King’s Stand Stakes (British Champions Series & Global Sprint Challenge) (Group 1) (Class 1) (3YO plus)
Advice: 1 pt win Sole Power (11/2 Bet Victor)
Athoug: Took many be surprise with rapid improvement in Dubai, holding Shea Shea to a head and then finishing second behind Amber Sky on World Cup night in Al Quoz Sprint; Some of the other main contenders here behind but may be seen to better effect on British shores and he must be too today but not without his chance.
Ancil: has 5 sprint wins in America and won’t be short of early speed, but none of those in graded company and expect most to be too good for him.
Es Que Love: Achieved little at 5f but if he could repeat his third to Maarek in the Duke of York then he’d be on the right track, although he did receive weight that day and looks flattered by that given the weight he received from Maarek in winning that day.
Jack Dexter: Fine fourth in this last year; Close second here to Slade Power (runs later in the week) in October; Below best so far this season, disappointing on first two starts at 6f and couldn’t get close to Hot Streak and Pearl Secret at Haydock latest; More needed.
Medician Man: Goes well here, as shown by third to Steps on last run in this country, and improved through UAE season to take two handicaps and then run fourth in Al Quoz; Late work saw him come fourth in 2012 and 11th last year; Needs to find more and would want a pace burnup.
Pearl Secret: Hopes looked high for a run at the top table when he was a late flying third in this last year but fragile and seemed all at sea on fast ground at Newmarket; Better latest but still no match for Hot Streak in the Temple and needs more here although ground more in his favour than at Newmarket.
Rex Imperator: Very talented even though getting him to show his best can be easier said than done; All his form at 6f, including Steward’s Cup win last season, but badly beaten in the Sprint Cup on only group 1 try and others just preferred.
Shea Shea: Close second in this last year when being away from Sole Power possibly didn’t help his chances and since not run a bad race; Slow start may have cost him in Dubai last time but the winner that day not here and every chance today of making amends.
Sole Power: Shock Nunthorpe win at 100/1 feels a lifetime ago and just the strongest at the end when landing this in 2013; Meydan didn’t suit him the ;last twice but a pretty convincing winner of the Palace House Stakes last time when he had Hot Streak in behind; The worry that ground isn’t drying quick enough but should still have every chance.
Stepper Point: Too good for them on the AW over 5f in March, but well beaten here in the last 2 years; Fourth in Palace House but expect at least a couple of those there can stay ahead of him and beaten the next twice out in France; Others appeal more.
Steps: Appeals at being at least listed class, having taken October event here; Since landed another event at Haydock and probably should have taken the Epsom Dash off 109, running out of time after slow start; Suspect that wouldn’t be a problem once again and one of the more likely handicap types to make the grade here.
Take Cover: Went the right way all through last year, although he was disappointing as favourite in the Ayr Silver Cup; Made amends over 5 at York last time and second when last seen the run of a progressive horse but
Caledonia Lady: Seventh here in 2012 as a fine effort but nothing to show since apart from Listed win at Nottingham and even then looked happier going the extra furlong than not here and this looks a tall order.
Green Door: Won three over the minimum trip last year, including the Flying Childers at Doncaster, greatly improved from when he was seventh in the Norfolk; Not been seen this season and huge amount of improvement to be found on even the best form and hard to be enthused about his chances.
Guerre: Showed good attitude to land his maiden at short odds and then was well beaten second at Curragh; Looked vastly improved when beating Maarek in Naas listed contest upon reappearance, form which stands up well any way you look at it, and massive potential for improvement given his lightly raced profile; Has to be taken seriously.
Hot Streak: Impressive &D winner against his own age group last year but graduated in fine style to bigger league when third to Sole Power on return and then too quick for all including Pearl Secret in the Temple Stakes; Looks a bright prospect and can go well here.
Justice Day: Not disgraced but well beaten all the same behind Hot Streak in two recent meetings, firstly in the Middle Park as a juvenile and then when the two met at Haydock latest, but below that form at Windsor latest and much more needed.
VERDICT: As ever, a fiercely contested renewal although it has been robes of Australian ace Zoustar and Al Quoz winner Amber Sky. It’s hard to get away from the three market leaders here, of which SOLE POWER is most fancied to take this for the second year in a row. When winning the Palace House he looked much better than we’ve seen in Dubai and on that form he will take the beating although the South African Shea Shea and Kevin Ryan’s charge Hot Streak both have huge chances. Aidan O’Brien’s Guerre could have any amount of improvement in him and is capable of getting involved while it’s hard to make a case for many of these; Athoug’s UAE form makes him a threat.