At such short odds, over a new trip, even a true great like Frankel can hardly appeal as a betting medium at York today. In fact, the Juddmonte International Stakes market is more likely to interest each-way "thieves", who will surely cover their money on St Nicholas Abbey. His two pacemakers should guarantee a sufficient test over the long Knavesmire straight for the Ballydoyle raider to outstay all bar the champion for a podium finish.
Certainly, it is hard to see Frankel failing for lack of stamina, now that he settles so much better. Tom Queally has regularly needed several furlongs to pull him up, over a mile, and anyone who doubts the latent staying power in his pedigree need only watch his younger brother, Noble Mission, when he lines up for the Neptune Investment Management Great Voltigeur Stakes, just 35 minutes earlier.
Noble Mission lacks his class but has shown an attitude that would be useful if Frankel ever did get into a scrap. Connections feel he was committed early enough at Goodwood last time, when holding Encke in a close tussle, albeit he was arguably more at home of the pair over the undulations.
Whether either could have finished second in a Derby is another matter, though that may be a limited distinction in a Derby working out as dreadfully as that won by Camelot in June. The winner himself is the only runner to have advertised the form since, so the onus if very much on the runner-up, Main Sequence, to do so here. In fairness, he ran well enough in his only start since, beaten barely a length for fourth in the Grand Prix de Paris, despite meeting traffic, but as favourite he hardly appeals as value.
Better odds are available about stablemates of both Noble Mission and Encke. Thomas Chippendale has already beaten Noble Mission once, and could well do so more emphatically if they go quicker than they did at Royal Ascot, but the real sleeper is another winner at that meeting. Energizer (3.05) has since been purchased by Godolphin, and must prove himself as effective on faster going today. But his smart form at shorter distances is surely only a platform for what he can achieve, given the sort of test demanded by his pedigree.
The day's other Group race, the Pinsent Masons LLP Acomb Stakes, is most intriguing despite a small field. Dundonnell and Afonso De Sousa (2.30) have both run away with maidens, by 12 and nine lengths respectively, since finishing third and fourth in one at the Newmarket July Festival. The visual impact made by the Ballydoyle colt at Leopardstown could be underpinned by legitimate improvement, as it was his first start on a sound surface. Rex Imperator (2.00) looks a Group sprinter in the making and can defy top weight in the Symphony Group Handicap.
Chris McGrath's Nap
Jocasta Dawn (5.05 Lingfield) Back at the scene of her fine debut but still the least exposed of these and can improve past her new mark after beating a subsequent winner, despite sweating up, at Windsor.
Rex Imperator (2.00 York) Really going places and promised better still reverting to five furlongs after catching the eye on the bridle before flattening out at Newmarket.
- More about:
- Athletics, Track And Field
- Derby (horse Race)
- Newmarket Racecourses
- Royal Ascot
- Running (sport)
- Sprint Running