Sunday, June 28, 2009

Weekend notes

In a strongly-run Irish Derby earlier this afternoon, Fame And Glory gained some compensation for his Epsom defeat by beating stablemate Golden Sword five lengths.This was Aidan O'Brien's seventh Irish Derby and Johnny Murtagh's third. In post-race comments Murtagh identified the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown as a possible target for the winner. Riding in his first classic, the winning trainer's son, J P O'Brien, finished tenth of the eleven runners on 200/1 shot Byzantine.

Michael Owen's wife, Louise, has recently been gainfully employed promoting next Saturday's Coral Eclipse at Sandown. That race has been given an extra fillip with the news that Epsom Derby winner Sea The Stars now goes for that prize, having been withdrawn from the Irish Derby on account of the easy ground.

There were plenty of footballing links at Newcastle's meeting on Saturday, links Derek Thompson wasn't slow to point out. Before the Pitmen's Derby, former Magpies' player Peter Beardsley and Hull City manager Phil Brown tipped up Som Tala from the stable of ex-England international Mick Channon. The beast, a 16/1 shot, won with something in hand. Roker Park won the 2.35 and Horatio Carter the 3.45; both are owned by Sunderland fan Mr T Alderson. Roker Park was the ground Sunderland used to play at while Horati Stratton Carter, better known as Raich Carter, captained them to the league title and their first FA Cup final victory. By the way, just in case you missed it, Derek Thompson originates from these parts...

Following on from recent match-fixing posts, I'm grateful to the Wrexham Supporters Association Blog for bringing to my attention two links that add some detail to the circumstances surrounding the Histon v. Lewes game in September 2008. Cambridge News Online reported the Histon team were threatened by a gambling ring while in May 2009 the Daily Mail made reference to five non-league games that were under investigation. Of course, fixing is a worry in all sports - the first-round tie at this year's Wimbledon Championships between Jurgen Melzer and Wayne Odesnik has been been in the news and has been reported to the authorities. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) for its part has welcomed the recent announcement by Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe that he is to set up a Sports Betting Integrity Panel.

Mrs Tips and I were at Wimbledon on Thursday, having been allocated two Centre Court tickets through the public ballot system. The crowds were big, the weather hot - I found it all jolly tiring. I was left wondering whether the tennis product is better consumed through the medium of television. Mrs T. enjoyed it though, so I've asked her to file a report; she says she'll do that when she has fully recovered...

Friday, June 26, 2009

Northumberland Plate

Twenty go to post tomorrow for the Northumberland Plate run over a trip of two miles at Newcastle. This evening bookmakers go 8/1 the field for this competitive handicap which is also known as the 'Pitmen's Derby'. Over the last ten years the winner has come from stalls numbered 1-9 on eight occasions; Judgethemoment is strongly fancied but has two negative pointers - he has been drawn wide and happens to have won the Ascot Stakes less than a fortnight ago. Big weight-carrying performances are something of a rarity; that doesn't augur well for Friston Forest allocated nine stones ten pounds, but the next horse in the handicap, The Betchworth Kid, has just nine stones two to carry. I always look for something that is set to carry under nine stones in this. Speed Ticket and Keenes Day have the right profile and are bound to have their supporters but for me Wells Lyrical looks as though this has been his target and is worth a small each-way interest at around 10/1; note that recent stable form isn't convincing.

Over in Ireland Look Here is a horse I like, is top-rated for the ten furlong Pretty Polly Stakes, and ran a blinder last time out to be pipped in a three-way photo in the Coronation Cup at Epsom. I'm not certain whether the step back in trip will suit and there's a possibility she may 'bounce' on her second run after a long layoff, so I'll watch from the sidelines.

Saturday's Scoop 6 races (27 June 2009) are:
2.10 Newcastle
2.20 Newmarket
2.35 Newcastle
3.10 Newcastle
3.25 Newmarket
3.45 Newcastle

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Royal Ascot reviewed

A splendid meeting this year with the highlights including Canford Cliffs' sensational six length victory in the six furlong Coventry Stakes, Jealous Again's five length victory in the five furlong Queen Mary Stakes and Ghanaati thrashing some classy-looking rivals in the Coronation Stakes. The one exceptional performance was Yeats becoming the first horse ever to win a fourth Ascot Gold Cup - that will certainly live long in the memory.

