A huge field lines up for this race and although it lacks a little depth in places, it is still a cracking race with a number of extremely exciting rivals taking.
None fit in that category more than Sentaril who has caught the eye in a huge way on her first two starts to date. She was a hugely impressive maiden winner at Newbury although the form has taken a bit of a knock with the runner-up failing to win his last two starts and nothing else coming out of it. She then readily thrashed Silverheels who since finished last in the King Charles II Stakes won by ALJAMAAHEER.
Roger Varian’s colt is seriously well regarded at home and after a poor run on terrible ground on his reappearance, a race won by today’s St James’s Palace third Gregorian. He was then a taking winner of the King Charles when showing a really smart turn of foot to readily run away from the ill-fated The Nile who sadly had to be put down today after going badly wrong. It’s desperately tough to split the two as I think one of them will win but preference just goes to Aljamaaheer as the ground has now dried out sufficiently and his form has worked out far better.
Joining those two at the head of the market is Reply for Aidan O’Brien who unusually for this race brings good Classic form to the table. He sowed he had trained on from last year when a good third in the Irish 2000 Guineas where he ran on well off a ridiculously strong pace. The form of that has taken a knock today though 7f should suit him (1/1 at the trip) and on ratings he is the one to beat at the moment. O’Brien also runs Ishvana who also brings classic form to the table with a second in the Irish 1000 Guineas last time. That form and strength of that race though is very questionable and more will be needed.
Also at a single figure price is Valbchek who is clearly well regarded by Jeremy Noseda, just seen by the fact Jonny Murtagh made the trip to ride him on debut. He backed it up hen running on well to take a valuable sales race at Newmarket at the Craven meeting. Although bred for a bit of speed, 7f should be right up his street and again improvement is needed, the form has worked out nicely and he must come into consideration. Swiss Spirit is just one of those horses to frank the form and she has gone in since but more will be needed.
Sovereign Debt is an improving type who is entitled to run here. He was very impressive last time on soft ground here, meaning he is unbeaten on his two tries at Ascot. More however is needed as he is nearly a stone below the top rated.
Moving into the outsiders, Boomerang Bob bounced back from his Guineas performance to run a solid second to Smarty Socks last time out but a repeat of that run would see him come up short. Red Duke looks a big price as he ran okay in the 2000 Guineas and then improved for it when 3rd behind Casper Netscher in the German 2000 Guineas. There should be an improved run from Talwar on better ground while Telwaar also has a poor run to overcome. Saigon should find a few too good and the same can be said for others such as Bannock, Eastern Sun, Justineo, Laffan and Redact.
Instead, one horse that always seems to be overpriced is PTOLEMAIC and I really think he is worth a chance in this. It seems that everybody feels his good runs in the Craven and notably the Guineas were a fluke but that may just not be the case. He is rated 109 which gives him a chance for a place and he clearly didn’t stay 1m2f in the Dante as his pedigree suggested. But at 40/1 he is too big to resist an each way bet.
One who hasn’t been mentioned is Producer who is now ridden by Richard Hughes after Fort Bastion was pulled out late. He completed his fourth win at Epsom last time when beating Justineo comfortably in a listed contest. He needs to prove he handles other courses though and this would be much tougher but he has been reported to be going well at home.
A great race here and i’m finding it hard to split Sentaril and ALJAMAAHEER but preference is for the latter who now gets his much needed good ground while the form of his races have worked out far better than Willie Haggas’ filly. Both remain extremely useful types though and should go well. Reply and Ishvana both bring Irish classic form from the O’Brien yard but both races have taken knocks already and may not have been the strongest of classics. Valbchek is one who must come into consideration as he’s done very little wrong so far. Moving into the outsiders, Sovereign Debt, who has won his only two starts at the track, is worth his chance. Producer has a chance on form but hasn’t won away from Epsom yet. Talwar, Telwaar and Red Duke have shouts at prices, with the first two needing to bounce back form poor runs though. However I can’t ignore PTOLEMAIC at a huge price. He just seems too big with many feeling his Craven and Guineas runs being flukes but he hasn’t proven they weren’t and he didn’t stay the Dante trip last time. This will settle the matter but before that he’s worth a saver at 40/1. The rest have nothing to suggest that they can win this and would need to improve rapidly. At least types like Laffan, Lethal Force, Boomerang Bob and Justineo have the scope to do that though.
Advice – Aljamaaheer 3pts win @5/1 generally (If rain arrives, back Sentaril instead for same stake)
Ptolemaic 1pt e/w @40/1 generally