IT WON’T take an expert to pick out SEXTANT as the most likely winner of the penultimate race today.
Sir Michael Stoute’s fast-improving four-year-old is getting better with every gallop, and though he may not be the biggest price winner you’ll ever back, he looks a very solid bet at 9/4.
So many of Sir Michael’s horses take time to hit their stride and he’s certainly not rushed this son of Sea The Stars.
After getting his nose in front at the second time of asking in a maiden at Newbury last season, he was then asked for a bit more in a two-horse race against Alexana at Ascot in September.
Despite travelling the better of the two, and hitting the front a furlong out, he still looked inexperienced and ultimately didn’t go through with his run.
That was a painful result for those who got involved at 1/4, though any- one who kept the faith and backed him on his seasonal return were duly rewarded.
He was weak in the betting and eventually went off a relatively un- fancied 7/1 shot, but any fears of a below-par reappearance were firmly put to bed as he streaked away to win by over three lengths.
From the way he travelled to the manner in which he picked up and put his head down in the final stages, this horse looked to have come on leaps and bounds and I expect him to take this before running in Group company.
The William Knight-trained Soto Sizzler looks like being one of the horses to make him work for it.
He goes well on quick ground and has that all-important Epsom form. The track’s unique undulations and tight left-hand turning bend won’t suit every horse, but Soto Sizzler is a course and distance winner.
That win came on his last start where he finished his race off very strongly to finish over three lengths in front of Eddystone Rock who lines up here off the same mark.
You could make a case for him too given the way he rattled home late that day, but others look more progressive.
Simon Crisford’s Maybe Today could still be improving and has red-hot champion jockey Silvestre de Sousa in the saddle.
She also ran in that Epsom contest and had every chance before fading late to finish third behind Soto Sizzler and Eddystone Rock.
Aquarium is the other one that- would have a squeak if building on his win at Chester.
The concern with him is whether he’ll see out the trip on his first start over 1m4f, while he also has to shoulder an extra 2lbs for that last win.
All things considered, Sextant looks the class act here and should take plenty of beating.