Stradivarius made little impact in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp two weeks ago, but a slowly-run race over a mile and a half didn’t play to his strengths and he can bounce back here. He may be a six-year-old but he has proved better than ever this season, especially impressive when winning a third Gold Cup by ten lengths here in June.
That form, which was achieved on soft ground, is the best on offer by some margin and he should prove difficult to beat. Search For A Song returned to form when winning her second Irish St Leger and she should stay this extra two furlongs. She looks the main danger.
The ground on Saturday will be the softest that Oxted has encountered, but his pedigree offers hope that he will handle it (by heavy-ground July Cup winner Mayson) and his July Cup form is just about the best on offer. It is worth taking a chance on Roger Teal’s progressive sprinter.
Dream of Dreams has been better than ever this season and registered a first Group 1 success in the Sprint Cup at Haydock last month. He handles testing ground and has strong form over the course and distance so is a big threat. The unbeaten Starman is also entitled to respect.
This is a tight-knit contest but Dame Malliot had a few of these behind her when a creditable third in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp last time, and that form is working out well. She also went close in a German Group 1 the time before, while her impressive success in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes on her reappearance in July is among the best on offer.
She handles testing ground and is tactically versatile so has plenty in her favour. Wonderful Tonight was behind Dame Malliot when fifth in the Prix Vermeille but showed improved form to win the Prix de Royallieu over a mile and three-quarters on heavy ground last time, so should give another good account.
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Palace Pier took the step up to Group 1 company in his stride when winning the St James’s Palace Stakes on the round course here in June and he took his unbeaten record to five when landing the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville last time, producing a top-class performance. He proved his effectiveness on testing ground at Deauville and he should prove difficult to beat over this stiff mile.
Last year’s runner-up The Revenant revels when the mud is flying and he was an impressive winner on his belated reappearance at Longchamp two weeks ago. He can chase the selection home.
Magical signed off last season with a three-quarter-length success over Addeybb in this race and she has raised her game further this year, producing a career-best effort when beating Ghaiyyath at Leopardstown last month. That was a seventh top-level success for Magical, who is an extremely tough and reliable mare. She looks sure to give another good account and can fend off Lord North and Addeybb, who are also high-class performers that will handle conditions.
Bell Rock made a winning return at Newmarket in June and has produced creditable efforts in defeat subsequently, including when third in the Cambridgeshire last time, keeping on strongly inside the final furlong. He holds obvious claims off the same mark for the in-form Andrew Balding team. Bell Rock gets the vote over Irish raider Njord, whose hold-up style is often an advantage over this demanding straight mile, and Raeeq, who is well treated under a penalty for a wide-margin win here last time.
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