The big showdown between Workforce and So You Think at Sandown on Saturday has been viewed with remarkable conviction by ante-post punters, who have unequivocally rejected last year's Derby and Arc winner.
At the start of the week, bookmakers could not split the pair. But So You Think, the Australian import who was turned over at odds-on at Royal Ascot, is now as short as 4-5 with the sponsors for the Coral Eclipse Stakes, with Workforce out to 7-4. Their spokesman, David Stevens, said: "Eighty per cent of the bets we've taken since the five-day stage have been for So You Think. Hopefully, the race itself will prove less one-sided."
In the circumstances, those faithful to Workforce would be relieved simply to learn that he retains the use of four limbs – never mind that he stretched them so impressively in Newmarket yesterday morning. Given his perceived vulnerability over 10 furlongs, it is especially auspicious that he responded to a workout set up to test his acceleration. The useful Class Is Class was apparently given a start of around half a dozen lengths, but Workforce ran him down to go a length and a half clear.
Happily, the race appears set to obtain a third dimension, with the top-class Snow Fairy now set to make her belated resumption at Sandown, rather than carry a penalty against her own sex over a longer distance at Haydock the same afternoon. "It won't be until the morning that we make a decision, but I'm favouring Sandown," Ed Dunlop, her trainer, said. "She'll have a small blowout tomorrow. If that goes well and we are happy, we'll run. It will be her first run after her injury, and of course she will improve for the run – but not that much. The other two are two of the best horses in Europe. [But] we have to start somewhere, and it's not the be-all-and-end-all."
* Chris mcgrath's nap
Butler (5.00 Haydock) Looked ready for this extra distance when finding his stride late in a slowly run race at Sandown last time.
* Next best
Levitate (4.40 Yarmouth) Has finished too late twice running, but extra furlong and visor should get him involved here.
* One to watch
The way Lyric Street (Luca Cumani) was working through the gears when fifth at Newmarket last Saturday guaranteed better still over 12f.