See The Sun recorded his three best ratings of last season here and heads into this with his stable going well, a decent sixth at Ripon last time he is sure to have his supporters and is therefore handed the vote. David O’Meara’s string always need plenty of respect here and Algar Lad went in here yesterday, it would be surprising if he was out again but his chance would be solid if he did. The yards other runner, Out Do looks to have a great chance and comes here off the back of a good win at Pontefract last time, that victory was gained over 6f however and despite plenty of pace he could be running on all too late. Lexington Abbey is another who needs a healthy level of respect, a sort who likes the course he has been a tad disappointing this term but there is little doubt he has the ability to pick up one of these valuable races.Monssieur Joe took last seasons renewal of this under Graham Lee and did so off this mark, unimpressive in four runs this term his price could offer reward for the value hunters and as he arrived in similar form last year, he is handed a speculative nod at running into a place. Ladweb is tough and deserves a big pot and whilst the handicapper knows everything about Red Baron and Burning Thread, both have fair claims in an open race.
See The Sun (E/W)
Monsieur Joe (E/W)
Race fitness could prove a decisive factor in this and the Sir Michael Stoute trained Bragging looks to have an ideal opportunity to make it two from two for this season. Strong in the finish when victorious at Newmarket over a furlong less the last day, she still looks to have more to offer and whilst this looks a tad tougher, it is very difficult to go against her today. Belle D’or has over 2 lengths to find with the selection on that Newmarket race and whilst she too looked to be doing her best work at the finish, she hardly looked in need of the run. Ribbons and Secret Gesture are closely matched on a run last season and either winning would be no surprise, the lack of a recent for both of them however leaves them with a little to prove and the Stoute filly looks a worthy favourite.
Just the five turn out for this but all five have a chance of sorts and this could turn out to be a decent race as such. Endless Time created a favourable impression on debut before showing a gutsy attitude when winning at Kempton over a mile last time and looks likely to be suited by the extra furlong today. James Doyle’s decision to ride her looks an interesting one and despite conceding weight all round, she is fancied to see them off before going on to better things. Justice Belle is consistent but keeps finding one too good, as was the case over 1m4f last time. She will certainly pick up a race before long but you do have to worry that she could well bump into another ‘one’ here. Hoorayforhollywood just showed moderate progression in four runs last term and probably has a bit to find on the face of it with a few of these, her trainer is the master of unlocking further improvement however and she is beautifully bred. Asima and Jersey Jewel are the other challengers and both look up to winning nice races, this could turn out to be a very decent race however and the Godolphin challenger is worth risking.
Endless Time (WIN)
The last winner of this to follow up in the Derby was Authorized in 2008, this seasons renewal looks very strong however and whatever wins is almost certain to go off favourite in the big race at Epsom. Jack Hobbs was strongly fancied on debut at Wolverhampton and created a favourable impression when winning, heading to Sandown the next time he was once again fancied to go in and duly obliged in most taking fashion by 12 Lengths. Currently heading the Derby betting, the Gosden challenger could be anything and needs an incredible amount of respect here. Quite what he achieved has to be open to question and with a heavy heart, and a strong pull of the formbook, he has to be opposed at the odds. Elm Park was pulled out of the Guineas a few weeks ago with connections citing the quick going conditions as the reason. The drying ground here has to be slightly worrying for his supporters today but his form is the strongest and if he does cope, he really ought to take some beating, with the trip looking extremely likely to suit. Ol’ Man River flopped terribly in the Guineas and looked as if something had gone wrong, he had created a good impression before that but there has to be significant worries about him and he cannot be given on the back of that recent flop. John F Kennedy is another whom proved a very costly loser when beaten at 1/4 at Leopardstown the last day, the form of that has since been strongly franked however and he himself may have been ill at ease on the very testing ground first time up. Of the Aiden O’Brien two he definitely looks the most likely and as the new association with Ryan Moore has gone so well, it would be folly to dismiss out of hand. Golden Horn is another from the Gosden yard and is unbeaten in two starts, his attitude strongly suggests there is plenty more to come and whilst it will have to come to take this, he too deserves plenty of respect.
Elm Park (WIN)
Ascription is a horse whom I put down as a sure fire big handicap winner in the making after routing a good field at Doncaster two seasons back, he was since disappointing when heavily backed but has had his problems and has been off the track for almost 600 days now. Quite what to expect from Hugo Palmers charge is any-ones guess and he probably wants cut, if the market began showing strength in him however it would be most interesting and despite not being handed a vote of any kind today, he is worth keeping a very close eye on for future races. Prince Of Johane is frustratingly hard to catch and has gone two seasons without winning now, he has finished in the first three on his previous three runs in this though and is now on a very handy mark. Tom Tates likable 8 year old is another whom is worth of keeping an eye on for future big field handicaps but he does have his favoured ground today and is handed a chance to run into a place at rewarding odds. Off Art clearly had issues last term and missed most of it as a result, heavily backed when second in a good race at Thirsk last time, he would have every chance of going close with a repeat and looks a worthy favourite on paper. Fort Bastion also ran in that Thirsk race and although he finished a fair way behind Off Art, he was repeatedly blocked in his run and was a huge eye catcher. As mentioned earlier, The O’Meara yard excel here and although he must get the gaps, Fort Bastion will likely be able to find them and is handed a strong each way vote. Gabrial is as tough as old boots and won the Lincoln on his reappearance this season, his higher mark demands more but has his chance, as do the likes of Loving Spirit and Nakuti whom both deserve consideration.
Fort Bastion (E/W if 6/1+)
Prince Of Johane (E/W)