On the punting front three winners from twelve wagers gave me a strike rate of 25% but I'm afraid the starting prices of the winners weren't big enough to ensure a profit - over the meeting I returned a loss of £2.67 to a £1 level stakes bet.

During the week I didn't catch an awful lot of the BBC's fashion coverage (thankfully) but on Saturday I did catch Rishi Persad coming on rather strongly to the racy Suzi Perry. Mr Persad commented 'You're hot, ' to Ms Perry and I don't think he was saying that just because the sun had made an appearance from behind the clouds. Mrs Tips, far more atuned to this sort of stuff than me, described his behaviour as 'serious flirting'. These days, one has to say, standards are slipping, aren't they? I'm sure I heard a character in 'Home And Away' use that line a couple of weeks ago...

Of course, while the great and the good go to the races, the big bad world keeps turning round. The scandal surrounding MPs' expenses fails to die down. The Daily Mail reports that amongst the many and varied expense submissions, Richard Spring, Member of Parliament for West Suffolk, claimed £39 for copies of the Racing Post 'necessary because Newmarket racecourse is in his constituency, he says.' Hmmmm...

I didn't see any televised racing on Friday as I went with my daughter to an open day held at the Birmingham Conservatoire. Now, I thought a conservatoire was a place double-glazing salesmen met to discuss strategy, security and safety-glass; I now know different. In the afternoon, while my daughter attended a workshop entitled 'Early Music & Historical Vocal Class' I went to the 'Jazz Jam Session' where a number of young, gifted musicians gave an impromptu concert that rates the best free event I've attended in a very long time - marvellous stuff. The date of the next open day is already in the diary...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Royal Ascot 2009 - Saturday

The highlight on the final day of Royal Ascot is the Golden Jubilee Stakes, a six furlong sprint. Fifteen have been declared, although this evening it looks as though the Australian runner Takeover Target won't line up. At the time of writing the market is dominated by two runners; Sacred Kingdom from Hong Kong and JJ The Jet Plane from South Africa. Intriguingly they're drawn right next to each other in stalls eight and nine. Connections of Sacred Kingdom have stumped up £45,000 to take part in this, so I guess they think they have a chance... It's JJ The Jet Plane for me, although I note that the market hasn't proved a very reliable guide in the past ten years with no favourites obliging, and second favourites only collecting twice.

In the Hardwicke I looked into taking on favourite Doctor Freemantle with Campanologist but decided to resist temptation. Course and distance winner Campanologist is top on official ratings but Godolphin haven't had a particularly good Ascot and the horse ran some way off his best on his seasonal debut when eighth of twelve in the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown. I'll watch with interest but keep what little money I have left in my pocket.

Having said that, I do like to have an interest in the finale, the Queen Alexandra Stakes, which is run over two and three quarter miles - I'm pretty certain this is the longest race of the entire meeting. What a fantastic horse Nicky Henderson's twelve-year-old Caracciola is! Having won the Cesarewitch last autumn at odds of 50/1, he was sent hurdling over the winter months and then, reverting back to the Flat, he collected the listed Grand Cup at York three short weeks ago. He will relish the fast ground here but faces a stiff task giving the rest of the field at least five pounds. Bulwark isn't one to trust implicitly but would be right there if in the mood which brings me back to Amerigo and Halla San. On Chester Cup form there's little between the two; I take the view that Halla San looks likely to stay while Amerigo isn't certain to. At the prices, Halla San offers the better value and with the stable is in such good form, Halla San is the selection.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Royal Ascot 2009 - Friday

Over the years the Friday card at Royal Ascot has proved something of a graveyard for me; this year, in an attempt to rectify this miserable situation, I'm going to limit myself to just one wager. That will have to be on the day's feature race, the Coronation Stakes, a Group 1 event for fillies run over the round mile.

Barry Hills' Ghanaati belied her 20/1 starting price when taking the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in impressive style. A big filly, she is the market leader but this is no one horse race. The yard won the Jersey Stakes with Ouqba on Wednesday but their stats for the last fortnight show just two wins from the last thirty one attempts and on grounds of value alone I'm tempted to look elsewhere. French 1000 Guineas winner Elusive Wave is likely to throw down a stern challenge; on ratings her form is slightly better than that of Ghanaati and she has more racecourse experience but she will need to handle the preliminaries. Irish 1000 Guineas winner Again looked to have a hard race when collaring Mick Channon's Lahaleeb on heavy ground at the Curragh three and a half weeks ago - this may come a little too soon for both horses. I haven't totally given up on Rainbow View who looked unlucky in running in the Epsom Oaks after finishing fifth behind Ghanaati in the Guineas; that day connections blamed the fast ground for her disappointing performance. She will encounter similar ground tomorrow and the stable is out of form with just one winner from thirty seven runners in the last fortnight. French raider Reggane is difficult to weigh up but certainly worth a mention; she could easily prove the dark horse in the field and may be of interest to those looking for an each-way punt.

