Timeform bring you their runner-by-runner guide to Friday's Nunthorpe Stakes at York...
"BATTAASH and Lady Aurelia could turn out to be sprinters for the ages and this clash between them will be something to savour..."
Friday 25th August, 15:35
1. ALPHA DELPHINI (Bryan Smart/Graham Lee)
Ran well when three quarters of a length third to Priceless in Temple Stakes at Haydock and sixth of 17 to Lady Aurelia in King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. Bounced back from Sandown flop when second in minor event at Hamilton last time, but plenty to find on form.
2. COTAI GLORY (Charlie Hills/Silvestre de Sousa)
Seventh in King's Stand (five lengths behind Lady Aurelia) and run best excused when four and a quarter lengths fourth to Kimberella in listed race at Chester last time, seeming not to handle track (very awkward around first bend). Fourth in this race last season.
3. DUKE OF FIRENZE (David Griffiths/Fran Berry)
Smart handicapper who won over C&D in May and was third in the 'Dash' at Epsom (head behind Caspian Prince) in June. Excuses when 16th to Lancelot du Lac in Stewards' Cup at Goodwood last time, never involved, and this looks too demanding a task, for all the return to this trip will suit.
4. FINAL VENTURE (Paul Midgley/Paul Mulrennan)
Won handicaps at Meydan in January/February and listed race at Haydock (by neck from Kyllang Rock) in June. Run best excused when six and three quarter lengths seventh to Battaash in King George Stakes at Goodwood last time, not ideally placed. Plenty to find at this level.
5. GOLDREAM (Robert Cowell/Martin Harley)
Fine second in Temple Stakes at Haydock in May, but below form last four starts. No win since 2015 Prix de l'Abbaye (Muthmir third) and only seventh in this last season.
6. PROFITABLE (Clive Cox/James Doyle)
Won Palace House, Temple Stakes and King's Stand (by neck from Cotai Glory) in 2016. Back to best of late, three lengths second to Lady Aurelia in latest King's Stand and creditable two and a quarter lengths second to Battaash in King George last time, short of room but no match for the winner. Not at best in last two renewals of this, but is better off at the weights today than on last two starts.
7. TAKE COVER (David Griffiths/David Allan)
Powerful front-runner who won listed race over C&D (by half a length from Final Venture) in July, before respectable three and three quarter lengths fourth to Battaash in King George last time. Four lengths third in this race 12 months ago and another bold show not ruled out.
8. WASHINGTON DC (Aidan O'Brien/Ryan Moore)
Hold-up performer who was second in Palace House Stakes at Newmarket (neck behind Marsha) in May and won Phoenix Sprint Stakes at the Curragh (by half a length from Cougar Mountain) last time, staying on to lead close home having had to pick way through and wait for gap 1f out.
9. BATTAASH (Charlie Hills/Jim Crowley)
Very impressive in winning listed race and Sprint Stakes (by three and a quarter lengths from Mirza) this year, both at Sandown. Completed hat-trick with top-class performance in red-hot renewal of King George Stakes at Goodwood last time, travelling powerfully and soon storming clear. All speed so this track should suit and looks a major player on his first start in a Group 1.
10. MARSHA (Sir Mark Prescott/Luke Morris)
Well-made filly who rounded off progressive 2016 campaign with win in Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp at Chantilly in October. Even better this year, winning Palace House (by neck from Washington DC) on reappearance and third to Lady Aurelia in King's Stand in June. Below form when three lengths third to Battaash in King George last time, but capable of better on this quicker ground.
11. PRICELESS (Clive Cox/Adam Kirby)
Beat several of these when landing Temple Stakes at Haydock (by half a length from Goldream) in May and run best excused when well held in soft-ground King George last time, not ideally placed. Capable of bouncing back here, for all that she needs to improve to feature prominently.
12. LADY AURELIA (Wesley Ward/Frankie Dettori)
Blew rivals away in Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot last season, also winning Prix Morny at Deauville two months later. Further progress this year, winning listed race at Keeneland in April and King's Stand at Royal Ascot (by three lengths from Profitable, producing a dominant display of speed all for just hands-and-heels riding) last time. Pulverised high-class opponents who were at their very best but simply couldn't lay a glove on her there, and has had this race as a target since. The one to beat.
Timeform Nunthorpe Stakes 1-2-3
2. Lady Aurelia
Timeform Analyst's Nunthorpe Stakes Verdict:
BATTAASH and Lady Aurelia could turn out to be sprinters for the ages and this clash between them will be something to savour. Opposing Lady Aurelia on the back of her stunning performance in the King's Stand is not a decision taken lightly, but Battaash was simply untouchable at Goodwood last time and he looks a champion sprinter in the making. Marsha is best of the rest.