French maestro Freddie Head took the last two renewals of this race with Charm Spirit and then the wonderful Solow though as he doesn’t have any entries in 2016 we will have to look at Aidan O’Brien who has had three winners in the last ten years and is well represented in 2016 as you would expect. With a few entries at the early stage we have to rely on the betting to start our race preview and it seems that the master of Ballydoyle will be relying on 1000 Guineas and Oaks winner Minding (2/1) who is a machine at her best but has a bit to prove after finishing a well beaten third last time out in the Irish Champion Stakes after a long old season. She was slightly hampered that day but not enough to excuse her defeat and we doubt that she still had the pace to cope with the best dropped back to a mile.
Looking at the prices and we like the each-way chances of Lightning Spear (12/1 Each-Way) who seems to have been ignored by the bookmakers and is available at a pretty tempting price. David Simcock has pulled off a few shocks already this season and the son of Pivotal can add to that list this afternoon with the excellent Oisin Murphy in the saddle. Last time out he took the Group Two Celebration Mile at Goodwood very impressively when quickening up to put a good field to the sword and at his price we just can’t resist backing him this afternoon.
Richard Fahey’s Ribchester (5/2) was at the head of the early betting and Godolphin’s son of Iffraaj, who won the Group One Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville last time out by half a length from Vadamos with some decent horses in behind, has a solid chance. In our view that looked like either a much improved effort, or some in behind failed to run to their true form, and with those doubts circling in our minds we do have to wonder if his price represents any value at this stage and can pass him over for that reason.
Barely a week goes by without an excuse or reason to mention Hugo Palmer and he is adamant that he has 2000 Guineas winner Galileo Gold (11/2) back to his best ahead of this weekend’s action. He did finish three and a quarter lengths behind Ribchester last time in France but had finished three and a half lengths in front of that rival at Newmarket so it is anything but impossible that he can now reverse that form and it will be interesting to see who comes out on top of the pair with his trainer seemingly pretty bullish.
Awtaad (10/1) is yet another top class miler who comes in the equation after beating Galileo Gold to win the Irish 2000 Guineas in May and then finished third to the same rival at Royal Ascot in the St James’s Palace Stakes in June. He finished behind his great rival again at Glorious Goodwood in the Sussex Stakes in July before bouncing back to form last time out in the Group Two Boomerang Stakes at Leopardstown and his trainer (Kevin Prendergast) also seems pretty confident via his pre-race comments but we do feel that at this time his horse has that bit more to prove.