In a trappy looking event I'm going to side with the front-running Elusive Wave; she's priced up at 3/1 in a couple places this evening.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Royal Ascot 2009 - Thursday

The highlight on Ladies' Day is the Ascot Gold Cup run over a trip of two and a half miles. Aidan O'Brien's Yeats is something of a standing dish, having won the three previous runnings; tomorrow he attempts to win this for a record-breaking fourth time. The big question is whether age is finally catching up with this eight year old. His first run of the season at Navan was bitterly disappointing; sent off the 4/5 favourite, he finished a well-beaten sixth behind Alandi. On that occasion the vet reported the horse blowing hard after the race. If the real Yeats turns up tomorrow, the 9/4 generally on offer could be the value; he started at 11/8 last year and 8/13 the year before. Second favourite Geordieland showed a resolution we haven't seen too often before when handing out a five length beating to Patkai in Sandown's Henry II Stakes three weeks ago. My reading of the form book is that in the last two renewals of this race Geordieland has been outgunned in the final furlong - he has stayed on at the one pace. For that reason he's passed over. Patkai likes Ascot, looking mighty impressive when taking the Queen's Vase at this meet last year. Malcolm Heyhoe, writing in the Weekender, thinks he will reverse Sandown form with Geordieland as Ryan Moore committed his charge too early. Having said all that, this is his first try at the trip and on official handicap ratings he has enough to find with the principals. Of the three Godolphin runners Veracity makes most appeal but the manner in which the stable's Gladiatorus and Alexandros faded in Tuesday's opener is a cause for concern. This race poses a lot more questions than it has in the recent past. I'm not overly confident but I will chance Yeats returning to his best; if he does, there won't be a dry eye in the house.

I was ready to put up the top-rated Take The Hint for the Ribblesdale (3.05) until I noted the form of John Gosden's yard - just one win from thirty two attempts in the last fortnight. I know these runs have to end sometime but I have to side with Sir Michael Stoute's well-touted Leocorno.

No bet for me in the opener but if you're prepared to take the cramped odds, Richard Hannon's Monsieur Chevalier looks the one to beat. The stable had a fine double here on Tuesday with Paco Boy and the exceptional Canford Cliffs.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Royal Ascot - Wednesday

Wednesday's feature is the Prince Of Wales's Stakes run over a distance of ten furlongs. A field of just eight are set to go to post but the race has something of a trappy feel to it. Sir Michael Stoute's market leader Tartan Bearer is the top-rated animal on official handicap ratings but he has just one pound in hand over Trincot and three over Twice Over. In addition this trip is probably shorter than ideal and he faces a strong challenge from French raiders Vision D'Etat and Never On A Sunday. Vision D'Etat was fifth in last year's Arc and comes to this on the back of a win in the Ganay while Never On A Sunday needs to improve again but could well do just that. Tartan Bearer is the percentage call in a race where the favourite has obliged on three occasions in the last ten years but I'm going to oppose with Vision D'Etat.

Lush Lashes, a Group 1 winner in a Group 2 event, looks the one to beat despite the penalty she carries in the Windsor Forest at 3.05.

For those who have to have a bet in the annual cavalry charge that is the Royal Hunt Cup (for the record, I do not include myself in that number) I was on the verge of suggesting Luca Cumnai's Axiom until I noted that the fast ground was likely cause something of a problem. That led me on to Clive Cox's Dunn'o who beat Axiom half a length over Sandown's stiff mile last time. Dunn'o carries a five pound penalty for that victory but is 20/1 with Victor Chandler this evening; he rates the tentative each-way suggestion.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Royal Ascot 2009 - Tuesday

The feature on the opening day of this year's Royal Ascot meeting is the St James's Palace Stakes, a Group 1 event run over a mile. Mastercraftsman will be a warm order to collect, having won the Irish 2000 Guineas a little over three weeks ago. That day Delegator was nowhere to be seen, patently failing to operate in the heavy ground. Conditions are likely to be on the fast side tomorrow; I'd expect a much better show from Delegator, now ridden by Jimmy Fortune, but the stats point to Mastercraftsman and I'm not inclined to look elsewhere for value. Mastercraftsman is the selection, although at the likely cramped odds I won't be having a bet.

