As a sensible starting point there has only been the one five-year-old winner in the last ten years and none older, with four-year-olds the dominant force with six wins, though Marcus Tregoning is the only trainer to double up and he doesn’t have an entry this season. On the positive side not one winner at odds bigger than 4/1 does suggest the winner is near the top of the betting and once the prices are out we may need to re-focus our attentions! Until then, we ought to start with the official ratings and that points us to Western Hymn (9/2), though he will need to buck the trends at the age of five if he wants to succeed. He is rated 115 which is two pounds more than any of the other runners regardless of the various weights but hasn’t been seen at his best so far this season with four places from six outings and zero victories. Admittedly, the last three have been in Group One company and this should be decidedly easier to win, and his sixth to Highland Reel here over course and distance in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes could still be the best form on offer even if he was beaten six lengths at the line.
Up at the top of the weights Sir Michael Stoute has two entries and as things stand it looks as though connections will be allowing them both to take their place in the line-up. Arab Spring (10/30 comes first alphabetically at least, and arrives here in good form having won his last race at Kempton in a similar race over this distance. The son of Monsun quickened up nicely to see off Robin Of Navan by two and a quarter lengths at the line and impressed everyone in attendance, but whether he can do the same carrying his three-pound penalty for that win to victory here is open to question even with Jamie Spencer booked to ride.
Stable companion Kings Fete (4/1) arrives here looking for his hat trick after wins at Goodwood and Newbury, both in Group Three class, one over this trip and the other over further, so stamina is clearly not an issue. He is certainly rewarding the faith of his connections who kept going even after he has been off the track for well over a year, and although he is a five-year-old he only has ten career starts on the clock and there is every chance that he is still open to even further improvement.
As we all know by now, David Simcock has been having a great season and it seems fair to say that Sumbal (8/1) has an each way chance. Officially rated 110, the four-year-old son of Danehill Dancer hasn’t won a race yet this season but has finished second twice at Saint-Cloud and Chantilly as well as a sixth and a fifth in even better races before being moved from Francis-Henri Graffard to his new stable. Whether David can improve him or not only time will tell, and it may be asking a bit much on his first outing but he is worth watching for the future and a very interesting contender.
To round things off Saeed Bin Suroor has Move Up (9/1) in here and he is another potential improver we need to take note of. Four wins and two places from just seven starts is a pretty decent return by any standards and last time out he took the Group Two International Bosphorus Cup at Veliefendi in Turkey, though whether that can be seen as a Group Two that is up to our standards is open to debate. We think not if only because Moving Up had finished third in the Qatar handicap at Goodwood in his previous race yet was sent off odds on in Turkey, and although he is improving race on race we can’t really call this the drop in class that on paper it apparently is.