Could outrun his odds
13:25 - The Mediterranean
He hasn't got his head in front since I rode him to win his maiden back in May, but he has put a good run of performances together of late and could run better than his odds suggest here. Of course, he needs to step it up a level against Trueshan and Stradivarius but he bumped into a peak-form Search For A Song when second at the Curragh last time and his Leger third gives him definite each-way chances here. I can also see Baron Samedi going well. I liked his run in the Irish St Leger last time and I see they have put first-time cheekpieces on him now too, with the step back up to 2m looking set to suit.
I fancy Rohaan but Art Power is a big danger
14:00 - Rohaan
This is quite obviously a very deep and competitive race, with the lack of a stand-out form horse meaning a dozen or so probably have a realistic chance of winning. Maybe even more when you look at the official ratings and see how tight-knit it is. Rohaan is firmly in the mix on all fronts, as a course winner who acts on any ground, who is also bang there on ratings and who comes in here on the back of what looked an unlucky run when fifth in the Flying Five at the Curragh last time. We will have to see how his draw in 15 of 20 plays out, but of course he has his chance, and I do fancy him actually. Art Power could be the big stumbling block though, as I thought he was very impressive at the Curragh. If there are two in here who are better than their current marks, and could rise above the rest, I think it is him and my horse.
The one to beat if quick turnaround doesn't hinder her
14:35 - Snowfall
It was a surprise, and an unexpected bonus to Snowfall's chances, that both Free Wind and La Petite Coco weren't declared for this but, to be honest, my filly was always the form horse anyway. Okay, she may not quite have been at her Group 1 and Classic-winning best in her last two starts in the Vermeille and Arc, but she certainly didn't run poorly on either occasion and those wide-margin wins at Epsom, the Curragh and York set a very high standard for the opposition to match here. Indeed, even a reproduction of the Arc run could well be good enough. In fact it probably will be. She is clearly the one to beat, and the only potential negative is the 13-day turnaround from Paris.
Career-best needed in this red-hot renewal
15:10 - Mother Earth
It is clearly a red-hot renewal, and a peak-form Palace Pier sets a very high bar, especially on his Lockinge win earlier in the season. But this race is also full of established Group 1 winners, up-and-comers like Baaeed - he has impressed me - and last year's winner The Revenant for good measure, so Mother Earth needs a big career-best to be winning this, and probably one of those to even be placed if they all bring their best form to the party. But she is a model of consistency, is a Classic winner and a filly who takes her racing so well and who will not mind the drying ground. This is a hard race to call as I have a lot of time for a few of these, but Palace Pier sets the standard and is the right favourite.
Conditions in favour but Mishriff is the right fav
15:50 - Bolshoi Ballet
He wasn't at his best in Belmont last time, and perhaps the 1m4f trip mostly explains that, but we know 1m2f and drying conditions very much play to his strengths. Of course, he has lot to find with the likes of Mishriff and Adayar and his price will reflect that, but we will give it a shot. He has not quite fulfilled that promise in the spring but he has won his Grade 1 and it wouldn't surprise me if he hit the board, but he has a fair job on here all the same, so we have to be realistic. Mishriff is the right favourite, and the most solid option all things considered, not least because he has been trained for the race and the 1m2f trip looks to be his optimum. I have a sneaking suspicion Al Aasy will run well though, as there is a good horse in there somewhere and the step down to 1m2f could unlock it.
Big chance in very competitive race
16:30 - Nugget
His record throughout his career is one of continual and consistent progression as he has climbed the handicap ladder, and it is not hard to see him playing another major role here. He is 12lb higher than when I rode him to win at Newbury back in April but he arguably should have won his next two. He was arriving off a long break when scoring at Haydock last time, and comes here as a fresh improver who will be suited by the ground drying out. I think he has a big chance in what is obviously a very competitive handicap, and he deserves to be among the favourites. It is just a matter of whether he has shown his hand a bit too much for a race of this nature.