A smashing handicap to kick off, with the vote in favour of ELYSIAN FLAME. A winner over 2m at Newbury in April, he's still fairly low-mileage on the level and ran as well as he ever has done when third in the Ascot Stakes last time. Forecast conditions look ideal and another big run is anticipated. The Grand Visr, Platform Nineteen and last year's winner Just Hubert complete the shortlist.
BAAEED looked out of the top drawer when winning a listed race at Newmarket 3 weeks ago, handing out a similar beating to Maximal to the one Poetic Flare had in the St James's Palace at Royal Ascot, so the son of Sea The Stars has excellent claims of extending his unbeaten record. It's easy to forgive Perotto's run in the Bunbury Cup and he could emerge as the biggest threat ahead of El Drama.
There has to be a slight concern about PATH OF THUNDER getting a clear run if ridden in the same way as Newmarket but there's no doubt he's well-in under a 3 lb penalty and he could do better again if the blinkers continue to work. Maydanny dominated a big field over 1¼m here last year and should be able to get a good position from stall 5 so he's feared most ahead of Magical Morning.
Despite the rain, it will come as a big surprise if BATTAASH doesn’t rack up a fifth win in succession on a track tailor-made for him. He has won on soft and there was no disgrace in finishing fourth in Ascot’s King’s Stand Stakes on his return given he helped force a strong pace and underwent joint surgery over the winter. July Cup 2nd Dragon Symbol and mud-loving Art Power can follow him home.
MOGUL probably wouldn't be helped by too much further rain, but he came good when winning the Gordon Stakes at this meeting last year before going on to win at the highest level in France and Hong Kong, so is the one to beat back down in class. The progressive Passion And Glory and the admirable Euchen Glen head the dangers.
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