SERIES OF DREAMS showed improved form to overcome trouble in running and get off the mark at Haydock in September, staying on to lead late on. She was out of her depth in a Group 2 at Ayr subsequently, but she should improve for this step up to 7 furlongs. Tasked with a much easier assignment this time around, she gets the vote to make a successful handicap debut.
Purchased for 500,000 guineas as a yearling, LONE EAGLE built on a promising debut to open his account at the second attempt, not needing to improve on the form of his first outing to get his head in front at Goodwood.
The son of Galileo then progressed again to make a successful nursery debut at Doncaster last month, having the run of the race but still looking a useful performer in the making. He is up against some stiff opposition here, but he sets the standard, and with this step up in trip likely to suit, he tops the shortlist.
Bred in the purple – an American Pharoah colt out of Irish 1000 Guineas and Oaks winner Imagine – VAN GOGH has arguably been unlucky not to have a few more wins to his name, shaping better than the bare results suggest in Group company.
He took advantage of a step back in grade to belatedly open his account at the Curragh last time, never really looking in trouble despite the runner-up getting close late on. He remains open to further improvement, sets a high standard in this contest and is expected to double his career tally.
THUNDER MOON looked above average in making a winning start under rules at the Curragh in August, readily taking care of one who’d already run to a useful level. He stepped up markedly on that performance to make it two from two in the National Stakes last time, overcoming plenty of aversity to maintain his unbeaten record.
In fact, he was value for a more comfortable victory than the bare result suggests on the latter occasion, showing a good attitude for one so inexperienced. He is potentially top-class given what he has achieved in just two starts and he rates the one to beat here.
A useful performer over hurdles for Dr Richard Newland, LEONCAVALLO made an encouraging start to life with David Pipe when finishing a narrow second on the Flat at Sandown in June. He built on that when winning a novice chase at Stratford subsequently.
That was before following up on the level at Haydock in August, making the most of a good opportunity to win with plenty in hand. Pipe has likely had this race on Leoncavallo’s radar for a while now, and he is an interesting contender racing from low down in the weights.
A smart mare who won the World Trophy Stakes at Newbury on her final appearance of last season, MAID IN INDIA looked as though she was heading back in the right direction in the Flying Five Stakes at the Curragh last month.
There she turned in her best effort of the season to finish a close fourth, weakening only late on. She brings the best form to the table and is a major player now stepped down in grade.
HIGHEST GROUND looked a colt out of the top drawer when making a winning reappearance at Haydock in June, following up his debut win from last year in good style. He deserves plenty of credit given he was conceding both race fitness and experience to a useful rival, yet still had him readily covered.
He was sent off favourite for the Dante on the back of that, but found lingering greenness preventing him from maintaining his 100% record – going like the best horse at the weights but just worn down close home. There is no doubt he has the ability to figure at the highest level and he rates a big player with the prospect of more still to come.
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