Unless you’ve been hiding under a giant rock, Saturday’s Royal wedding won’t have escaped your attention, but what about toasting an early Royal success in the Yorkshire Cup?
Ahead of the big race on Friday, we’ve got an each-way selection at a big price and a rock-solid win-only contender from the front of the market.
Her Majesty the Queen is no stranger to the racecourse and York is a venue where she’s been well served in the past. The instantly recognisable silks of The Queen were carried to success in this very race 12 months ago when Sir Michael Stoute trained Dartmouth to scoop the Group 2 prize.
Her Majesty has also tasted big-race success on the Knavesmire with Carlton House winning the Dante, the feature race at this week’s meeting, back in 2011.
So what chance a Royal winner of the big race on the day before the Royal vows are exchanged then? Well, perhaps a bit better than the current odds of 20/1 imply.
Call To Mind, a four-year-old colt by Galileo, has plenty in his favour. Since winning his maiden at Newbury last season on debut, he’s run exclusively in Listed/Group-race company, picking up plenty of experience along the way.
The highlights to date have been a Listed success at Goodwood and a narrow defeat in a Group 2 at Chantilly in the autumn. His reappearance this season was a more than pleasing effort in a red-hot Newbury contest won by the excellent Defoe, form that already looks worth keeping on the right side of after Roger Varian’s charge followed up at Newmarket in convincing fashion.
Trainer William Haggas is in terrific form, with a 20% strike rate of late (9-45), and jockey James Doyle has also been banging in the winners. There may be plenty more to come from Call To Mind this season at four, with Haggas having entered him in next month’s Gold Cup at Ascot.
As such, he looks overpriced for this York contest.
John Gosden’s son of Sea The Stars is a deserving ante-post favourite for the Yorkshire Cup and looks the most likely winner amongst the list of entries.
Stradivarius was a Royal Ascot winner last summer and showcased his credentials for this sort of test when taking the Goodwood Cup in August.
Arguably, his most impressive bits of form would come thereafter, both in defeat. He got within half-a-length of Capri when finishing third in the St Leger at Doncaster and then was beaten a length into third behind Order Of St George in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on British Champions Day.
Both of those pieces of form entitle Gosden’s colt to enormous respect and the fact they were put up on good-to-soft / soft ground makes them more noteworthy, as his preference would be for a sounder surface (which he looks likely to get at York).
He won fresh last season and Gosden will have few problems getting him ready for this returning mission while he’ll have the perfect partner in Frankie Dettori, seeking his fifth Yorkshire Cup victory.
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