Rudi's too hot for Nunthorpe rivals

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The Independent Online

There have been some scorching Nunthorpe Stakes, burning on the turf and burnt into the mind down the years. Three seasons ago Coastal Bluff and Ya Malak flashed across the finishing line in perfect unison, while, 12 months ago, Stravinsky forged ahead for one of the most impressive wins in one of the fastest races of the season.

There have been some scorching Nunthorpe Stakes, burning on the turf and burnt into the mind down the years. Three seasons ago Coastal Bluff and Ya Malak flashed across the finishing line in perfect unison, while, 12 months ago, Stravinsky forged ahead for one of the most impressive wins in one of the fastest races of the season.

Team Stravinsky have another crack this afternoon when Bernstein turns up for duty and, for the first time, he will be wearing a visor, as did his illustrious stablemate. Bernstein's chance is not, however, as obvious. He drops down to the minimum distance today having being dropped to six furlongs last time in the Shergar Cup Sprint at Ascot. He took so long to overhaul Auenklang that day that it is not difficult to imagine something being too nippy for him this time.

Nuclear Debate will be favourite in the aftermath of his success in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. He looked rather good that day but it may well be that the result flatters him. John Hammond's gelding was tucked into a glade in the middle of a forest of runners at the royal meeting and then burst almost unseen down the centre of the course. The five-year-old is now drawn number one and will have to ply his trade once again on the outside. This time, though, that will not be to his advantage.

At the other end of the field in the early stages should be Rudi's Pet. David Nicholls's runner has been hanging around in the stalls of late, but even that has not prevented him from reaching the front. The problem has been that he has used up too much fuel to get there and not built up the notable leads he should have. This has caused some consternation Chez Nicholls and the racecourse word is that Rudi's Pet (nap 3.45) has been schooled at home in a Monty Roberts blanket in an effort to get him off the grid quicker. If this works, Rudi's Pet will almost certainly win. His surge is irresistible and it will be greatly aided by the Knavesmire's kindness to front-runners.

Any course in Britain at the moment looks as though it would be favourable to Khulan (next best 2.35). She was preceded to the track at Newmarket last month by a monstrous reputation and did nothing at all to dent it in running away from the handy field in an extremely fast time. The second, third and fifth have all won since and the winner should also do so again this afternoon.

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