Over the years Godolphin have done well with their runners in the opening Queen Anne Stakes; tomorrow they field two, Gladitorius and Alexandros. On official ratings Gladitorius is the one to beat and he has been installed the 2/1 market leader; no favourite has won this in the last ten runnings. Paco Boy would probably prefer some cut and there's still a niggling doubt he may not stay this tough mile - I think he's better over seven furlongs. Main Aim won a Group 3 last time out and tries the mile for the first time here. A fascinating race that isn't easy to call - I'm going to have a small each-way interest in Alexandros who may well have won the Lockinge had Dettori not dropped his whip inside the final furlong. The horse will appreciate the quicker surface and Frankie rides Ascot well.

Favourites have a poor record in the five furlong King's Stand Stakes too, only one winning in the last decade. Henry Candy's three year old Amour Propre has a decent draw but is taking on tougher, older opponents here; expect plenty of comment from John Inverdale if this one obliges as he owns a share. Australian runner Scenic Blast is out wide in berth fifteeen so I'm going to chance Jeremy Noseda's filly Fleeting Spirit, a close third in this last year; she has been trained specifically for this race.

Canford Hills is a short-price for the Coventry Stakes (4.20). Peter May's speed figures in Raceform's Royal Ascot Guide highlight the chance of Barry Hills' Red Jazz. The colt is expected to appreciate the step up to six furlongs and is 9/1 with Totesport this evening; at that price I'll have an each-way bet.

Plenty of old jumping friends go to post for the Ascot Stakes (4.55). In a wide open event, I'm going to keep faith in Venetia Williams' Cheltenham Festival winner Kayf Aramis. No selection in the finale but I draw your attention to the fact that the horse carrying the eight number cloth is named George Baker, is trained by George Baker and will be ridden by George Baker!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Match-fixing considerations...

With Royal Ascot just around the corner, I've decided to keep my powder dry this weekend, in anticipation. I looked at the five furlong Scurry Stakes at Sandown; the conditions of the race appear to favour Adorn but the draw in berth one hasn't done him any favours and to date he has been campaigned over a furlong further. Course and distance winner Triple Aspect faces a stiff task giving ten pounds to six of his nine opponents and five pounds to the remaining three while Noble Storm is well drawn but has plenty to find on official ratings. I'm leaving well alone. I'd noted that Donald McCain's only runner at Hexham was in the concluding bumper but this evening the Racing Post indicate Whiteabbey is a doubtful starter.

Notwithstanding the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for the small sum of £80 million, there has been plenty of talk of match-fixing in the media this week...

Now, I'd be the first to point out that sport and religion don't always make the best of bedfellows. Granted, many consider supporting their favourite football team something akin to religion and I can recall Jeffrey Bernard stating in a book that an acquaintance of his once entered 'two mile handicap chases' in the religion box on a job application form. Still, on Tuesday night, seated in the nave of Coventry Cathedral, I listened to former New York mob boss Michael Franzese talk about corruption in sport; all very interesting, if slightly incongruous. His presentation, together with that of Betfair MD Mark Davies, formed part of the Play The Game 2009 conference. The message from Tuesday's evening session in a nutshell - match-fixing is out there, it's going on and it's getting bigger. A possible solution? Get to young players early, educate them and let them know that if they're caught, their careers will be over. Mark Davies was interested in offering 'trackable' betting systems in a regulated market to consumers at a price they wanted.

On Thursday morning the BBC ran a story that William Hill were considering stopping betting on certain football matches next season. That evening The Report on Radio Four talked about match-fixing in football and tennis, with the League Two fixture between Accrington Stanley and Bury coming to the attention of the authorities, as have two games in the Blue Square Conference, Grays Athletic v. Forest Green Rovers and Histon v. Lewes. Another story, released by the BBC on the same day, indicated that 'between September 2007 and March 2009 the Gambling Commission investigated 47 cases of alleged match-fixing and illegal betting on British sporting events.' Most of the cases investigated in the UK concern football, horse racing and snooker.

The consensus opinion - ignoring these developments is not an option.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Derby Day dissections...

