SWINDLER (nb) ran just three times last season but each one was a cracker with two speedy victories at Ascot and a close-up fifth on the July course here.
He clocked a scorching time on his second success and this trip is ideal. He goes well fresh and could be a Group horse in the making.
Gulliver is a regular in the frame over this trip ad is back handicapping from a fair mark, while Open Wide was second in the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood last term from just 3lb lower in the weights so must be a player.
Dazzling Dan was a close third at Ascot latest and won’t be far away while Total Commitment has been knocking on the door.
OXTED is the rising star in this field as he showed when winning the Portland at Doncaster last time out in September. He showed excellent pace there and has winning form after a long break.
Brando has two wins and a close third from the past three runnings of this race. He’s eight now but signed off last term with a trio of top performances at Group 1 level. At his age he may just need this return.
Stablemate Emaraaty Ana is another with few miles on the clock and more to offer. Keystroke’s last win came in this race 12 months ago but he hasn’t matched that effort since. Mr Lupton seemed to be showing his age a little last year.
SANGARIUS has already shown himself to be better than this Listed level but easily winning the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last season. It’s a worry that he didn’t run again but he oozes class and Sir Michael Stoute’s horses have looked fit and ready since racing returned.
Godolphin have two big dangers with Mythical Magic going close in a couple of Group 2s in Dubai this winter. This mile suits well and he can hit the frame.
Gosden and Dettori team up for the boys in blue with Lord Tennyson who won an egg-and-spoon race at Chelmsford on debut but is certain to improve a bundle here.
Vale Of Kent did well in hot handicaps last season and could hit the frame at a big price. Escobar landed a nice prize over this trip at Ascot in October and was a Listed winner in 2016. Momkin showed promise last season and may improve.
It would be brilliant to see great stayer Stradivarius win this but it’s a long time since he ran over this trip. He’s one of the best ever to have raced at two miles and beyond. He’ll be no pushover but may lack pace against these high-class rivals.
You would think he’d have no choice but to be up there and make this a stamina test which may not suit classy front-runner Ghaiyyath who was impressive when winning in Dubai last time but is a pretty skinny price.
Last winner’s DEFOE could cash in. He went close at Meydan in February and followed his Coronation win with a game success in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot. We know this trip is ideal and he’s gone well at HQ before.
Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck shouldn’t be ignored. He went close in the Irish version after his Epsom heroics and was an excellent third at the Breeders’ Cup. It would be no shock for him to hit the places.
CORVAIR has been impressive in landing three wins on the all-weather, including when meeting traffic problems here last time. Moving back up to 7f looks a wise move and there’s more to come.
Verboten won his maiden before being pitched into the Group 1 Futurity Trophy at Newcastle in November. That was too hot but he should be more than a handicapper.
Huboor impressed when winning on handicap debut at Newmarket and even a 12lb rise may not stop him, while Grove Ferry won a couple of times at two and can figure.
MISS YODA (NAP) looks the one to beat after three good runs last season, ending with a close-up second in the Group 3 Zetland Stakes at Newmarket. She shapes as though this longer trip will suit and there’s more to come.
Stablemate Lake Lucerne looks a big threat after winning her maiden nicely at Chelmsford in March. She is well bred and will improve plenty.
West End Girl was outclassed at the highest level but only after winning a Group 3 here in August. She steps beyond a mile for the first time but should stay.
So I Told You went through the mud to score at Nottingham and looks a stayer in the making for Richard Hughes.
The third Gosden runner Anastarsia is another who will appreciate this stamina test but looks a little short of her team-mates on form.
KING CARNEY won the Listed Silver Tankard at Pontefract over a mile in October but looks an out and out stayer. He’s by a Derby winner and battled really well to score that day. He looks the type to improve at three and should run well.
English King was impressive when winning at Newcastle under hands and heels in November and should improve plenty on that.
Sound Of Cannons performed respectably in a French Group 1 last time and should appreciate this longer distance, while Berkshire Rocco won at Chester before stepping up in grade for a good third in the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket.
He’s bred for this trip and can take a step forward.
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