Jamie Spencer: Hopefully, he won’t be far away with the ground in his favour
I think all the obvious ones look very solid on the Ascot card, and the likes of Order Of St George, Harry Angel, Journey, Ribchester and Cracksman deserve to head the market in their respective races.
But if they don’t come up to scratch in what could be pretty gruelling conditions, then I hope I am the beneficiary in the Long Distance Cup and the Champion Stakes.
He has run four solid races of late, and of course he will not be inconvenienced by any amount of rain. His recent starts tell you that he doesn’t need it testing to show his form though, and he ran well when fourth to Desert Skyline at Doncaster last time, but he is clearly highly effective when the mud is flying and he did finish second in this race two years ago, as well. But on what we know Order Of St George will take a lot of beating in here – especially if the weather claims the Gold Cup winner Big Orange – though the 3yos could have a say, as well.
Here Comes When
Similar comments about the weather forecast apply to Here Comes When. He is another horse who doesn’t need it soft to show high-class form – he was fourth in a Sussex Stakes on good – but it’s a great leveller when conditions get this deep. And it was certainly that when he beat Ribchester and Lightning Spear in this year’s renewal at Goodwood. That was some effort to win a Group 1. Common sense tells you that he has a fair bit to find with a peak-form Ribchester or Churchill, but he hopefully won’t be far away now that the ground has already come in his favour.
He has run some of his better efforts at this track, one of his better career efforts coming in a QEII third here a couple of years ago. Everyone knows about Gabrial though, and he hasn’t won for a fair while now and ran one of his lesser races at Chester last time, albeit he blew his chance at the start there. But he has come down to a mark of 105 – he was 114 at his peak – and he was only beaten a length off 108 in the Lincoln earlier this season. He goes on any ground, too, so he has an outside shot.
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