The media, desperately searching for a new superstar, had their wish granted when Sea The Stars became the first horse since Nashwan twenty years ago to win the 2000 Guineas and the Derby. Immediately after the race, commentator Jim McGrath gave a conservative estimate of the colt's value - £40 million.

Nijinsky was the last horse to complete the Triple Crown in 1970 but the St. Leger doesn't seem to feature in John Oxx's plans for his winner; the Irish Derby most certainly does.

Jockeys in this year's Derby all wore black armbands in memory of Vincent O'Brien who died on Monday, aged 92. There have been many tributes to a man whose training feats are unlikely to be surpassed. He was probably the greatest trainer of all time.

Aidan O'Brien's six runners in the Derby each incurred a fine of £140 for arriving late in the paddock - that was half the field! The race itself started seven minutes late. I've lost count of the number of times I've been racing, wanting to see a fancied horse in the paddock, and failing to do so as connections try to ensure their charge is mounted and on his way to post in the shortest time possible. I know the owners pay the bills, the stakes can be high and nobody wants to lose a race before the start, but this practice really isn't fair on the paying public - it certainly doesn't do the game any favours. You go racing to actually see the horses, yet it can seem interested parties are doing their bit to prevent that happening. Rant over.

I know we're in the middle of a recession and the weather wasn't really helping but, from the TV coverage, the atmosphere on course seemed flat. Hayley Turner has been employed as the 'Face of the Derby' - I didn't come across any of that pre-race publicity.

Freud On Course: The Racing Lives of Clement Freud was published on Friday, with excerpts appearing in some newspapers. River Captain, a 16/1 shot, won Epsom's first race on Derby Day, the Investec Sir Clement Freud Memorial Heitage Handicap run over ten furlongs.

While Sea The Stars was winning the Derby, England's 4-0 victory over Kazakhstan was being covered live on Setanta. That firm is currently experiencing financial difficulties after defaulting on a payment of £3 million to the Scottish Premier League. Should the worst come to pass, what will happen to the contracted coverage of England's football matches? I'm not certain if Racing UK's coverage is arranged through Setanta as well...

Finally Coventry University hosts the 2009 Play The Game conference next week. On Tuesday evening at 8.00pm in Coventy Cathedral there's a debate on match-fixing which is open to the general public. The panel includes Mark Davies, MD of Betfair, Declan Hill, author of The Fix, and Michael Franzese, a former New York mob boss and match-fixer. I'm going along but intend to be on my very best behaviour...

Friday, June 05, 2009

Epsom Derby 2009

For those who like to make up their own mind, there's my Twitter Guide to the Derby; for everyone else, there's this...

The biggest priced winner of the Epsom Derby in the last ten years was Sinndar in 2000 - he was sent off a 7/1 chance; generally the market proves a decent guide to this race. This year, five of the twelve runners are priced 8/1 or less; of those five, two are doubtful stayers - Sea The Stars and Rip Van Winkle. John Oxx, trainer of market leader Sea The Stars, is on record as saying he only gives his charge a '50-50 chance' of staying the trip. The horse looked impressive winning the 2000 Guineas from Delegator but the second that day has followed up since by running something of a stinker in the Irish Guineas. Aidan O'Brien saddles six of the twelve runners; the stable's number one jockey Johnny Murtagh has opted to ride Rip Van Winkle. Rip was fourth behind Sea The Stars at Newmarket but the yard was under something of a cloud at the time. After that race Johnny expressed doubts as to whether the horse would stay; Rip was quoted a 10/1 shot for this - I wrote a piece highlighting the value, provided you took the view the horse would stay. The value has gone now, primarily because Mr Murtagh is clearly sweet on the horse's chance; in my heart of hearts, I don't think he'll quite last home. Fame And Glory has had the classic preparation for this classic; he is unbeaten, won the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and looks guaranteed to stay. Gan Amhras was third behind Sea The Stars at Newmarket but looks certain to appreciate the extra half mile; trainer Jim Bolger won this last year with New Approach and has said this horse has a similar chance. Of the top five, I find Black Bear Island the most difficult to assess; he looks certain to improve for his victory in the Dante.

