STRADIVARIUS was one of the leading lights of last year’s Flat season thanks to his success in the inaugural Weatherbys Hamilton Stayers’ Million.
John Gosden’s star stayer won the Yorkshire Cup, Ascot Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup and Lonsdale Cup to scoop the six-figure bonus, and he kicks off his quest for another million this afternoon on the Knavesmire.
The Matchbook Yorkshire Cup, part of the QIPCO British Champions Series, is the highlight on day three of York’s Dante meeting.
Stradivarius has to carry a 3lb penalty, which will make life more difficult, although he should still be good enough to get the job done.
Charlie Appleby’s Ispolini looks the danger and may be the one to chase him home.
Today’s York card doesn’t really appeal to me from a betting perspective, though, so I’m going to concentrate on tomorrow’s action.
The Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes is obviously the biggest race of the day at Newbury but, in terms of the future, you mustn’t miss the Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap (3.00pm).
Green Moon, Al Kazeem, Cannock Chase, Time Test, Defoe and Communique are all recent winners who have gone on to Group race glory.
It is one of the hottest handicaps of the year and the form nearly always works out very well.
Cannock Chase won this prize for Sir Michael Stoute, Ryan Moore and Saeed Suhail in 2014 and I’m hoping the trio can combine again five years on, this time with SOLID STONE.
The son of Shamardal broke his maiden tag in a 7f novice event at Newcastle in November on his third start, getting the better of tomorrow’s rival Forest Of Dean.
He stayed on well that day to wear down his rival, so it was no surprise that Stoute decided to step him up in trip on his first start of his three-year-old campaign at last month’s Craven meeting.
Once again he showed his determination and likeable attitude with a gutsy success over 1m2f, the distance he faces again at Newbury tomorrow.
Since then, connections have entered him in the Group Two King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot which is a clear sign of the regard in which they hold him.
Admittedly there are plenty of other promising types in here, but I’m sure this horse will be rated higher than his current mark of 91 at the end of the season. Take the 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
The ITV cameras will be gone by the time the Listed Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes (4.50pm) comes around, but if you’re not at Newbury make sure you tune in to Racing TV if you have a subscription.
This is another historically strong race and last year’s winner Sea Of Class went on to be beaten by the narrowest of margins by Enable in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The same connections saddle Sea Of Faith tomorrow, who was a huge eyecatcher on her debut at Sandown last month.
I’m not convinced by that form, though, and will be backing LAVENDER’S BLUE who was hugely impressive at Newmarket on her debut a month ago.
Amanda Perrett’s daughter of Sea The Stars was very well backed that day and, with some classy fillies from the big yards on show here, she could be underestimated in the market.
Solid Stone 3.00pm Newbury
Lavender’s Blue e/w 4.50pm Newbury