Celeric expected to be going for Gold

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The Independent Online
Celeric, the stayer who showed his courage matches his smart turn of foot when he deprived Mons in York's Group Two Yorkshire Cup last time out, is starting to look like a Gold Cup winner. And many expect him to further enhance his Royal Ascot claims in the Group Two Henry II Stakes at Sandown today, writes Ian Davies.

The defection of Double Eclipse - who now goes straight to the Royal meeting - eases Celeric's task and the five-year-old looks sure to start favourite. However, Persian Punch, the recent winner of the Aston Park Stakes at Newbury - who receives 5lb - and Orchestra Stall should ensure that Celeric does not have things his own way.

Easycall, who won Goodwood's Richmond Stakes, the Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster and Ascot's Cornwallis Stakes last year, could develop into a champion sprinter this term. However, in Farhana, the Duke Of York Stakes runner-up and Hever Golf Rose, the 1995 Prix de l'Abbaye winner, Easycall faces tough rivals on his reappearance from a lengthy absence in the Group Two Temple Stakes.

The Michael-Stoute trained Insatiable, third to Centre Stalls in the Hambleton Rated Handicap at York on his reappearance, is the one the bookmakers fear could be the subject of a major office gamble this morning for the Whitsun Rated Handicap.