An ultra-competitive handicap to end the Channel 4 racing for today and one that has been taken at all odds up to 20/1 (Blue Wave last season), but has also gone to the favourite three times in the last ten years which is good news for any favourite backers. In form options look the sensible start of any race preview and that leads us to King Bolete (6/1) from the Roger Varian stable. A son of the great Cape Cross he scored at Ascot and followed up with another win at Haydock, both on good fast ground and both when running on over a mile and a half. An extra ten pounds for his last win looks likely to bring that winning run to an abrupt end unless the step up in trip negates that added burden which seems unlikely.
There is a school of thought that suggests top weights do even better on faster ground than normal and let’s face it, they are officially the best horse in the race hence their weight. This year that honour falls to Mick Channon’s Elidor (16/1 Each Way) who looks rock solid each way value with the frankly excellent Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle. Another son of Cape Cross, he has won over this distance at Newmarket on Good to Firm ground which ticks the right boxes, and although perhaps not at his best in his last two races in Listed company, his seasonal return was a length third to Dartmouth at Chester over this sort of trip in the Group Three Ormonde Stakes, and a repeat of that run would give the six-year-old a stunning chance at the price.
Despite their nice guy mage Godolphin can be pretty ruthless when they want to be and won’t think twice about selling horses they do not think live up to their own lofty standards, which makes me feel that Qewy (7/1) may have a bit more to offer. Although he had been running over hurdles in the care of John Ferguson, his second place to Jennies Jewel at Royal Ascot was his first run on the flat since October 2014 and he is entitled to have learned from it. This mile and three-quarters may be too short for him these days but Charlie Appleby will have him trained to the minute and has all his horses in top form of late so anything is possible.
Ex Godolphin lynch-pin Simon Crisford has an interesting runner here in Gang Warfare (16/1), a son of Medicean who won his first two races of the season at Southwell and Wolverhampton over a mile and a half and a mile and three-quarters, but has flopped in two races since at Chester and Newcastle. Some think that’s down to his handicap mark but I think he failed to see out the two miles and more and will be far better suited to the trip today and he could run a big race at a decent enough price this afternoon.
Last but not least and bottom weight Gold Prince (11/1) looks interesting wearing first time blinkers for trainer Sylvester Kirk. Three second places in four races show his consistency and he steps up in trip here from a mile and a half last time out at Haydock when a length and a half behind Tawdeea, and as he is four pounds better off today with that rivals he may have a better chance than the current odds imply.