Ryan Moore on the York Ebor Festival: A look at Saturday's races plus Sunday's action in Ireland
We have a top-class weekend of racing in store and here to preview the key races from the final day of the York Ebor Festival, plus Sunday's action in Ireland, is Betfair Ambassador Ryan Moore...
"Back on a flatter track, and returning to his best, he would definitely have a chance in this. But he has to put that disappointing Goodwood run behind him."
- Ryan Moore on Intelligence Cross, 15:25 York
This looks a very hot Group 3. Ex-South African Grade 1 winner Yorker is very much the unknown making his debut for William after a long break - he has all the facilities, like treadmills, needed to nurse them back to form - and Educate is some horse to be winning the John Smith's Cup off that mark at the age of seven.
Add in very solid Group 2/3 performers like Custom Cut, Gabrial and Scottish, and with Air Pilot set to relish any rain and Countermeasure continuing to surprise, and this will take a lot of winning.
I think the boss's Diploma has a good chance, though. She looks very well at the moment and comes here on the back of an impressive win at this track last time, which made it two from two here. That was on fast ground but she seemed to handle soft okay over an inadequate trip in the Sandringham, and she is an improving and lightly-raced filly, and the stable continues in great form.
Shraaoh is likely to be favourite after his second over 1m4f at Goodwood last time, and rightly so, and I think the step up in trip will suit him, too. It could be that the Goodwood race was stronger than this, and I think he can confirm the form with the horses who finished behind him there and improve again.
Intelligence Cross was undeniably disappointing in the Richmond behind Mehmas and Blue Point last time. We thought that he would go close after his excellent second to Mehmas in the July Stakes, but he just didn't fire at Goodwood, even allowing for the fact that he struggled to come down the hill.
Back on a flatter track, and returning to his best, he would definitely have a chance in this. But he has to put that disappointing Goodwood run behind him.
Blue Point ran well there, despite still looking in need of the inexperience, and he is an obvious favourite. But Mokarris impressed me at Newbury and he must have a big chance if he settles, while I saw Mubtasim win at Haydock and he too looked a very decent prospect. It's a competitive Gimcrack, and plenty will be fancying their chances.
I did like the look of Ivan Grozny before he got pulled out lame this morning as Willie Mullins is a master trainer and superb with his stayers on the Flat.
It is hardly original but I think Antiquarium is the one mostly likely to take advantage in his absence. He sprouted wings to take the Northumberland Plate, and a 6lb rise may not be enough to stop him.
It is also a busy weekend in Ireland and Aidan has plenty of his stars on show at the Curragh this weekend.
Gold Cup winner Order Of St George has had a break since Ascot but he looks to have an obvious chance on his first start back on Saturday, while on Sunday Churchill is one of Aidan's three in the five-runner Futurity Stakes. He may not have won by far on his last two starts, but he has impressed with his class and attitude and there is more to come from him.
US Army Ranger has been given time since his second at Epsom and this will be a good starting point back for him with an autumn campaign in mind. And the same is true of Fascinating Rock, too, who was given a summer break after an impressive defeat of Found in the Tattersalls Gold Cup here in May. And, with Endless Drama and Success Days also in here, I have seen easier Group 3s to win.
Rhododendron impressed me at Goodwood and, although the runner-up let the form down at Newbury, together with Albany winner Brave Anna she gives Aidan another strong hand in the Debutante Stakes.