Nunthorpe at the mercy of virtuoso Mozart

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The Independent Online

There is more than one good reason for letting Mozart have the Nunthorpe Stakes at York this afternoon and then using the Group One contest as a run-off for second place between the other 10 runners.

For one, the colt's Ballydoyle yard is operating at present as if it could send out its inmates to victory wearing diving boots. In addition, Mozart himself has the sort of form that puts him head, shoulders, mane and fetlock above his rivals. There can never be a certainty over the turf, but this, it appears, is about as near as it gets.

Like Stravinsky two years ago, Ballydoyle tried to stretch Mozart into a miler at the beginning of his Classic year. He was second in the Irish 2,000 Guineas. But then Mozart was successful over seven furlongs in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and over six in the July Cup at Newmarket. If he carries on like this he will soon be taking on quarter-horses.

The only cloud in the sky is Mozart's behaviour at Newmarket. He was like a powder keg to post and if denied the easy lead he achieved that day (and Repertory will not easily relinquish the early advantage), the Irish horse's chance could go up in smoke.

Mozart (3.45) should win, but is at an unbackable price. Each-way interest concerns Nuclear Debate, who is apparently at the height of his powers judged on home form, and, especially, Pipalong. Tim Easterby's mare had no chance in the July Cup, where she was forced to race up the far rail which was clearly disadvantageous. The course and distance winner looks good for a place.

The Lowther Stakes should present us with a definitive line on the true merit of Silent Honor. David Loder's filly won a Newmarket maiden in June and was immediately talked about as a 1,000 Guineas filly. She subsequently won the Cherry Hinton Stakes, but without similar authority, and further persuasive proof is now needed. Her trainer has certainly not lost the faith.

However, Silent Honor now comes up against Leggy Lou (2.35), who made a nonsense of the competition they called the Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot nearly a month ago.

In the opening Galtres Stakes it would have paid to back Luca Cumani's horses blind over the last decade as the Italian won the contest eight times in the 1990s. Nevertheless, his Isadora is one of the least qualified today in terms of form. Top of the list in that department is Love Everlasting (next best 2.00).

In the other televised race, there will be punters aplenty trying to retrieve the funds they lost on Tough Speed in the Royal Hunt Cup. They may be thwarted again though, by a minnow at the bottom of the handicap who is now ready for this bigger pond. Back SOFT BREEZE (nap 3.10).