Vibrant Chords is the obvious contender here, equally adept at five or six furlongs this improving four year old is a worthy favourite though it is interesting to note we have only had one winner from a single figure draw in the last ten years and there may be better value to be had elsewhere. Like Vibrant Chords, Merlin and Evernote are drawn low and aligned with the fact three year olds do not have a good record in this, they are best watched, while Harry Hurricane and Compas Scoobie could go well from the far side. Now we have ruled out those drawn low you can guarantee there will be one, two, three from the far side!!! Spring Loaded ran well at Chester but this is a much tougher race and he is not quite the same horse on turf, though the trip should suit and he may finish well. Lexington Abbey is hard to get right and seems a Nottingham specialist while Lancelot Du Lac has to carry plenty of weight after his Steward’s Cup win. Two worth looking at are Momentofmadness @ 14/1 and Stake Acclaim @ 12/1. Momentofmadness would have been closer at York over this trip if the blindfold had been removed faster and has the champion jockey Jim Crowley taking the mount. Stake Acclaim is pretty versatile over five or six furlongs, has won at Doncaster previously and the team of Dean Ivory and Robert Winston are always to be respected in big handicaps.
A very tough nursery handicap to fathom with favourite Viscount Loftus not certain to take part with the ground likely to be very testing. Another fancied runner, Harrogate, has improved with every run but has to overcome stall nine which would be no mean feat at Chester. This could go to one at a price as it may come down to who handles conditions the best and those drawn low must be considered including Porchy Party, Falabelle, Mable Lee, Mr Greenlight and Angel Force, but this really is a race best watched.
Home Of The Brave should be allowed his own way up front and that makes him a dangerous proposition @ 7/2 with James Doyle dictating the fractions. Spirit Of Valour should be on the heels of Home Of The Brave and will likely be best placed to challenge with the 10/1 value. This son of War Front should be happier on a more conventional track after disappointing at Goodwood. This is Acclaim’s best trip and he seems better than ever after a second in the Prix Maurice de Gheest and rates the biggest threat to Home Of The Brave but may find it hard to make up ground unless ridden more prominently. The same can be said of Breton Rock and Sir Dancealot, who will be held up at the back and need to find more to win this.
My Reward will be dangerous again if allowed an easy lead but this is his toughest assignment yet and with a penalty, on testing ground, may just find one too good here. Duretto, not seen since May has been waiting for softer conditions and this looks a good opportunity to start an Autumn campaign but is farily short @ 7/4. Improving with age Andrew Balding’s five year old may still have more to offer and connections will be eyeing bigger prizes than this over the coming months. Soldier In Action can be difficult to catch right almost running a good race, then a lacklustre one, but has course form and can be competitive if producing his best. He should be tracking My Reward and rates the biggest danger to the favourite. Across The Stars has been very disappointing after a promising season last year, gelded in June and fitted with a hood last time at Windsor, he got no run whatsoever but still has questions to answer with the 11/4 too short a price. Ralph Beckett won this last year with Mountain Bell and saddles Rich Legacy here with the slight drop in grade likely to aid her though the ground may have gone against her having struggled twice in softer conditions.
This looks a really competitive renewal of the Champagne Stakes with numerous in with chances. Mythical Magic heads the market after a comfortable win in France but that race may not have been the strongest and with his trainer’s record in this, should be bang there @ 5/2. Dream Today was an impressive winner of a maiden at York that has already thrown up a good winner in Laugh A Minute who took the Weatherby’s two year old race earlier in the week. He should be thereabouts @ 7/2 but this could be a real test of stamina with Mythical Magic, Dream Today and Hey Gaman, a game winner of the Washington Singer, all likely to force the pace. This could set things up for Red Mist, who needed every yard of the seven furlongs when just touched off by Hey Gaman at Newbury with a strong pace likely to suit and could be worth a bet @ 4/1. Mandelssohn is a bit of an unknown and it will be interesting to see if there is any support in the market.
Quite a difficult one to call as Gabrial The Tiger and Calder Prince have run on Friday and are best avoided even if turning up the second day running. Kenstone is unlikely to turn up and if he does the ground has gone against him which should leave the improving Dan Troop a clear favourite so the 5/1 available is a touch big. The form of his win over course and distance in July may not have been the strongest but with Connor Murtagh claiming seven pounds and the promise of more to come, he will surely take the beating. King’s Pavillion won well at Carlisle last time and will need to find more with the six pound penalty but will handle the ground. Second to King’s Pavillion was Instant Attraction who is very well handicapped on old form, will like conditions but is not the easiest to win with and a place may be a more realistic outcome for Jedd O’Keefe’s six year old. Ice Slice has a good draw but would not want it this soft while Shouranour can go well at a price back on ground he loves.
An intriguing last Classic of the season. Capri seemingly not one of the main contenders for Ballydoyle when a fair sixth in the Epsom Derby appearing to not handle the course, stepped up on that form with a tenacious effort to hold on and defeat Cracksman and Wings Of Eagles in the Irish version. Should stay and has to be respected coming out top on the figures, with any rain in his favour. Venice Beach, the second string, was put in his place by an impressive Cracksman last time in the Great Voltigeur, a good trial for this race, but has some solid form and may well improve for a step up to the Leger trip and cannot be totally ruled out at a big 12/1. John Gosden has two contenders in Stradivarius and Coronet with Frankie Dettori opting for the latter. Stradivarius has not looked back since moving up to staying distances, winning a strong looking Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot before defeating Gold Cup winner Big Orange in the Goodwood Cup. This son of Sea The Stars won his last two starts in a manner that suggests we have not seen the best of him with improvement likely. There is doubt about the ground but his Goodwood win was on good with good to soft patches and if Doncaster doesn’t get a deluge, could be value @ 15/2. Coronet shapes like she will stay this trip and must be respected but will need a strongly run race to be seen at her best. Crystal Ocean, visually impressive in the Gordon Stakes when defeating Khalidi and like many in the family will stay well, but the race he won did not look to have much strength in depth and this improving type will have to find more to be competitive. The same applies to Defoe unbeaten this season, moving through the ranks from handicaps to a Group Three culminating in a cosy victory at Newbury, defeating Frontiersman and Wall Of Fire. Difficult to know how much more there is to come and like Crystal Ocean needs to improve again to figure in this, though jockey Andrea Atzeni described him as a better horse than 2014 St Leger winner Kingston Hill. Of the other Raheen House looks the most likely to go well and has clearly been aimed at this since his win in the Bahrain Trophy Stakes while Rekindling, Count Octave and Douglas Macarthur have place claims.
Quickened Clear’s Best Bets
Dan Troop – 3.15 Chester – 1pt win @ 5/1
Stradivarius – 3.35 Doncaster – 1pt win @ 15/2
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