This world renowned Flemington feature is a Group 1 and a Handicap which is something we don’t see on UK shores and it’s a race that’s contested over two miles. Last year won by Joseph O’Brien and Rekindling there’s once again an Irish presence in the race with Joseph’s father, a man who needs no introduction, Aidan training the market leader and that horse comes in the form of Yucatan (9/2). He’s a horse that never really hit the heights back in Europe, and often fell short at the top level. As like many of the so called ‘Ballydoyle Cast Offs’ he was seemingly transferred to Australian shores for a go over here and he couldn’t of got off to a better start as he bolted up in the Group 2 Herbert Power stakes, going clear by many lengths and consequently being heavily eased by James McDonald. It’s McDonald that’s once again on board for this assignment and he’ll be hoping to repeat said effort here, he will have to overcome a tough draw though. Godolphin are represented by three contenders here and the first of these and most prominent in the betting comes in the form of Charlie Appleby’s Cross Counter (7/1). He’s been a highly progressive sort this term winning a Group 3 and was last seen when just being edged out by a smart stablemate in Group 2 company at York. He will have to prove his stamina though here but has the ever reliable services of Kerrin McEvoy. The second Godolphin contender comes in the form of Best Solution (10/1) who will be no stranger to the Australian fans as he was last seen winning the Caulfield Cup last month. He’s had a fine International campaign winning three Group 1’s in his last three starts and it would be no surprise should he stage another bold effort here under Pat Cosgrave. It’s a home challenger that makes up the Godolphin three and that horse comes in the form of Avilius (12/1). He’s another horse that’s had a fine campaign winning four on the bounce before an eyecatching staying on fourth placed effort in the Cox Plate behind Winx. He’s been trained this campaign specifically for a tilt at this by James Cummings and he looks to hold a significant chance. Glyn Schofield takes the ride.
This year’s Chester Cup winner Magic Circle (15/2) looks to take his place in the line up for Ian Williams, I was at Chester that day and it was very smart victory which he’s since gone on to add too winning a Group 3 when he was last seen at Sandown in May. He’s a horse that goes well fresh and he also has the added bonus of dual Melbourne Cup winner Corey Brown on board. Aidan O’Brien has a couple of other entries in the field and these come in the form of The cliffsofmoher (14/1) and Rostropovich (18/1). The former ran two solid races since making the trip over here and the latter posted a decent effort last time in the Cox Plate. The cliffsofmoher is the mount of Ryan Moore with Wayne Lordan partnering his stablemate. Marmelo (20/1) once again takes his place in the line up for Hughie Morrison and he’s partnered up with the top class Hugh Bowman. Finishing 9th in the race last year he’s had a fine campaign and could well play a part. Chris Waller has three contenders in the race also, the first of these comes in the form of Group 1 winner Youngstar (14/1), she looks as though as she could well be his best chance in the race as on paper the trip looks right up her street. Craig Williams will take the ride. Former Andre Fabre trained Finche (18/1) also represents Waller here, he comes into this off the back of a decent third placed effort in Group 3 company in what looked an ideal prep for this. She also holds an eyecatching jockey booking of Zac Purton. The final of the Waller three comes in the form of Who Shot Thebarman (22/1) who’s certainly no stranger to this race. This will be his fourth attempt following 3rd, 11th and 5th placed efforts in previous years. He will need to step up though if going a few places better this time. This year’s Ebor winner Muntahaa (12/1) takes his place in the field for John Gosden, he won from a tricky draw that day and gives the impression that two miles won’t be an issue. Last year’s Ebor winner Nakeeta (50/1) also takes his place in the field but will need to step up on this seasons laboured efforts and another horse that will need to step up on recent efforts is the Japanese raider Chestnut Coat (33/1). He was last seen when finishing down the field in the Caufield Cup however there could well of been ground related excuses that day. Yuga Kawada takes the ride. Charlie Fellowes A Prince Of Arran (16/1) just made the cut following a win in the Lexus Stakes just a few days ago and this step up in trip should suit. Michael Walker takes the ride. Ventura Storm (20/1) and Sound Check (22/1) look to be a couple of the more capable outsiders for the home challenge.
AVILIUS - (12/1) (E/W)
YOUNGSTAR - (14/1) (E/W)