LANTERN is the current favourite for today’s Group Two Duke of Cambridge Stakes (4.25pm) and considering she’s a four-time winner at the top level and is dropping a grade, many of you will think the 3/1 available is fair value.
But I think she is begging to be taken on. Unlike yesterday’s Queen Anne winner Toronado, the vibes from the Richard Hannon stable have not been particularly strong and she was beaten first time up in the Nell Gwyn last season.
Throw in the fact that the daughter of Red Clubs is shouldering a 5lb penalty and remembering her habit of finding trouble in-running, she looks opposable in this 14-runner field.
The two I like are INTEGRAL and Esoterique. The pair were the one-two in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket last time, but there are reasons to think that Sir Michael Stoute’s horse can reverse the form with the French challenger.
That was Ryan Moore’s mount’s first run of the season, while Esoterique was having her second start. The margin of victory was only a head and granted normal progress and with Stoute’s record in the race – he’s won three of the 10 renewals – I’m confident she’ll take the beating.
Moore also seemed keen not to give Integral a hard race that day and, with the yard hitting form, the 10/3 available with Star Sports looks to be worth snapping up.
The market is dominated by the top three, however it would be foolish to write off Purr Along, who bounced back to form at the Curragh last time. The ground was heavy, though, and this sounder surface may not be ideal.
Certify was the top juvenile filly two years ago but missed the entirety of 2013 and has a bit to prove after flopping as the 2/5 favourite on her last run in Meydan.
L’Amour De Ma Vie was progressive around the turn of the year and won the race in which Certify lost her unbeaten record over in Dubai, but this is a stronger contest and I think she is likely to come up short.
Integral has only had six starts and a nice draw in nine also strengthens enthusiasm. She looks the bet.
INTEGRAL 4.25pm Ascot