In the eight years of this race we do note that not one British jockey (or regular rider over here) has won the race as yet which at least makes life a little interesting. Jeremy Gask is a trainer more than capable of setting up as horse for a race like this and his Medicean Man (13/2 Each Way) is our selection here as he looks to bounce back to his very best. His form figures may not inspire at first glance but look deeper and you will see a two length sixth to Profitable in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot as well as reasonable efforts in Dubai in far better races. He clearly loves it here with three wins two seconds and a third from seventeen starts, and if he matches his Royal Ascot run he would win here with the minimum of fuss.
Top weight has ended up with Line Of Reason (12/1) who will be ridden by Kenichi Ikezoe who will be having his first taste of riding in England, which can’t really be seen as a positive. The horse is now a six-year-old and will be running off an official rating of 105, but as his last win in June at Ripon was off 106 connections are not asking him to do anything he hasn’t manged before. His last run was a six and a half length fifteenth at Glorious Goodwood, but that was in the Group Two King George Stakes and he may well appreciate a return to handicap company. We did notice that he has never carried ten stone to success before but he is a class act and could yet put up a bold effort.
In Salutem (13/2) travels over from Ireland for trainer Ken Condon and is in good heart of late with a first four place in his last five races. His victory at Navan was on good to firm going which may see the son of Sakhee’s Secret at his best, but he also handles plenty of cut in the ground if needed and was a five length fourth to Perfect Pasture last time out at The Curragh off a rating of 98. He runs off the same mark this afternoon with Thierry Jarnet on board and may have a half decent chance if the going remains on the quicker side of good.
When it comes to handicaps you can never ignore David O’Meara and he has Out Do (6/1) as joint top-weight and the seven year old will be looking to go one better than when runner up to Naadirr at Doncaster last weekend. Held up in a tactical race he came with a run but it was too little too late and he was beaten a length at the line, though he was well ahead of Burnt Sugar who re-opposes now on four pounds worse terms and ought to confirm the form though the Hannon horse did have an off day.
As mentioned above, Richard Hannon will send Burnt Sugar (11/1) here as the now four-year-old looks to get back to his best form after a frustrating season so far. They have always thought an awful lot of the son of Lope De Vega but he has never really managed to reproduce some outstanding home gallops on the racecourse and finished last of five to Naadirr at Doncaster last time out, beaten five lengths at the line in a Class Three Conditions Stakes over six furlongs. Since his last win in September 2014 he has been tried at five six and seven furlongs and even over a mile in Dubai, but his two career wins have been over five and six and coincidentally on the polytrack at Lingfield and Kempton. That is a worry and diminishes his chances of success here in our eyes but his trainer and connections keep the faith, and a big run at a big price is not such an impossibility as it at first appears.