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STRADIVARIUS put up the best performance by a stayer for almost 40 years when winning his third Gold Cup at Royal Ascot last season and he has a fine chance of emulating Yeats by winning the race for a fourth time.
Stradivarius earned a Timeform rating of 130 for his impressive 10-length defeat of Nayef Road last year, becoming the first stayer to hit that benchmark since the days of Le Moss and Ardross. Stradivarius endured a disappointing end to his campaign, but his victory in the Sagaro Stakes on his return at Ascot in April proved that he retains all his enthusiasm.
He is still very much the one to beat in the division. Stradivarius showed a fine turn of foot in the Sagaro and that ability to quicken marks him out from his rivals in these staying contests.
SUESA will not have been on the Commonwealth Cup radar of many before the start of the season, but the French-based filly has the look of a formidable foe. She won both starts at two, including a Listed race on her final outing of the campaign. She has shown even better form this term, easily landing a pair of Group 3s to take her record to four-from-four (all at Chantilly).
She was especially impressive in the Prix Texanita on her latest outing, beating subsequent Listed winner Louliana by three lengths. Suesa showed a good turn of foot to quickly assume command and she heads the weight-adjusted ratings for the Commonwealth Cup, while she also has the Timeform ‘p’ attached to her rating, suggesting that she is still open to improvement.
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Battaash has dominated over the minimum trip in recent years, but the 6f division has been crying out for a star. One might finally have emerged in the shape of STARMAN, who won the Duke of York Stakes in good style on his return and might still have more to offer.
Starman didn’t make his debut until July of last year, but he quickly developed into a smart sprinter – winning the Listed Garrowby Stakes at York on just his third start and less than two months after making his debut. The one disappointment of his career came when finishing down the field in the Champions Sprint Stakes over this course and distance in October, but he may have been unsuited by the testing conditions and that effort is easy enough to forgive.
It is instead worth focusing on the high-class form he showed on his return at York, where he moved through the race in eye-catching fashion before digging deep under pressure to fend off Nahaarr – with the pair pulling well clear. Starman always looked to be holding on at York, giving the impression he could have found more if require. He can make the breakthrough at the highest level here.
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