Eagle should be ready to Rock
Man On The Spot previews all seven races on day two of York's Dante meeting, which includes the feature race.
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Ancient Cross won this in 2011 and again last year where he had the 2012 winner JUDGE 'N JURY back in third. Mick Easterby's charge didn't win again but is still 5lb higher so Ron Harris' veteran, who has Frankie on board, can reverse the form and take this for the second time. Ballesteros hasn't won for two years but looked on the way back on his reappearance at Newbury while Desert Law returns from Dubai where he's been for the past two winters and is 1lb lower than when landing a very tough Ascot handicap in 2012. Best Trip would have a chance on his close fourth in the Bronze Cup while the very speedy Ashpan Sam shouldn't be too inconvenienced by dropping back to the minimum trip as he usually attempts to make all. Long Awaited showed promise on his return to action last month, his first start since July, and has to go on the shortlist.
Dalkala won this for France last year and went on to land the Group 1 Prix De L'Opera with Thistle Bird a very close third, Gifted Girl fifth and Secret Gesture well below her best in last. Roger Charlton's mare had Gifted Girl just under a length behind when landing the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom and should confirm the form but it's AMBIVALENT who looks the one to beat. She was beaten just a length here a year ago before landing the Group 1 Pretty Polly at the Curragh and arrives in top form having run a superb race behind two top-class performers in the lucrative Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan. Sir Michael Stoute likes this race so it's no surprise to see the lightly raced Mango Diva taking a step-up in class after victories at Listed and Group 3 level.
Bubbles are regularly burst in this but it will be a shock to Godolphin if True Story is beaten. He's now as low as 11/2 for the Derby after a very impressive victory from the highly-regarded Obliterator in the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket though he'll be at cramped odds in the expectation of consolidating his Epsom spot. BUNKER has arguably the more solid form yet he's a 20/1 chance for the big one. Richard Hannon's colt didn't appreciate the very fast ground when beaten by Berkshire in the Chesham at Royal Ascot before travelling to Deauville and beating Karakontie in a Listed contest. The runner-up has subsequently won two Group 1's including the French 2000 Guineas on Sunday so Frankie is taken to get one over his old employers and land this. Arod landed a Windsor maiden in the style of a very useful performer though obviously has to step up a few grades here as does Odeon, a son of Galileo who landed a Redcar maiden by 9l. The Grey Gatsby is better than he showed in the 2000 Guineas but will need to be against these.
Navajo Chief made a successful seasonal debut in this a year ago when he had Prince Of Johanne just over a length back in second. He's 6lb higher this time but is always best fresh so the lack of a run won't be a concern. FURY was conceding Prince Of Johanne 6lb when beating him a nose in this the previous year when Navajo Chief was fifth. William Haggas' charge hasn't won subsequently which is why he's on such an attractive mark and with Ryan Moore in the saddle he's taken to gain his second victory in the race. The Newmarket-based handler is also represented by Queensberry Rules, who didn't run as a juvenile but landed his opening two runs last season and finished close up in very tough handicaps here and at Ascot. Fort Bastion and Ingleby Angel fought out the finish of the Hunt Cup at Thirsk and there's very little between the pair again while Spa's Dancer ran a superb race in the Spring Cup at Newbury and would be an obvious threat in that kind of form.
David O'Meara won this last year but Eccleston looked as though a stiffer 5f or a step-up in trip would suit when struggling to stay with Mecca's Angel at Hamilton. He had earlier beaten Hay Chewed at Sandown when receiving 4lb and looks unlikely to confirm the form on the revised terms. Ambiance won a Listed race at Sandown before failing when stepped up into Group company and like Deauviille winner Shamshon he has a penalty to carry. JUSTICE DAY had a very busy first campaign but appeared get better with racing. His close third behind Astaire in the Middle Park is the stand-out form here and he can make a successful reappearance.
Richard Fahey won this a year ago with the useful Parbold but the filly Bonds Choice may struggle here against some well connected colts. PORTAMENTO is the only one with experience and though well beaten at Newmarket he caught the eye in the closing stages once realising what was required. That experience can see him home here though the very speedily-bred Silver Ranger has plenty of entries in top juvenile races so must be well regarded. Tim Easterby's horses are running well and Cisco Boy, the second foal of a mare who produced a 6f winner with her first, could just be more speedy at this stage than the Azamour colt Special Venture. Mister Universe is bred to get a mile at least but Bossy Guest is related to several very speedy performers and could prove a threat along with Gaudy, whose yard always do well with juveniles on this track.
High-class jumper Cape Tribulation last ran on the Flat at this venue in October 2012 where he just failed to concede weight to Mashaari. He'll think he's been let loose with this weight and has to be on the shortlist despite an absence since Wetherby on Boxing Day. Calculated Risk had been in winning form over hurdles before reverting to the Flat with an unlucky in-running effort at Pontefract and his stablemate Hidden Justice landed a tough handicap hurdle at Haydock in March. Albert Bridge scored over timber at Plumpton before a placed run behind Whiplash Willie at Salisbury and Man Of Plenty made a promising reappearance at Doncaster which should have brought him to the boil. If the ground dries out as expected, EAGLE ROCK can gain his third success over the course and distance. He was highly tried after his last victory in September so it's a surprise that he's just 1lb higher and his trainer will have him fired up for this.