 4f. I have a feeling INDIANAPOLIS will give us a good run for our money here and I will have a few quid each-way on the James Given runner at a double-digit price.
My selection stays strong and is in good form, having scored at Ascot last time. He’s up 3lb for that but that’s not the end of the world.
Stradivarius was not impressive in this despite winning last year and is long odds on to do so again. I’ll take DEE EX BEE to deny him victory in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup over an extended 2m at 14.25. Mark Johnston’s runner is held on form at Ascot and Goodwood, but I think he’s improving all the time over these staying trips.
The juveniles take centre-stage at 15.00 with the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes over 6f. A bit of a guessing game with lots of improvers in the field, but THREAT should take all the beating for jockey Oisin Murphy. The Coventry second was also runner-up in the Richmond at Goodwood and that’s a solid level of form for Richard Hannon’s challenger.
* Prices correct at time of publishing