Trip can trump Cup rivals
Simon Holt previews Friday's QIPCO Yorkshire Cup card at York and is backing Top Trip to win the feature.
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French trainer Francois Doumen has been a regular and successful visitor to these shores for many years and looks set to again shame the home defence with Top Trip in Friday's QIPCO Yorkshire Cup.
The son of Dubai Destination, aboard whom Mickael Barzalona is an eye catching booking, boasts form at a high level across the Channel notably when a staying-on fifth in last year's French Derby having earlier landed a Group Two at Longchamp.
Later efforts suggested that Top Trip was a smart stayer in the making, in particular his fourth behind the high class Masterstroke and John Gosden's Gatewood over a mile and a half at Deauville in August.
The extra two furlongs of Friday's race on the Knavesmire should be made to measure and a pipe-opener over an inadequate mile and a quarter on his reappearance back at Longchamp last month should have him spot on for this.
Highest-rated of the home-trained runners is Joshua Tree, a smart international campaigner successful in France and Canada last year who is now based with Ed Dunlop (who took this prize 12 months ago with Red Cadeaux) in Newmarket.
The six-year-old rarely runs a bad race but is set to concede weight to all bar one of his rivals here and Cavalryman, rated just one pound inferior on official ratings, is set to receive 4lb.
Godolphin's loyal stable servant runs here after a comfortable success on Dubai World Cup night but he has tended to come up just short in Cup races here including when fourth behind Times Up in the Lonsdale Cup on this course last August.
Two runners who look open to further improvement are Guarantee and Sir Graham Wade.
The latter seemed to strip fitter for Ascot's Sagaro Stakes after a below-par reappearance at Nottingham and, after a fair third to Estimate on the Royal Heath, should be winning soon though this is probably his stiffest task to date. An impressive individual, Sir Graham Wade remains a stayer of great potential.
Guarantee, winner of the Melrose Handicap over the course and distance last August, certainly looked set for a future in top staying races that day but has twice disappointed since - in the St Leger and then when only sixth behind Universal (winner since) and the reopposing Quiz Mistress at Newbury last month.
Quiz Mistress is another progressive type who showed fair form to win a listed race at Saint-Cloud for Hughie Morrison last October though she probably has to improve on that to trouble a top-form Top Trip.