A race advertised as a clash between Enable and Crystal Ocean, which it would be if that pair were at concert pitch. As it is, Enable is returning after a long absence having suffered a knee injury, and Crystal Ocean is penalised for his Group 2 win at Royal Ascot and comes here after a punishing effort in the King George. Of more importance, though, is the fact that this race is not a significant target for either, but rather a stepping stone towards the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe next month, and that could make either or both vulnerable.
Many people expect Weekender, in the Abdullah silks, to be here purely as a pacemaker, but Enable’s stablemate is a smart performer in his own right, and has run really well to be second at York on his last two starts, behind Marmelo in listed company on the first occasion, and in the ultra-competitive Ebor on his last start.
A repeat of either of those runs will demand that the market leaders must be on their A-game to win, and there is a chance that he will be allowed to build up a significant lead given the nature of this contest.
I wouldn’t expect him to beat a fully fit Enable, or the Crystal Ocean who won the Hardwicke, but I would fancy his chances of being able to split those rivals in the event that one of them lets their standards slip ever so slightly, as could easily happen.
Recommended: Back Weekender to win @ 25 or bigger (1pt)
Recommended: Back Weekender to place @ 4.0 or bigger (2pts)
This is a tough and competitive handicap, and it might prove too tough and competitive for the lightly raced Midi, who has won both starts this year, but is asked a much sterner question against vastly superior rivals than those he’s faced to date. He has a superb pedigree, but that is of little import other than to point out that as a son of Frankel having his third quick run after a lengthy absence, there will be questions asked of his temperament, so often an issue with his sire.
He’s gone forward on both his starts this year, and the question for David Probert is whether to do the same thing from a wide draw and show a keen colt a lot of daylight, or whether to risk a change of tactics which could see his mount fight for his head.
Either way, the inexperienced Midi is going to be asked severe questions, and it would be no surprise if his progress was to stall, if only temporarily.
Recommended: Lay Midi for a place @ 2.5 or shorter (3pts liability)