The juvenile races can be quite tricky to size up at this stage, but when horses grab you, I like to take advantage. Clive Cox’s Get Ahead was very professional on her debut when she won at Ascot, beating a horse with previous experience. She wasn’t keen, knew her job well and asserted in commanding fashion in the final 100 yards.
She was a 200,000 Guineas Yearling and is a sister to last years Group 2 Mill Reef winner Alkumait, so is bred to be precocious and she’s already showed that on the track.
The performance was great, but it’s also the fact it came in that particular Ascot race which caught my eye. Rizeena won this before winning the Queen Mary, as well as Besharah, Shades Of Blue (also for Clive Cox) and Final Song who all went on to place in that race at Royal Ascot.
So this maiden has been a good pointer in the past and given the quality Get Ahead possesses, she’s worth a bet.
Recommended Bet – Back Get Ahead @ 12/1
Stradivarius is a general 6/4 to win a fourth successive Gold Cup and I would love to see him do it. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a value play against him in the market. So many have come and gone before, trying to beat the champ, but ultimately failing. Subjectivist and Sir Ron Priestley look worthy opponents for Mark Johnston, but he’s already had Dee Ex Bee and Nayef Road come up short against Stradivarius.
But the main challenge for the reigning champ this year will be to overcome Trueshan.
Alan King has let this horse progress beautifully, at his own pace. Winning four of his five starts in 2019, including the valuable Old Rowley Cup handicap at Newmarket in October. Listed success followed in 2020 before the year culminated in a rout of the field in the Group 2 Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day.
It was the first time he stepped up to two miles, and wow did he relish it.
It was a gruelling stamina test in very soft ground, but the further he went, the better he looked.
Beating the Irish St Leger 1-2 over seven lengths in the process, so the form stacks up. Stradivarius clearly didn’t run his race that day, but that shouldn’t take away from the quality of Trueshan’s performance.
His comeback run at Chester, conceding 5lb to the 118-rated, Group 1 winning Japan over just shy of a mile and three-quarters, was brilliant. Going down less than a length is extremely encouraging.
As I said earlier, the further he goes, the better he looks, so the two and a half mile premier Royal contest looks as though it’ll suit him down to the ground. I can really envisage it bringing out the best in Trueshan and see him post another career-best. He’d prefer the ground on the soft side, but I wouldn’t be as concerned if it was a bit quicker given the trip.
Recommended Bet – Back Trueshan @ 9/1
This division has been crying out for a star since Harry Angel and Blue Point were regularly on the scene, and we might just have one. Starman won his first three starts as a three year old, his Listed win over his elders on just his third racecourse appearance was a pretty striking display.
Things didn’t go to plan on Champions Day in the mud but I could forgive any horse a bad performance under those conditions.
Starman was back with a bang in the Duke Of York, when beating Ayr Gold Cup winner Nahaarr whilst pulling over three lengths clear of July Cup winner Oxted. Given that was only his fifth start (and first of the season against race-fit rivals), I think there could definitely be some improvement left. The fact he won that race is a real feather in his cap.
He’s a really exciting sprinter and I’d say the faster the ground, the better his chance. He travels, he finds for pressure and is strong at the finish.
I’m hoping for a big sprint double for Ed Walker!
Recommended Bet – Back Starman @ 4/1