This is a hot renewal; I have to go with a horse that will last home and I'm finding it difficult to separate Fame And Glory and Gan Amhras. There has been steady money for Gan Amhras during the week but 4/1 the unbeaten Fame And Glory looks good value - I take Fame And Glory to collect the spoils. For those looking for an each-way longshot, Mick Channon sold me Montaff's chance a week ago. Mick rates this horse on a par with Youmzain; the horse, by Montjeu, will need to handle the preliminaries but is 66/1 with Victor Chandler this evening. He had had an interrupted preparation when just beaten by Age Of Aquarius at Lingfield and looks open to improvement. The same comment applies to the winner that day too, but, although front-running probably didn't suit, he still looked a bit of a tricky ride and didn't appear to handle the turn that well. Having said all that, it took Johnny Murtagh an age to pull up Age Of Aquarius after the finishing line...

Good luck to one and all!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Epsom Oaks & Coronation Cup

This year's Oaks looks rather trappy. Michael Bell's Sariska is market leader on the back of her win in the Musidora at York three weeks ago. The field went no pace in the early stages and the race developed into something of a sprint two from home; tomorrow will be different. Rainbow View was all the rage before the 1,000 Guineas but disappointed, finishing fifth; connections blamed the firm ground for that performance. She is the top-rated animal here and will be a danger to all if back to her best but fast going will once again be a cause for concern. On official handicap ratings Henry Cecil's Midday has enough to find with the front two in the betting; the trainer excels with fillies and has a good record in this race. There has been money for Philipina and I've seen Clive Brittian's Wadaat talked up in places, including by Dick Hunter in the Weekender. This horse was beaten a long way by Midday in the Oaks trial at Lingfield when hold up tactics were blamed for her poor showing. Following that run, she went on to finish second in the Group 2 Italian Oaks twelve days ago. Currently available at 33/1 in places (she has been 66/1 earlier in the week) Wadaat looks worth an each-way interest for those with an adventurous disposition; my idea of the winner is Midday.

Many think the Coronation Cup (2.45) an easier puzzle to solve; I'm not so sure. Mick Channon's course and distance winner Youmzain is clear top-rated and has been the subject of bullish reports from his trainer. Last year's surprise Oaks winner Look Here is returning after a lengthy layoff and, whilst respected, may find this a tough comeback. Youmzain is the one to beat but doesn't offer particularly good value in the betting. At this stage I'm somewhat tempted by Andrew Balding's Buccellati in whom I think there is some improvement to come. The trainer was keen on his charge's chance at Chester prior to the withdrawal of five of the eight runners in the Ormonde. In the event Buccellati won the farcical renewal, with hot favourite Frozen Fire trailling in last of the trio. After that race Balding hinted his charge may have won in any case - I'll consider an each-way interest in Buccellati at around 10/1.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

A Twitter Guide to the Epsom Derby 2009

Following one quarter of an hour of exhaustive research, here is my Twitter Guide to this year's Derby, the third in an occasional series; I should point out that previous titles, A Twitter Guide to the Grand National Entries and A Twitter Guide to the 2000 Guineas, haven't proved particularly popular. Comments are given below on the five day entries for this year's Derby, all published within Twitter's imposed restriction of 140 characters.

Age Of Aquarius Positive sign when battling to win Lingfield Trial. Ran green, improvement to come but didn't seem to handle turn too well.
Black Bear Island Collared stablemate Freemantle close home to win the Dante; respected.
Crowded House Eighth and cramped for room in the Dante; scoped dirty afterwards. Connections racing against time since.
Debussy Owner won this last year but third in Chester Vase isn't music to the ears this time around.
Fame And Glory Unbeaten; impressive winner of Derringstown Stud Derby Trial. Big chance - aptly named perhaps?
Gan Amhras Third in 2000 Guineas, will appreciate set up in distance; stable says he has similar chance to last year's winner New Approach.
Golden Sword Front runner given too much rope when pinching Chester Vase @ 25/1 from stablemate Masterofthehorse.
Kite Wood By Galileo, fifth in the Dante when probably undercooked. Flying since but will need that and more.
Masterofthehorse Given too much to do when finishing like a train in Chester Vase.
Montaff Close second in Lingfield Trial when run needed. By Montjeu, has to stay calm on the day; trainer rates him as good as Youmzain.
Rip Van Winkle Sleepy fourth in 2000 Guineas. Well backed since and big chance provided he stays; Murtagh's choice.
Sea The Stars 2000 Guineas winner, bids to emulate Nashwan. John Oxx rates his chances of staying 'only 50-50' - big player if he does.

South Easter Part-owned by MD of Investec, Derby sponsor. Won a blanket finish to Chester's Dee Stakes; outsider.