A classy Listed race to close out the first day of the July meeting, named in honour of Sir Henry Cecil, trainer of the great Frankel, run over a mile. Read on for our runner by runner preview and expert tip.
IN SUMMARY: Ronald R and Tricorn are going to be popular here on their run in the Britannia, but that handicap form is going to have to be smart to match up to some others who have form at a higher level, notably D’BAI. Only beaten six lengths in the French Derby last time out, the return to a mile is in his favour, he looks massively overpriced on his Group form.
1 GREY BRITAIN – Won at this level on the Rowley Mile in May over a mile and a quarter, making full use of his stamina from the front, He will need plenty of use made of him again here given the drop back in trip to turn around a five length beating from Ronald R from earlier in the season.
2 BEAT THE BANK – Took a perfect 2/2 record into the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, running with credit given the sizeable step up in grade. He was arguably lucky to win on the Rowley Mile first time up this season, simply handling the dip far better than his nearest rival, but that is still smart form and he shouldn’t be discounted.
3 D’BAI – Shown improved form in France this season, runner up in a Saint-Cloud Listed race, before beaten less than six lengths in the French Derby. The form of the French Derby – like a lot of the middle distance three year old form so far this year doesn’t look overly strong – but the fact he was capable of competing at that level make him a huge player dropped back in trip.
4 FOREST RANGER – Beaten eight lengths in the Dante and St James’s Palace Stakes the last twice, this is a return to a much more comfortable level. Comfortably beat Syphaz on their respective 2017 returns, but was behind D’Bai last October at Pontefract. He has improved this season so may get closer to the Godolphin horse now.
5 LARCHMONT LAD – Didn’t appear to get home over this trip in either the Craven or the 2000 Guineas, but ran on all too late when dropped back to seven furlongs last time out. The winner of that race was well behind Beat The Bank in the Jersey, so although he is the one to beat on official ratings, he probably needs to improve again for the step back up to a mile to justify favouritism.
6 RONALD R – Much improved on the handicap scene, following up a slick win on the Rowley Mile with an excellent runner up effort in the Britannia. He was slightly stopped in his run at Royal Ascot, so perhaps would have won with a little more luck on his side. The handicapper has hit him hard for that with a nine pound rise, forcing connections to try their hand at Listed level. He is progressing well but arguably short enough against horses who have already competed at a higher level.
7 SYPHAX – Won the Acomb as a juvenile but was readily seen off by Forest Ranger at Newcastle before well beaten in the Dante. The Acomb win is a smart piece of form, one that should garner him respect at this level, but he has a little to prove now to build on a slow start to this season.
8 TRICORN – Probably got there a little soon in the Britannia, taking up the running about 300 yards out, he was run out of things late on , eventually finishing third. He is four pounds better off for a length and a half beating from Ronald R there, that could be enough to turn the placings around at the weights if both have come on a similar amount in the weeks since.