IN SUMMARY: Thunder Snow stands out for Godolphin but only had a neck to spare over North America last time and is a pound worse off today. Both seem sure to go well but SPECIAL FIGHTER (Each Way) will strip fitter after his comeback run and at a huge price has an excellent each way chance if he can repeat his efforts behind California Chrome who would walk this were he in the line-up.
1 FURIA CRUZADA – A very decent mare who gets four pounds from her male rivals here and not completely out of this following a short head second to Promising Run on the grass here last time out. She has won seven of her thirty-two starts and is clearly very talented with a place a possibility again this afternoon but still has a few pounds to find to win in this exalted company.
2 THUNDER SNOW – The Godolphin first string of three and to be ridden by Oisin Murphy who replaces the suspended Christophe Soumillon on board the son of Helmet. After finishing second to Heavy Metal here over the mile here, he stepped up to beat North America by a neck when brought with a power packed late run over this trip and if he gets the rub of the green from a decent draw he will take an awful lot of stopping with further improvement expected.
3 SECOND SUMMER – He did win the Godolphin Mile on Word Cup night last year but was a thirteen length fifth to Thunder Snow last time out and thus has an awful lot more to find. He is better than that and Doug Watson will have pulled out all the stops to have him 100% for here but he needs to get back to his best if he wants to challenge here and that is anything but guaranteed on what we have seen from the six-year-old recently.
4 MONTSARRAT – Two wins from four starts this season over a mile and three furlongs in a handicap here, and over a mile and a quarter last time out at Jebel Ali in Listed class. Only a five-year-old, he seems destined to win more races but not at this level or in a field of this quality and he seems likely to start at a big price and rightly so.
5 CAPEZZANO – A winner last time out under jockey Mickael Barzalona who retains the ride this afternoon as the son of Bernardini looks to follow up. He did run on well over the mile that day to suggest he will appreciate this step up in trip but that was a handicap and he will do well to pick up any of the place prize money here.
6 NORTH AMERICA – Only a neck behind thunder Snow here last time and Satish Seemar will hope that he can extract revenge on that rival here on one-pound better terms. He did rack up four wins in a row at up to Group Three level between November 2016 and February last year but is yet to win in a higher grade though a place will still see his connections richly rewarded.
7 COSMO CHARLIE – A well-beaten nine and three-quarter length second to Heavy Metal last time out but no real disgrace there and the distance was exaggerated by a fine ride on the winner. Thirty-five lengths adrift of Thunder Snow in the UAE Derby last year he has a lot to find to get competitive here which frankly seems unlikely.
8 TEAM TALK – Looks to be the Godolphin third string but ought to be reaching peak fitness here on his third outing following over a year off. Lightly raced for a five-year-old there may be more to come and he has to be of some interest to each way punters, though he does need to build on his running on fourth to Folkswood last time out on his first try on the dirt today.
9 SALTARIN DUBAI – Another winner last time out for Satish Seemar when putting five lengths of daylight between himself and Don’t Give Up in a Listed handicap here over course and distance. He did get weight from the second and third that day and will not find this anywhere near as easy at level weights.
10 ERAGON – One of the lower rated horses in this contest and has it all to do after a poor ninth of thirteen to Top Score here over seven furlongs. He has won three races in Argentina but none elsewhere as yet and this afternoon seems unlikely to see that statistic change even with the excellent Tadhg O’Shea in the saddle.
11 BOYNTON – Won the Group Two Superlative Stakes as a two-year-old at Newmarket as well as a novice stakes at Goodwood but nothing in four further races which saw him gelded in November. Returned with an easy handicap win in first time cheekpieces here in his first run on the dirt, and not easily dismissed with improvement pretty much assured.
12 SPECIAL FIGHTER – Constantly tried in the highest company with defeats by the likes of Frosted, California Chrome, and Arrogate but needs to step up on his seven length eighth to Folkswood last time out. That was his first run since last year’s Dubai World Cup so he is entitled to improve for the run and is not anywhere near as far out of this as his odds suggest on the pick of his form.