Nunthorpe dash looks one to savour as star sprinters are readied
The top-quality action continues on Friday, no more so than in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, which promises to be one of the races of the festival with Lady Aurelia taking on Battaash for the first time. Two other Group contests and some competitive handicaps complement a well-balanced card. Here are the highlights . . .
UAE may well prove King against elders
It may appear rapidly improving three-year-old UAE King faces a stiff test in the Group 2 Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup (2.25) but the son of Frankel is one to keep on side.
Just 11 entries have been made for the race, so trainer Roger Varian must be tempted to let the beautifully bred colt take his chance, even though the last three-year-old to win this race was Double Eclipse, when gaining the first of two victories in the 2m½f event in 1995, although only one three-year-old has contested the race since 2007.
Time for consistent Suedois to shine
Can this finally be Suedois’s day? He so deserves that elusive first win in Britain.
David O’Meara’s sprinter appears set to lower his sights in the Group 3 Sky Bet City Of York Stakes (3.00) over seven furlongs after being a model of consistency in some of the best sprints last year.
Runner-up in the July Cup and third in the Sprint Cup and Prix de la Foret last campaign, Suedois returned to form, following a promising effort in a first-time visor in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, when a fast-finishing third in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
The last time he contested a Group 3 race, he won. All the signs are there, although this is by no means a penalty kick, with Godolphin’s Jungle Cat and Richard Pankhurst among a number of runners with a point to prove.
Aurelia and Battaash ready to do battle
A clash of the titans awaits in the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes on Friday (3.35) with King’s Stand scorer Lady Aurelia taking on improving King George Stakes winner Battaash.
Four of the last five renewals have gone to the fairer sex, although none won the race at the age of three, with Mecca’s Angel notching a memorable second success in the £350,000 event last year. There was certainly plenty of encouragement taken from those closest to Lady Aurelia following her morning blowout on the Knavesmire on Friday.
Wesley Ward will be hoping history does not repeat itself, with the US trainer taking the runner-up spot with Acapulco in this race two years ago, and it would be foolish to underestimate Battaash.
Charlie Hills’ son of Dark Angel will arrive in the form of his life on the back of a scintillating Glorious Goodwood triumph and York may well suit his tactical nature.
It promises to be a majestic burn up, even though the likely two protagonists have scared off all but eleven possible rivals at the five-day stage.