This Group 2 contest has been won by French or German-trained horses for the past nine years but it looks like it’ll be going across the channel this year as the Charlie Appleby trained Line Of Duty is the class act. Godolphin’s colt was a Group 1 winner at the Breeders’ Cup last season and following a mid-season break this year he’s been placed in the Jacques le Marois and the Prix du Moulin. Both these pieces of form are good enough to win this race.
Leading the home defence is Skalleti who bids to complete a six-timer here having progressed all season to land a Listed and Group 3 event last twice. He’s a horse on an upward curve but may lack the class of the favourite.
Others with chances include the classy handicapper Mountain Angel and the Irish-raider Leo De Fury.
Selection: Line Of Duty
There is a disappointing field for this Group 2 with just the five runners and straight away we can narrow it down to four with actual chances of winning. Olmedo heads the market with some top form in Group 1 company including a fine fourth in the controversial Prix du Moulin when last seen. That run alone makes him the one to beat.
Impulsif seems to have turned a corner of late with victories in a brace of conditions races and a Group 3 event. This is some way short of Group 1 company but he’s running well and should go well.
Shaman has bumped into some classy sorts of late as he’s been contesting Group 1 contest on his last four starts. He’ll definitely appreciate this drop in class and should give the favourite the most to think about.
The last horse to consider is The Revenant who’s chasing a six-timer having improved all season including a Group 2 victory at Baden-Baden last time out. This is a stronger looking race and I think the winning streak will come to an end.
This race really put Gavin Cromwell on the map as a flat trainer last season when his Princess Yaiza caused an upset. I think there will be no such surprise this season with the well established John Gosden running one of my favourite horses in the shape of Enbihaar. She has been very impressive on her last four starts and this imposing daughter of Redoute’s Choice can land a well-deserved Group 1.
Mr Gosden also runs the regally-bred Lah Ti Dar and Oaks winner Anapurna so really it’s an embarrassment of riches. The former’s only run at the trip came when finishing second the St Leger so can be expected to stay whereas it’s Anapurna’s first try at the distance and I’m not convinced she’ll stay.
Outside the Gosden battalion, the consistent but slightly frustrating Musis Amica must enter calculations. She’s twice been a runner-up in Group 1 events so far but it’s worrying that she doesn’t win too often.
This is quite an open looking contest with Brittish-raiders dominating the market. Chief among them is Andrew Balding’s Dashing Willoughby who won the Queen’s Vase earlier in the season at Royal Ascot and although he hasn’t won since that piece of form looks strong and this represents a drop in class.
The heavily-raced and highly-tried Technician wasn’t beaten far in the St Leger when last seen in action. The worry I have with him is that he’s beginning to look exposed and others look more progressive. Another horse that ran in the St Leger was Nayef Road who like most trained by Mark Johnston’s horses is maintaining his level of form if not improving with racing. He ran a super race to finish third in the Leger and should once again run well.
Charlie Appleby’s Moonlight Spirit has ground to make up with Dashing Willoughby on their Queen’s Vase meeting and looked very impressive when landing a Group 3 over course and distance just over a month ago. He’s open to further progress and is my idea of the winner.
Selection: Moonlight Spirit
Dee Ex Bee has been the bridesmaid all season behind the best stayer of his generation Stradivarius in the likes of the Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup. He’ll appreciate not seeing Stradivarius in the line-up and should land a well-deserved Group 1 contest.
Call The Wind took this race twelve months ago but hasn’t got his head in front in five prior runs. I think this year’s renewal looks stronger and he’ll struggle to land back to back renewals.
Of the outsiders, I like the chances of Falcon Eight who represents the Dermot Weld yard and has a very lightly-raced profile. He was disappointing in the Lonsdale Cup most recently where he never really travelled and if you can put a line through that form he could run into the places.
Selection: Falcon Eight – E/W