IN SUMMARY: The old-timer Kingsgate Native is understandably not as good as he once was but he finished well to win this race last year and ought to be primed to make a bold defence of his crown, having made a perfectly respectable seasonal reappearance at Newmarket last month. He is respected but slight preference is for TAKE COVER (5/1), who is no spring chicken himself and may not be quite as effective here as he is at Goodwood but has been competitive in Group races on a few occasions during the last year. Next on the list is Cotai Glory, who ended last season with a good performance and wasn’t suited by the good to soft ground when returning to action last month. Double Up did well in handicaps last year but this is his first run since August and there are no guarantees he’ll have this race run to suit.
1 Cotai Glory – Finished his 2015 campaign with victory in Listed company at the St Leger meeting at Doncaster (5f, good) and could easily have more to offer this season; comfortably held when reappearing in Newmarket Group 3 last month but the good to soft ground was against him that day and better expected here.
2 Take Cover – Getting quite long in the tooth now but gave excellent account when close second in Group 2 at Glorious Goodwood (5f, good to firm) last summer and was successful at this level on the AW in October; very respectable fifth in Group 3 Palace House Stakes at Newmarket three weeks ago and expected to make his presence felt.
3 Canny Kool – Finished second in 6f Listed event at Chester last summer but was given a good ride from a favourable stall that day and didn’t match that form when third in 5f conditions race on recent seasonal reappearance; entitled to have benefited from that outing but others look stronger.
4 Double Up – Made very good progress in handicaps last season and the latest of his three wins was gained in a very valuable event at Ascot (5f good to firm); good enough on the figures to cope with today’s graduation to Listed company but this is his first outing since August and he’s not assured to get the strong pace he needs.
5 Encore D’Or – Back from break with two Class 3 handicap wins on the AW for new stable this spring; evidently in very good nick and is still quite lightly raced but is 0-6 on turf and this race will be a lot more demanding.
6 Kingsgate Native – Popular veteran who was a dual Group 1 winner in his prime and came from off the pace to land this prize in 2015; last month’s reappearance run in Newmarket Group 3 confirmed plenty of ability remains, and he’s unlikely to be far away.
7 Line Of Reason – Scored at this level at the Curragh (5f, good to firm) in June and also held his own in a couple of Group 2 events last season; behind some of today’s rivals and never really featured in Newmarket Group 3 last month but faster ground will suit better today; not out of this.
8 Moonraker – Always behind after slow start in York Group 2 on recent seasonal debut; this race is easier and he’s capable of much better but the drop back in trip may not be ideal and he has quite a bit to find with the principals.
9 Out Do – Won two good-quality handicaps last spring and can be rated better than the bare form of his neck success in Listed company at York (5f, good) last summer; claims on that evidence but not seen since a rather disappointing performance at Glorious Goodwood 294 days ago.
myracing Forecast Prices: 5/2 Double Up, 9/2 Take Cover, 5/1 Out Do, 6/1 Cotai Glory, Kingsgate Native, 10/1 Line Of Reason, 12/1 Encore D’Or, 16/1 Canny Kool, 33/1 Moonraker