I was surprised to see Heavy Metal as big a price as he is in here. He comes here as an older horse with excellent, recent course form. He is drawn in eight and there will be plenty of competition for the lead but he should go well at decent odds.
This is a deep race and all the horses’ form ties in closely with one another, and I think whoever gets the best trip will win. It could be as simple as that. Vazirabad probably isn’t as dominant coming into the race as he was last year – when he just edged me out on Big Orange – and he was beaten by Beautiful Romance in his prep. There will be a strong pace in here with Big Orange and my mount Quest For More, and Roger’s horse has as good a claim as most in a very tight race. He likes fast ground, beat Vazirabad in the Cadran and only lost out narrowly to Sheikhzayedroad in both the Doncaster Cup and at Ascot on Champions’ Day. He has a lot to recommend him, but so do plenty of others in here.
I had a look at this race but it all looked like spaghetti to me. I suppose I would agree that Thunder Snow deserves to be favourite, though. He was behind Lancaster Bomber in the Dewhurst but then went on to win his Group 1 by 5 lengths in France and showed he can handle the dirt with an impressive win here last month. I suppose the step up in trip is a slight question mark for him, though.
A lot of people are questioning the 6f trip for Ertijaal, mainly because he broke the track record over 5f here recently. But he comes here in peak form, is a course and distance winner and in fact he won over 7f when trained by William Haggas. He is definitely the one to beat. Limato is a great horse, and the best European sprinter on his day as we saw in the July Cup, but this is his first run of the year and that may just find him out.
People seem to be taking Mind Your Biscuits on because of his wide draw in 14. But he is a Grade 1 winner who had a nice easy prep last month and has a great turn of foot. I think he is the worthy favourite and can overcome the draw.
Zarak is the right favourite – he won his prep race impressively here last month and his Group 1 form in France last season reads very well – but I give Deauville a squeak against him at around 14/1 and 16/1. Obviously, I know the horse well, having won the Belmont Derby on him last July, and I think 1m1f on fast ground will be fine for him. He is drawn in 12 but he has a lot of early pace and is tough. He only had a handful of runs last season, and he is the type of horse who will improve again from 3 to 4yo. And the chat is that he has been working very well.
I see Postponed is the clear favourite but I think he is beatable. He is priced up on last season’s early form, when he won this race, and not recent evidence. He disappointed in the Arc and it was very out of character for him to behave the way he did before his second in his prep here earlier in the month. And with all due respect to the winner that day, Prize Money, that horse was only winning the November Handicap off a mark of 107 four months previously. The Postponed of last year could have been only 90 per cent and beaten him 5 lengths. I think he has to be 10lb better today. I wouldn’t have anything between him and Highland Reel in the betting. Highland Reel’s recent Group 1 form is much better than Postponed’s, and I think he sets the standard on his Arc second and his King George win and Breeders’ Cup second. Admittedly, he wasn’t at his best in this race last year but he looks a big price at 9/2 to me.
Unless Arrogate trips up, he wins. It’s a substandard renewal, make no mistake, and he is easily the best horse in here. I wouldn’t be worried about his draw in nine and in fact I think it gives Mike Smith options. If he breaks well, then he can go on, or he can pull wide off the pace and avoid the kick-back. Either way, he will win unless something goes badly wrong.
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