The early betting for this race has been interesting, as I think the market is right and wrong at the same time. Khaloosy and My Oberon both opened up around 11/4, but the former has shorted and the latter has lengthened. My Oberon beat Khaloosy at Goodwood last time and it’s a different track and ground conditions today. But there was no fluke about that result and the ground was turning pretty dreadful when My Oberon won at York, so I think he’ll handle the surface. I understand why Khaloosy has been backed given how he won in soft ground at Royal Ascot, but the market has acted as if it’s a full gone conclusion he’ll reverse the Goodwood form, and that’s an overreaction in my opinion.
I think the drop down to the minimum trip for Concierge has been a stroke of genius by his new handler Michael Attwater. Predominantly racing over six and even seven furlongs the past twelve months, Concierge got back to winning ways when dropped to the five last time. This is a slightly tougher race, but he could have more to offer at this trip and you need a bit of excess stamina at Ascot which he has. He ran more than respectably in the Stewards Cup this year and this isn’t as difficult as that.
It’s always easy to forgive a horse one bad run, and that’s exactly what I’m doing with Favorite Moon. A disappointing market leader when down the field in the Melrose last time, he deserves another chance. When stepping up to this trip prior to that effort, he comfortable beat subsequent Group 3 winner Subjectivist. That’s great form, he’s improving and is a course and distance winner on soft ground. Everything looks spot on for him to regain the winning thread.
Al Qaqaa was disappointing when sent off a strong favourite at Goodwood last time, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. He made a sweeping move about 5f from home to challenge for the lead. Ultimately, that cost him too much energy and he couldn’t sustain his effort. He’d previously beaten Moomba (second at Goodwood) easily at Newmarket and it just didn’t go to plan. Off the same handicap mark today with a good draw, Al Qaqaa can make amends.