It could be an expensive day for the bookmakers at York on Friday, with both Battaash and Stradivarius boasting seemingly impregnable claims.
Battaash will have some demons to lay to rest in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes after he could finish only fourth in the five-furlong feature last year, but conditions could not be more different from the soft ground he faced that day.
Charlie Hills’ runner also expended far too much energy in the preliminaries and while his keen-going nature is still there in spades, connections appear to have got more of a handle on it now. Perhaps he did a shade too much in the early stages when beaten into second by Blue Point at Ascot, but he bounced back in style at Goodwood when proving far too good for a clutch of rivals who reoppose here. If Battaash is in that sort of form again, he really will be hard to beat with ground conditions again in his favour.
Defeat for Stradivarius is almost impossible to envisage in the Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup as he arrives with a perfect record of three wins in as many starts this season.
Having won the Yorkshire Cup here on his seasonal bow, he then added the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and the Goodwood Cup to put himself in line for a £1million bonus should he be successful.
Only Torcedor and Vazirabad have got anywhere near him this year and with neither of those in the line-up, John Gosden and the team will surely be going home with that bonus cheque in safekeeping.
Aidan O’Brien has not been in the best of form of late, but it would be dangerous to ignore The Irish Rover in the Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes.
He drops a touch in class having contested the Phoenix Stakes last time out, where he finished a creditable one-length third to Advertise in a bit of a blanket finish.
It looked as though The Irish Rover might set the pace that day, but he did not really assert and kept on gamely to the finish. He could go well at a reasonable price.
Kassar appears to be a horse on the upgrade and he should be thereabouts in the Nationwide Accident Repair Services Handicap after having to settle for second when last seen.
He does not appear the easiest of rides and it did not take much for the third to carry him across the track in an apprentice heat at Goodwood, eventually being beaten half a length.
Ryan Moore is in the plate this time, so he will certainly not be lacking help in the saddle.
Sky Defender found only Duke Of Hazzard too good on his racecourse bow at Goodwood and must be one for the shortlist in the British Stallion Studs EBF Convivial Maiden Stakes.
The winner, who was placed in the Chesham, has since gone on to gone on to be beaten a short head in a French Listed heat, so the form stacks up well.
Kelly’s Dino looked good in beating the well-regarded Atty Persse at Ascot last month and can follow up in the Sky Bet Handicap.
LEE SOBOT’S FRIDAY SELECTIONS
CHELMSFORD: 5.45 Sylvia’s Mother, 6.15 Harawi, 6.45 Compass Point, 7.15 Pactolus, 7.45 Gorgeous Noora, 8.15 Glenglade, 8.45 Lexington Empire.
GOODWOOD: 5.05 Haylah, 5.35 Isle Of Wolves, 6.05 Sir Victor, 6.35 Hart Stopper, 7.05 Dagueneau, 7.35 Pattie.
NEWMARKET: 2.05 Glance, 2.40 Gateway, 3.15 Akwaan, 3.45 Black Lotus, 4.20 Elasia, 4.55 La Isla Bonita, 5.25 Choosey.
SALISBURY: 5.15 Misu Pete, 5.50 Flashcard, 6.25 Rosamour, 6.55 Dark Jedi, 7.25 Letsbe Avenue, 7.55 Fields Of Fortune.
YORK: 1.55 Kelly’s Dino, 2.25 Stradivarius, 3.00 The Irish Rover (treble), 3.35 BATTAASH (NAP), 4.15 Sky Defender (next best), 4.50 Kassar.