Eight horses from five different yards line up in the second headliner of the weekend, over 1400 metres. All but two have visited the winner’s enclosure this season and a glance at the field suggests that almost anyone can take the honours.
Perhaps the two horses that set the standard are CHARLES LYTTON and PRINCE OF THIEVES, both hailing from champion trainer Gilbert Rousset. 2017 has been tough for this duo, and both will want to end the season on a winning note.
CHARLES LYTTON had a splendid second half of last season. He won three straight races, including the Sprinters’ championship, and was only beaten by Parachute Man in the Duke Of York Cup. He has not won this season, while he could have achieved an even better result than 3rd in his latest, had he been given a bold ride.
This six-year old looked bang on form in his gallops and is in excellent condition. With Mickael Barzalona on board, he can mount a bold bid here.
PRINCE OF THIEVES is reunited with Swapneel Rama. Unlike his stable mate, he has scored one win, which came in the Golden Trophy meeting. Before that, the first half of the season had been quite hard on him, while the second half has been more kind.
Compared to his last start, he will appreciate running over a much shorter trip. He is in top order and a big run is forthcoming from him.
BLACK TRACTOR has been a major source of complete satisfaction for the yard of Alain Perdrau this season. In eight races, he managed to win five times and be on the podium on two occasions. His rise into the elite did not go unnoticed, and he was a deserved recipient of the Up & Comer Award.
He comes into this race in good nick, having benefited from a long spell. With co-champion jockey Imran Chisty riding him, he is entitled to run a cracker in this.
ERNIE (Hayley Turner) had a fine debut season, visiting the winner’s enclosure on three occasions. He took the honours in the Group 3 Lightning Cup, as well as winning in the MTC Bicentenary Trophy and Duke Of York Cup meetings.
This Jean-Michel Henry-trained gelding is a strong finisher and with a hot pace expected in this contest, he is capable of landing his fourth win here.
SPEED LIMIT (Robbie Fradd) had a 2016 to remember, winning the Three-year old series and ending his debut season unbeaten. It is fair to say that this season has been tougher for this son of Horse Chestnut. Nevertheless, he has still won two races, one of which was on Maiden Cup day.
Freshened up, he is in good shape and form, and is not prevented from making it.
The yard of Rameshwar Gujadhur is heavily represented in this contest, in the names of CAPTAIN MAGPIE (Matthew Chadwick), BELONG TO ME (Elione Chaves) and MOOTAHADEE (Craig Zackey).
CAPTAIN MAGPIE rediscovered his best form in his latest, winning from start-to-finish and ending a winless spell. He remains on good terms with himself and if he is able to dictate proceedings once again, it won’t be a surprise to see him confirm.
His two stable mates BELONG TO ME and MOOTAHADEE are rated as just outsiders here. The first-named horse might have landed a strong 3rd in his last race, but he is now competing in a higher class. The latter is far from his best form and has it all to do here.