Only the five renewals of this race so far but not one winning favourite as yet with odds of 11/2, 25/1, 8/1, 8/1 and 12/1, three five-year-olds a three-year-old and a seven-year-old – so basically not a lot to go on! Looking at the prices and how can we not like the chances of Charles Molson (16/1 Each Way) with young Mitch Godwin who takes a useful seven pounds off his back. The five-year-old was only beaten a short head and a nose in to third last time out over this trip at Newbury, and although put up three pounds for that effort isn’t badly weighted. He has placed in equivalent or better races off higher marks so is anything but out of this and caught our eye last time out hence the support.
This year we may well see David O’Meara look for another Saturday winner with Firmament (7/1) who is looking to try and land his hat trick after wins at Chelmsford and then York. A son of Cape Cross who was well bought by his astute trainer for 25,000 Guineas, he may have only put half a length of daylight between himself and his opponent last time but he did it with a bit up his sleeve in our view and equally importantly showed good heart to hold off all challengers. The weight rise of six pounds is a bit punitive and may well be enough to stop him.
With Ryan Moore back in the saddle and seemingly refreshed it would be folly to ignore the chances of the William Haggas trained Squats (10/1) who has some decent placed form and is yet to show his very best this season after three races. Second to Librisa Breeze at Ascot in the valuable Gigaset International Stakes he failed to repeat that run off a three pound higher rating last time out when a well beaten fourth of five at Newmarket with no obvious excuses but we are all allowed an off day and he may yet bounce back to his best this afternoon.
It is common knowledge that all is not well in the Saeed Bin Suroor stable but it can only be a matter of time until that is all sorted out and when that happens expect the winners to start flowing. Yattwee (14/1) would be of interest if that was the case based on his last run when only beaten three and three quarter lengths by the classy Birchwood at Chester in a Listed race over this trip. It seems doubtful the softer ground was in his favour that day which makes the run ever better and on a quicker surface now he could well surprise if the stable is out of the doldrums, of course.
Meanwhile, John Gosden continues in good form with a decent strike rate lately and he has Von Blucher (5/1) entered here as he looks to add to his two previous wins over a mile at Lingfield, and over the same trip at Newmarket. Last time out at Newcastle he ran on powerfully over seven furlongs to be beaten a short head at the line in a photo finish for all the places, and if he gets the large field expected and plenty of pace this afternoon he can run on well again and should put up a bold showing even off a three-pound higher mark today.