This is a very tight Group Three and there are a number of others with the potential to improve. Starboard produced a gutsy performance to win at Doncaster last time and he still has an entry in the Coral-Eclipse. He was firmly put in his place by Fort Bastion at Newmarket the time before last, though, and he needs to step up again.
Tales Of Grimm and Stipulate were behind Cogito at Sandown last month and could progress from that, while Crius has potential but must carry a 4lb penalty. The German challenger Energizer is a fascinating entry and is the top rated runner in the field following his fourth place in the German 2,000 Guineas behind Caspar Netscher. However, a bigger danger may be the unexposed William Haggas runner Mukhadram who won well at HQ last time on only his second career start.
Another big field for today’s concluding race, the King George V Stakes (5.35pm), means there is plenty of each-way value to be had in what looks a trappy affair.
OPEN WATER hasn’t won since springing a surprise in a Sandown maiden but Andrew Balding’s charge has a smart level of form to his name and looks more than ready for the step up to a mile-and-a-half. On his second start he was only beaten by subsequent Derby runner-up Main Sequence, before a credible third in a Newmarket handicap on ground that perhaps wasn’t ideal.
The son of Orpen then ran a cracker on Derby day, again giving the impression a step-up in trip and a return to a less idiosyncratic course would see him go well. His draw isn’t ideal, but at 16/1 with Star Sports, he looks worth chancing each-way.
Mark Johnston is always a handler the bookies fear at the Royal meeting and his FENNELL BAY has a decent chance of giving the Scottish trainer a fourth win in the race in the last decade. Typically for a Johnston horse, Fennel Bay is a tough sort and with the excellent Joe Fanning on board he could just outbattle them up the home straight.
Although quite exposed, he still appeals at 12/1 on the back of a good Sandown win and off a low weight. His ability to handle cut in the ground is also a positive if the rain arrives.