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Fast ground may not have been ideal for FAME AND ACCLAIM in the Royal Hunt Cup on his first run for Les Eyre and he’s a big player judged on his cracking efforts at the Curragh this spring on his final two runs for Joseph O’Brien.
The ex-French Eagleway has run really well on his first two British starts and is feared most, but there are several other dangers. The unexposed Ajyaall retains plenty of potential for William Haggas, while La Trinidad, Chichester, Jump The Gun and Wobwobwob are others who could go well.
2020 Ebor winner Fujaira Prince is preferred to last month’s Hardwicke third Hukum among the leading form contenders, but the Royal Ascot handicap winner QUICKTHORN can turn the ratings deficit around by finding further improvement. He is very lightly raced, has done the job impressively this term and probably possesses enough stamina. Plenty of others have place claims.
A fair few of these have something to prove over the trip and/or if the ground is soft. Mr Chua is therefore given a second look despite his poor return in May after wind surgery. Flint Hill made a winning return to Flat turf at Pontefract.
But, the top two options may be Contrebasse – who’s produced two notable front-running performances over 2m at Ripon this season – and GHADBBAAN – who has not proved his stamina, but has been sticking to his guns very well over 1m 6f.
Red Power should give it a good go under top weight, and he’s greatly respected back at 6 furlongs. This trip looks sure to suit Night Candle and she is capable of better, but the vote goes to JERSEY ROSE. She struggled in a Listed event last time, but her previous Ripon defeat of Atomic Lady looks solid, she won’t mind conditions and her rider takes off a very useful 5lbs.
Astro King and Dawaam are ahead of the handicapper after their improved performances at Royal Ascot, and Royal Hunt Cup runner-up Astro King is particularly interesting now back up in trip. However, there are certainly others to consider (especially if the ground is on the slow side) and NICHOLAS T (NAP), who is in the form of his life, is taken to follow up his win in the Northumberland Plate a fortnight ago.
That was over 2m but, like many of Jim Goldie’s runners, he is versatile trip-wise. Second choice is Dark Pine, who deserves considerable credit for winning at Chester in May given the tight track didn’t appear to suit, and heavy ground is a valid excuse for his Royal Ascot defeat. His trainer Dave Loughnane is going from strength-to-strength. Aaddeey, Ascension, Lucander, Surrey Pride and Fishable are others who could run well.
A cracking renewal, and York brings out the best in the main players. Que Amoro and Winter Power went off too hard in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and are strong contenders on their best course and distance form.
However, preference is for MOSS GILL, who won this last year before a fine third in the Nunthorpe over course and distance (Que Amoro second). Winter Power could be the chief danger. Dakota Gold has won here five times, but his reappearance record hasn’t been great in recent years.
There is an uncertain weather forecast and thunderstorms would count against the thriving Mr Wagyu. Evergreen George Bowen should go well, while a visor could perk up the well-treated Fortamour and both True Mason and Abate have something to recommend them. BIG LES has run two sound races on good and good to firm this season and he should find today’s conditions more to his liking.
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