Hitch can claim Sky Bet Dash
Man On The Spot previews the races from Ascot and York that will be shown live on Channel 4 on Saturday.
Three-year-olds and older horses have shared the past ten renewals and Maven won it in 2012. Tim Easterby's mare has won eight times in her career though never from a mark this high. Al Manaal is on a lower mark than when successful on Polytrack in May and Mick Channon has booked Daniel Cremin with his 7lb claim. Yojojo is much better than her latest run suggests and won a better class race than this at Newmarket in October. Cosmic Halo is on exactly the same mark as when successful over track and trip in September but Maybeme is looking too high in the weights. The trio of three-year-olds at the bottom of the handicap all arrive in very good form and any of them could win this but the vote goes toKLEO, who looked a typical Luca Cumani slow burner when gaining an impressive maiden success at Lingfield.
OSAILA proved last month's decent effort in the Albany Stakes here was no fluke by landing a novice event at Doncaster with the minimum of fuss. She beat a field of previous winners by three lengths and this contest looks hers for the taking. She's well clear of Rosie's Premiere and Pastoral Girl on official ratings but Accipiter beat a subsequent winner at Chepstow and should be thereabouts. Goldcrest is another on the up after scoring at Newbury while both Explosive Lady and Muraaqaba have plenty of scope after making winning debuts in maiden company.
A big weight is no deterrent as all five latest winners carried 9st 8lb or more. Short Squeeze won two handicaps at this level last summer and has been competing in better class this campaign. He's respected but the vote has to go to DUTCH ROSE. She's run on the Knavesmire four times, all over this trip, and is unbeaten. David O'Meara's mare led until this distance when runner-up in a Listed contest over a mile at Pontefract last time and can continue her magnificent sequence on this track. Sir Reginald generally competes well at this sort of level but remains 4lb higher than his last success in September and stablemate Tiger Twenty Two could be a better bet as he gained his only victory on this track. Silent Bulletdisappointed when stepped up to a mile at Salisbury after an excellent reappearance over this trip but Alfred Hutchinson has to be respected as he wasn't far behind the selection here in May and is much better off at the weights. Alejandro went up 7lb for winning here last month and couldn't cope at Haydock though he didn't enjoy the soft ground.
Glorious Empire suffered his only defeat so far at this track which is a bit of a worry. He's been raised 7lb for winning at Newmarket and MOOHAARIB is 8lb higher after scoring at Doncaster. The latter didn't win by far but it was five lengths back to the third and Marco Botti's colt gets a tentative vote in a highly competitive race. Others to consider include the progressive Billingsgate and easy Ffos Las winner Kafeel. Hughie Morrison has won this before so Baltic Brave could go well while You're Fired stayed the mile trip well enough when narrowly beaten at Haydock in similar company.
Saeed Bin Suroor has won this twice in recent years and is double handed this time. Sharestan began last year in winning form at Meydan and reappeared this term to beat Sheikhzayedroad and one other rival in a Group 3 at Sandown. He couldn't make the progress to get involved at this level in the Hardwicke Stakes though his overall form looks just that bit stronger than that of his stablemate Windhoek. Godolphin also run LONG JOHN and he looks the answer. He just escapes a penalty for his Group 1 victory in Australia and he landed the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan in February. He made an eye-catching UK debut in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot and should be good enough for this. Last year's Oaks runner-up Secret Gesture didn't have much to beat at Nottingham but at least showed herself in good heart and has to be respected while Danadana has a course and distance victory to her credit.
Only two winners have returned at single-figure odds in the last 10 renewals. Horsted Keynes will start somewhere near the head of the betting after a narrow defeat in the Buckingham Palace here and is expected reverse running with the winner Louis The Pious. Watchable and Bronze Angel finished third and fourth respectively in the Buckingham and the latter has subsequently won at York. Field Of Dream won this in 2012 but may have already peaked for this year with victory in the Royal Hunt Cup last month and Belgian Bill could well turn the tables with the former.Abseil's progress looks to have come to a halt for now but Redvers, Brazos and Pastoral Player are all course and distance winners with a shout.KING TORUS steps up in class bidding for a four-timer but is improving at a rate of knots and given a high draw is no hindrance, Ruth Carr's charge gets a speculative vote.
This is always ultra-competitive though two of the last three favourites have won. Mick Easterby loves a crack at this big prize and won it with Hoof It in 2011. He hasn't won a race since that year but has been running well in top company so don't be shocked if her bounced back again. After victories over this trip at Thirsk and the Curragh, Line of Reason competed his hat-trick over the minimum on this track. He's up another 7lb but it will be a surprise if he's not thereabouts. The lightly-raced and progressive Muthmir may just have needed the run at Newcastle after a long absence and he's at the right end of the handicap. He had subsequent winner Kimberella behind and should get into the firing-line. Bogart beat Goldream into second here in August and a string of duck eggs sees him back on exactly the same mark so he can go well though a chance is taken on a return to form of the veteran HITCHENS. David Barron's charge was on a mark of 108 when landing a Listed contest at Chester last August and is down to 96 for this. Franny Norton does the steering this time and his mount can gain victory number twelve.
An exciting renewal in store with the three-year-olds looking to have a real chance of breaking the older horses stranglehold. Magician leads the Irish contingent and finished ahead of Mukhadram when runner-up here in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes over 1m2f. The latter went on to beat last year's runner-up Trading Leather in the Eclipse at Sandown three weeks ago. Well-touted last season, Telescope finally delivered a high-class performance to land the Hardwicke. He should go close again but John Gosden unleashes a trio of unexposed three-year-olds. Beaten in a handicap in April, Eagle Top romped home in a Group 2 here last month. William Buick prefers him to Derby third Romsdal, but TAGHROODA won the Oaks at Epsom in a decent time. The Sea The Stars filly looked something special when leaving her rivals for dead in the final 2f and can remain unbeaten.