Bolshoi Ballet – His Newbury third two starts back has worked out well but the drop back to 10 furlongs in the Wolferton at Royal Ascot last time was against his strengths. This is more suitable conditions-wise, but he has not shown that he is up to this level from a class perspective.
Deauville Legend – Was kept to quick ground before finishing fourth in the Melbourne Cup on a soft surface last November. His return when fourth behind Pyledriver at Royal Ascot was okay, but he will need to a career best to challenge here.
Hamish – Remarkably consistent, admirable sort, who is clearly in great form with two Group 3 wins this year, but that still leaves him plenty to find against classier, younger rivals.
Hukum – Ended last year early with a Coronation Cup win at Epsom, before a very impressive comeback win in the Brigadier Gerard, beating Desert Crown. The return to this trip is a positive, he has won on soft ground over at the track and providing he can replicate that career best last time, he has every chance.
Luxembourg – His Tatts Gold Cup win in May was a career best, he handles the ground, and despite finishing midfield on his only start over this distance, that did come in the Arc, and it is well worth another go. I imagine he will be ridden with a little more restraint.
Point Lonsdale – Looked as though he might improve at a mile and a half when last seen in the Coronation Cup but could not get near Emily Upjohn or Westover after leading a steady gallop. Even though he is proven on the ground, on that form alone, he has a bit to find.
Pyledriver – Another admirable and reliable horse who won the King George last year. Despite winning his maiden on soft, he has been kept to better ground since. He did win well at Royal Ascot despite pulling hard, but this is a better race than the one he won last year.
Westover – Could have done with a stronger gallop and more of a test when second to Emily Upjohn in the Coronation Cup but made no mistake in a relatively uncompetitive Group 1 in France last time with a pacemaker. Could get the test he needs here.
Emily Upjohn – Her only experience of softer ground came when winning here on Champions Day last year, but her two runs this season suggest she is even better as a 4yo, beating Westover at Epsom before a close second to Paddington in the Eclipse over a shorter trip. This is her best distance.
Auguste Rodin – The Epsom, and Irish, Derby winner this year on better ground, but he did win the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on heavy ground. Obvious claims as a dual Classic winner getting weight, and his stable have always held him in the highest regard. The one to beat on form.
King Of Steel – Confirmed his Epsom Derby second was no fluke when winning the King Edward at Royal Ascot, and as a very lightly raced 3yo has the potential to improve further. Obvious claims, although Auguste Rodin may beat him again.
I can see this race being run at a fast pace, with plenty of prominent racers and a couple of pacemakers among the O’Brien quartet. On soft ground, stamina therefore, will be at a premium which will suit Westover, but whether he quite has the class to win is another question. I think HUKUM is the bet, at around 4/1. His win last time was visually impressive, and conditions today promise to be ideal.
Have a great weekend,