On the back of the Gold Cup at Cheltenham this three mile grade one event is considered by many to be a consolation race for those horses not quite at Championship level. First run in 1984, this day one highlight has been won by the likes of Wayward Lad (twice), See More Business and Desert Orchid. Paul Jacobs weighs up this year’s renewal below.
FIRST LIEUTENANT@ 7/2
The set-up of this Grade One is really interesting with no out and out front runner in the field. However, in the knowledge that Dynaste’s stamina is slightly suspect over this distance I will be hugely surprised if none of his rivals try to make this a really good test at the trip.
In contrast, Houblon Des Obeaux probably needs three and a half miles to show his best form. The Venetia Williams’ trained seven-year-old is more of a presser than a front runner, but with his stamina guaranteed we could see Aidan Coleman try and press on from some way out to try and take the sting out of the Pipe runner’s noted turn of foot which he used to such great effect in the Ryanair Chase.
Last year’s winner, FIRST LIEUTENANT, is ideally suited by a sharp three miles as he showed when landing this prestigious prize last year by three parts of a length from Menorah. The last named has run poorly on two starts this season and shouldn’t reverse the form whereas the selection has run well in four Grade One races since then.
Missing the Cheltenham Festival almost certainly gives the selection an advantage over the Gold Cup fourth Silviniaco Conti as the latter had a terribly hard race at Cheltenham and despite it only being his third race of the campaign and only three weeks ago it could have taken the sharp edge off him.
It’s a tough little race to be adamant about, but if we do get some good fractions from Houblon and to a lesser extent Argocat then I am hopeful that Dynaste may well trade very low in running (a certain back to lay) and be outstayed down the long home run by the Mouse Morris charge. Should he put in a clean round then Houblon could well hit the frame at rewarding odds.
BET NOW – FIRST LIEUTENANT