MOGUL is only 8/1 for the Derby at Epsom and is expected to enhance his classic claims at Royal Ascot in a race won last year by his brother Japan.
Mogul, who cost 3.4m guineas as a yearling, displayed run-by-run progress last season, notably winning a Group 2 at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend and then finishing fourth to subsequent 2000 Guineas winner Kameko in the rescheduled Racing Post Trophy, staged on tapeta at Newcastle.
Things didn’t go right for Mogul at Newcastle, though he essentially wasn’t quick enough and will be much better suited by races which place a greater emphasis on stamina.
He already has the best form on offer, but he should thrive over middle-distances this season and is open to plenty of improvement.
BATTAASH has yet to win at Royal Ascot, but he has finished runner-up to Blue Point in the King’s Stand and looks to have an excellent opportunity with his old adversary no longer on the scene.
Battaash was as good as ever last season, winning the Temple Stakes, King George Stakes and Nunthorpe Stakes, proving particularly impressive at York as he shattered Dayjur’s long-standing track record.
He is at his very best on speed-favouring courses, so it is unlikely that he will be able to run to the level he achieved at tracks like Goodwood and York. But, he has still shown high-class form at Ascot and looks a cut above these rivals.
SCEPTICAL cost connections only £2,800 as a three-year-old, but he has rapidly developed into a very smart sprinter for Denis Hogan, racking up four impressive victories on the spin.
His first three victories were achieved on the all-weather, but he showed he is just as effective on turf when bolting up in listed company at Naas last week, travelling powerfully and quickening three lengths clear.
He is a very fast horse so a stiff 6 furlongs is a slight concern (his previous wins over 6 furlongs were at a much lower level). However, he is clearly an in-form and is talented sprinter who can outclass his rivals in what does not look a strong renewal.
JAPAN progressed well last season, winning the King Edward VII Stakes at this meeting and then the Grand Prix de Paris and Juddmonte International at Group 1 level.
He is a likeable type who could do even better as a four-year-old and deserves to head the market, but he looks very short at evens.
He tops the Timeform ratings by only 1 b, and the likes of Headman and Lord North are progressive types with plenty of speed who will be well suited by this kind of test and should not be underestimated.
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