Foundation is undefeated so far this season and he has notched up a couple of bloodless wins at Haydock. He shed his maiden at the first time of asking before being upped significantly in grade to win a listed contest. Frankie Dettori was on board for the most recent of those victories and he will have learned a lot from that success. The combination pulled some three lengths clear of Mark Johnston’s Champagne City and they ought to be able to progress again.
Deauville is also undefeated in two appearances. He started off with a solid performance when winning a maiden at Listowel back in May before taking a massive leap forward to win a group three contest at Leopardstown. The form of that race has been franked subsequently given the exploits of Sanus Per Aquam here earlier in the week and he looks to be the most serious of rivals here. He has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle and they command the utmost respect.
Foundation has already proven that he stays this trip well and with John Gosden’s yard in excellent form, he looks the one to side with here.
14:15 Market Rasen
Gran Maestro beat a few of these rivals over the course and distance back in July and it would be of little surprise to see him do so again. He has been given a recent outing on the flat at Haydock to keep himself ticking over since then and he was far from disgraced when finishing third behind Always Resolute. This return to Market Rasen should prove ideal and as he is proven over further, he is unlikely to be found wanting for stamina. He has a range of apparatus fitted this afternoon in order to get the best out of him and with the blinkers, hood and tongue tie in place, they should prove fully effective.
Swansea Mile is a new recruit to the Dan Skelton yard having been trained previously in Ireland by Ted Walsh. His two recent wins at Kilbeggan and Bellewstown were achieved with the minimum of fuss and he is clearly improving with experience. His best efforts have all come on decent ground and with that likely to be on offer this afternoon, he has to be considered a live threat. Course and distance specialist Manhattan Swing has never finished out of the places at this track but he has work to do in order to reverse placings with the selection.
Gran Maestro is at least proven at this level and Dr Richard Newland has clearly got him in good heart. Will Kennedy is back in the saddle and the combination ought to make a decent effort to once again see off the likes of Laudatory and top weight Commissioned.
Gran Maestro (WIN)
Lumiere was ultra impressive when making a winning debut at the July course here earlier in the summer. She went into many notebooks when demolishing Sharjah Queen by no fewer than six lengths. She then was sent to York where she found the re opposing Besharah a couple of lengths too strong. Will Buick will know a lot more about his partner this afternoon and if held onto for a while longer, this daughter of Shamardal could reverse the form.
Illuminate is three from three and has already beaten Besharah in the Duchess Of Cambridge at this track during the July meeting. She has not been seen since however and she may just need this outing and is passed over in this occasion. Besharah is once again likely to cause Lumiere the most problems. She is vastly more experienced and will be prepared for a streetfight when push comes to shove.
Lumiere is fully entitled to improve on what she has shown thus far. She will have learned a lot from that defeat and she was still staying on in dogged fashion when Besharah swept by last time. With natural progression expected on what is only her third career start, she can finish a great deal closer if not ahead of her biggest rival.
14:50 Market Rasen
Valco De Touzaine has been kept on his toes throughout the summer months and has made the frame in his last three starts. The most recent of which was a career best when just touched off by Standing Ovation at Newton Abbot. It should be noted that he was trying to give the veteran almost a stone in weight on that occasion, so his performance should be marked up as a result. The front two pulled some seven lengths clear of their closest pursuers indicating that the form could prove to be quite useful over the coming months. Sam Twiston-Davies is back in the saddle and the duo command utmost respect.
Gray Hession has won all three of his races since joining Jonjo O’ Neill. Two wins at Southwell and another at Bangor indicate that he is a rapidly improving eight year old with very few miles on the clock. Richie McClernon has a one hundred percent strike rate on the Vinnie Roe gelding and they look to be amongst the chief dangers to the selection. Oscar Rock can go well fresh, so the lack of a recent run should not cause concern. He was a heavily backed favourite when falling at Ayr in a Grade Two Champion Chase back in April. He is likely to have been well schooled at home since and he too can make the frame.
Valco De Touzaine can confirm recent form with the likes of Claret Cloak and Gold Futures. He is one on the youngest in this line up and he might just have too much speed for his older rivals. The customary hood and tongue tie are once again reached for by Paul Nicholls and this son of Dom Alco should be capable of going very close.
Valco De Touzaine (WIN)
Shalaa put up a spirited performance when winning the Prix Morny at Deauville last month on ground that would have been plenty soft enough for him. He comfortably saw off the attentions of Gutaifan that day and as a result comes here to attempt to win his fifth race on the bounce.
Godolphin have no fewer than four runners lining up in opposition today including the likes of Buratino and Rouleau. The former wasn’t beaten all that far in a good race at The Curragh when finishing third to Air Force Blue and he could well be there to pick up the pieces if the selection fails to fire. Steady Pace will more than likely be used as a pacemaker for the operation and tactics are likely to play a crucial role in the outcome of the finish.
Shalaa has built up a strong rapport with Frankie Dettori and with the Gosden team firing on all cylinders at present, the duo look a formidable combination. He remains third favourite for the 2000 Guineas next season and he can cement his position in the market with a power packed display this afternoon.
Educate won this a couple of seasons ago and has now dropped back to a useful looking mark. He won’t mind any further rain that falls and a fast and furious pace should see him get competitive with Tom Queally in the saddle. He ran a decent race when chasing home The Corsican at Goodwood back in April, but his form has dipped again of late, a return to Newmarket could well spark a revival and he certainly has the ability to get into the first five.
Abseil is a clear danger as Sir Michael Stoute clearly feels that a race of this nature is certainly well within his capabilities. He is partnered by the returning Ryan Moore and provided that the rain stays away he may well prove to be a massive thorn in the side of any rival. Bronze Angel comes into this race in peak form having won at Doncaster last time. That will have bolstered his confidence and the two time winner of this race looks sure to go close yet again. Louis Steward takes off a handy three pounds as they bid to record a second win inside a fortnight.
Educate tends to raise his game in large field handicaps like this and it will be of little surprise if he were to be staying on when others had cried enough. Conditions look to be in his favour and it would be foolish to completely write him off.