Race One on the best days racing of the flat season but not necessarily the punters friend as after four winning favourites in a row from 2006 to 2009 inclusive we haven’t had another jolly pass the line at the head of affairs. The current betting suggests it is all about the Aidan O’Brien trained Order Of St George (10/11) who took the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in June and was third to Fond in one of the best Arc’s witnessed for many a year at the beginning of the month. Assuming he has fully recovered from his efforts in France he brings a potent combination of speed and stamina and represents a stable who can do very little wrong lately and with Ryan Moore as good as it gets in these big races we can fully understand why he heads the early betting market and has a prominent place in our race preview. Bottom line is simple enough – if he repeats either his Gold Cup or his Arc form today then he wins this race and in all honesty we simply cannot even think of opposing him now.
Dermot Weld is the only trainer to double up in the last decade and it looks like he will be represented by Forgotten Rules (8/1) who has a decent enough each way chance considering his price. Very lightly raced of late with just the one start this season when runner up to Twilight Payment at The Curragh last month, that was his first run in eleven months and he seems sure to strip a little bit fitter now. Fresher than most he is up against it on previous form against some of these but looks to have been aimed at this target and although we doubt he wins there is no reason not to expect a big run regardless.
Continuing our never ending search for value if Quest For More (10/1) turns out for Roger Charlton surely he should not be running here at a double figure price? A massively improved six-year-old son of Teofilo his last race was at Chantilly on Arc day when he ran over two and a half miles plus in the Group One Prix du Cadran which he won by a short neck from short priced favourite Vazirabad with a long five lengths back to the third. In staying terms that is rock solid form and he does look as if he is the sort to go on from there but he did have a very tough race and that needs to be factored in to his price before we even consider having a bet.
Meanwhile, Simple Verse (5/1) sits at the bottom of the weights thanks to her mares’ allowance and gets three pounds from all of her male rivals. She is a very good staying sort having won the St Leger at Doncaster last season in controversial circumstances (she won it on the track, lost it in the Stewards room, and got it back again on appeal), and followed it with a win in the Fillies and Mares here on Champions Day last season, but she had struggled to repeat that form since – until recently. Last time out she returned to the scene of her greatest triumph and took the Group Two Park Hill Stakes at Doncaster by a neck from Pretty Perfect. This would be her first try at two miles on her thirteenth start and she could be of interest if it brings about any improvement though we are wary that connections have had other opportunities in easer races and never been tempted until now.
Lastly for now and the betting seems to have ignored the chances of the long absent Litigant (14/1) but he has an amazing race record for an eight-year-old of seven wins from just the ten races, and five of his last six, though he hasn’t been seen since winning the November Handicap at Doncaster carrying top weight of nine stone ten to a four and a half length success giving six pounds and more away to the rest of the field. Admittedly that was a handicap and leaves him hopelessly outclassed here but he goes well fresh and could yet run a lot better than his massive price suggests.