Cracksman’s run at Epsom gives us all a little ray of hope, as before then he looked unbeatable for this race. His Ganay win and his victory here last October would see him win this with a lot to spare – he is a class apart at his peak – though I suppose the ground may not be ideal for him. Desert Encounter is a very good horse on his day though, as he showed when third in the Eclipse last season, and I thought he shaped well for me when third to Poet’s Word under a 3lb penalty in the Brigadier Gerard last time. He travelled well into the race. Obviously, that form isn’t going to be good enough here but that was his first run since Meydan in March and he is entitled to improve on it. From what we know, however, I’d say that anything better than fourth would be a very good effort from him.
Jamie won this race a few years with Field Of Dream, so let’s hope that he has laid this one out just as well! I thought he shaped pretty well in midfield in the Victoria Cup on his reappearance, and so did the handicapper as his left his mark alone. He will hopefully be sharper here and he has a lot of good, solid form at this track; he is a dual course and distance winner, and he also finished an excellent third to Accidental Agent and Lord Glitters here last October. Ideally, he would prefer a bit of ease in the ground, and this is a career-high mark, but other than that he looks to have a fair bit going for him.
A massive field for this race, but I suppose a midfield draw gives me options. He has a bit to find form-wise with a few of these, but you can’t knock his profile coming into the race. He did it nicely when winning a handicap over course and distance, and then followed up off a 6lb higher mark at Goodwood. I think you can mark up that form a good deal given he was shuffled back to last from his draw in two there, and had to come around the whole field to win. He fully deserves his step up in class after what we saw of him last time, and hopefully his Sussex Stakes entry tells a story, too. It does look a ridiculously deep race, though.
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