13:45 - Doncaster
Never Back Down
He looks to have an interesting enough profile for a race of this nature. Yarmouth winner Mutaaqeb is obviously the least exposed, and the likes of Rebel Assault and Staxton probably set the form standard, but I think my colt has decent claims. He did well against smart sorts in the spring and presumably had a setback before a fair sixth at Redcar after a long break. If he can come on again, then he should be bang there, I suppose. I rode Speak In Colours to win at Ascot and I liked him. It was soft there but he should be okay on this better ground, and he may prove troublesome to all.
14:20 - Doncaster
He has improved since he has been gelded and he followed up his 6f Salisbury win for me when narrowly winning over an extra furlong at Newbury last time. The runner-up ran well in the Two Year Old Trophy next time, and hopefully he can still be competitive here off a 5lb higher mark.
14:55 - Doncaster
He hasn't been seen since disappointing at Ascot in July, and could well have had a little problem or two from what I know. And the handicapper has left him on the same mark, too. But presumably all is well with the horse and he has a decent form chance on his second at York in June, or his earlier second to the well-handicapped Lord Yeats, when I rode him. It was soft that day but I think this better ground will suit him fine.
15:25 - Doncaster
He is a lovely horse. I wasn't on him when he won impressively on his debut at the Curragh but I was on board when he won the Beresford Stakes at Naas last time, and he is good. The form of the race has been underlined by Listed race wins for his stablemate Kew Gardens and Riyazan, who finished fourth and fifth in that five-runner race, and I think he will be suited by running on this nicer ground. It is Doncaster at the end of October, though, so I expect it to be riding on the easy side of good. He will run a big race.
The Pentagon also impressed me at Leopardstown and he is a horse with a very big engine. In a normal year, he would probably be favourite. Aidan also runs Seahenge and Coat Of Arms, and the former obviously likes the track, having won the Champagne Stakes here. He perhaps wasn't ideally positioned when third in the Dewhurst, so that run is probably all the more noteworthy. Who knows, his five length third there may be the best form coming into the race?
A more conventional way of looking at it would be that he brings the second best piece form to the table and that Verbal Dexterity sets the standard after his National Stakes win. He won that Group 1 by 3 ½ lengths and I was impressed - I rode the third - by the way he kept on galloping there. The step up to a mile will suit him well. I rode in the Chelmsford race won by Chilean and he isn't a bad colt who followed up in good style at Haydock last time. But this is a fair step up in class and the Haydock runner-up did little for the form at Pontefract earlier this week. Gabr is a nice colt and one who comes here in good shape.
He has a lot to find on form but he has been working well at home and I would expect him to come forward from what he has shown to date. I would also give a good shout to Roaring Lion. He travelled well in the Royal Lodge and he nearly gave the race away to me when he hung into the middle of the track. But I was impressed by him and he is another one you could make a case for in a what is a good and deep renewal of this race.
16:00 - Doncaster
Anything could win this but at least the handicapper has given Global Applause a fighting chance by dropping him 5lb after two efforts in conditions races this season. He was obviously a very smart juvenile and I won the National Stakes on him. This will be the first time he has raced over 5f since his Molecomb third last summer and maybe that is what he needs, so 5f on decent ground off a mark of just 98 could well see him be competitive here.
16:35 - Doncaster
I got nailed on the line by an unexposed sort on him at Leicester last time - the winner is a good horse - and a reproduction of that form should see him go close once again. He looks a solid proposition and is probably the one to beat at these weights.