An above average Listed race invariably won by a pretty decent sort including Epsom Icon who took it last year for Mick Channon and has gone on to win and run well in Group races this season. Ralph Beckett clearly thinks a lot of Amabilis (9/2) to send the maiden here for her third run, and we are hoping that the daughter of Champs Elysees is as good as the reports of her homework suggest. After two runners up spots at Newmarket and Goodwood her entry here could look questionable but last time out she only went under by a length and three quarters to the Aidan O’Brien trained Rhododendron in a very classy looking Goodwood maiden and as the winner is entered in all the top races this Autumn and beyond, and is thought to have classic pretentions for 2017, it may well be the best form in the race by some way and makes her the selection for us this afternoon.
Mark Johnston has won it three times in the last ten renewals and has decided to rely on Frankuus (4/1), a relatively cheap son of the legendary Frankel at “only” 130,0000 Euros who won first time out at Haydock but not since then in two other starts. Both have been in Listed class like today, and to be fair he was only beaten half a length in to third by Apex King and Monticello at Ascot in the Winkfield Stakes, but this may be a bit tougher than that, and a place is all we can see for him as things stand with a rating of just 95.
Talking of the ratings and according to the handicappers Mr Scaramanga (5/1) is the one to be on as he is rated 99 and thus four pounds ahead of all the other runners. Trained by Richard Hannon his only career win so far was a little novice event at Brighton in May but he did finish five and three quarter lengths third to Boynton and War Decree on the Group Two Superlative Stakes at Newmarket when last seen which sort of explains his rating. As things stand that may well be the best form on offer this afternoon but there are some others who are lightly raced and with bags of room for improvement who could well go past him here.
Hugo Palmer is a man on a mission this season and making the most of every opportunity that comes his way and he has an interesting runner in Escobar (6/4) who has a one out of one race record so far. A son of Famous Name out of a Brief Truce mare he cost 280,000 Euros at the sales last September so presumably looks the part, and appeared on course over this course and distance in July when putting two lengths between himself and Devil’s Bridge staying on strongly off a slow early pace. Sent off at odds of 16/1 that day the implication is that he was left with plenty of improvement to come, and if that is the case then he seems sure to make his presence felt in this more valuable and prestigious contest.
To round off our race preview for now at least, and those with long memories will remember some good winners for the Marcus Tregoning/Martin Dwyer combination though the glory days do now seem to be a long way in the past. They combine this afternoon with Argenterie (12/1), a once raced daughter of Archipenko who has only had the one run when she was two and three quarter lengths behind Rhododendron (and a length behind Amabilis) at Goodwood in a seven-furlong maiden. She was slowly away that day and was running on late and at odds of 66/1 she was clearly not expected to run that well but a maiden awaits and it will be a bit of a shocker if she is up to this class just yet.