This race is full of improving, last-time-out scorers, so it will take a fair bit of winning. I know my mount well and he won off nicely at Chester for me over an extended 1m2f before stepping up in trip to contest the King George V Stakes over 1m4f at Royal Ascot. He ran well there – better than his finishing position of seventh indicates – but the big question for him to answer here is will he be suited by the step up to 1m6f. And, even though he is a High Chaparral, I think you have to have your doubts. But he is lightly-raced, and hopefully still improving, so let’s see.
He can be slowly away, so we could be on the back foot from stall two if he does that again. But he had some good middle-distance form last season, notably when third at York, and he warmed up for this race with a win at Cork last month. 1m4f on fast ground is fine for him, though he does have form on soft, and hopefully he will give me a good spin in what is obviously a competitive big-field handicap.
Michael has his horses in top form, and Hart Stopper comes here in fair nick himself. I rode him when he won over 6f on fast ground at Windsor in May and he ran well off a 6lb higher mark on an easier surface 10 days ago. With just six runs under his belt, he can hopefully be competitive once again here.
He made a successful debut for the yard when winning well for me at Newcastle and I thought he ran equally as well when third in a decent handicap over 1m here next time. He steps up over 2f in trip here, but it is worth trying on run-style and on his pedigree – he is a Henrythenavigator half-brother to 1m4f winner Barsanti, among others – and I think a mark of 84 gives him a decent chance. This could be a hot handicap, though.
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