Cubanita to claim Cup glory
Check out our horse-by-horse guide to the Group Two Sky Bet Yorkshire Cup, the highlight on day three of the Dante meeting.
Tac De Boistron - Late-maturing type as he was a solid performer in his early days in France but his form seriously took off after joining Marco Botti last year. Hammered Cubanita in a Listed race over a mile and a half at Chester before two top-class efforts at Longchamp, winning the Group One Prix Royal-Oak on the second occasion. Returned with an impressive display in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot and no surprise to see him favourite here, despite the Group One penalty.
Seal Of Approval - Interesting mare who has very few miles on the clock and was last seen posting a career best when winning the Group One fillies and mares event on Champions Day at Ascot. Unfortunately fell on her only previous try at this sort of trip so stamina has to be taken on trust but she looks the most likely of James Fanshawe's duo.
Ahzeemah - Unlike so many in the staying division, consistency is very much his forte and he can be forgiven one bad run on really soft ground at Ascot when last seen in October. Didn't go out to Meydan this winter which suggests he'll be aimed at all the top domestic staying events and, having won the Lonsdale Cup here in August, another bold bid looks assured.
Biographer - Has some solid Listed form in the book up to two miles, though he hasn't tasted success since October 2012. Last month's comeback effort at Nottingham left plenty to be desired and connections now reach for the hood.
Camborne - Struggled in Group company in 2012 but he opened his Pattern account with a Group Three triumph over 11 furlongs when last seen in September. Had previously proved his stamina for this trip by winning a Doncaster handicap under a big weight and there's a chance he could take another step up the ladder this season.
Glen's Diamond - Winner of five races, the highlight being a nose victory in this event 12 months ago. This year's renewal looks a little deeper in terms of strength but you couldn't completely rule out a big performance first time out for the season.
Gospel Choir - Very progressive five-year-old representing a top trainer, who knows what's required to win this event. Stepped up on his comeback run over an inadequate trip to win in good style over a mile and a half at Newmarket earlier this month and drying ground would help him here as he takes another step up in distance.
High Jinx - Has been called a few names in the past as he has a tendancy to find one too good. Failed to hit the target in four outings at Group and Listed level last season and needs to improve considerably on last month's Nottingham pipe-opener if he's to make an impact here.
Penglai Pavillion - Comes out best on the adjusted ratings as his official mark of 117 makes him the joint-highest rated in the field with the penalised Tac De Boistron. However, he has yet to show anything like the form he demonstrated in France for Andre Fabre since joining Charlie Appleby and was dead last of eight behind Gospel Choir at Newmarket recently.
Repeater - Has only won an Epsom maiden and a Ripon handicap off a mark of 80, although he has run some good races in smart company. Another one who failed to make an impression on his return at Nottingham last month so hard to form a strong case for him here.
Tiger Cliff - Major improver for the Cecil team throughout last season, winning the Ebor off a mark of 98 before signing off with a creditable effort in the Cesarewich. Was due to go hurdling with Alan King over the winter but suffered a few hold-ups and didn't make it to the track. Still open to bundles of improvement as a stayer on the Flat and he shouldn't be overlooked.
Cubanita - Quality mare from an in-form stable and the form of her narrow comeback win over Noble Mission at Newbury last month has been franked in no uncertain terms. Yet to be tried over this distance but everything about her screams 'stayer' and the weight allowance makes her a particularly attractive betting proposition.
Khione - Lightly-raced five-year-old who made just one appearance in 2013, winning at Listed race over a mile and a half at Goodwood. Caught the eye staying on for fifth behind Cubanita in the John Porter last month but has the best part of four lengths to find and might just come up short, given the winner is entitled to strip fitter too.
CONCLUSION: Tac De Boistron is the proven Group One stayer in the field and showed a tremendous turn of foot when making a winning return to action in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot. He'll be fine dropping back slightly in trip but the weight penalty opens things up here. Ahzeemah seems sure to run his race and could yet improve on what we've seen from him so far, but Gospel Choir and Cubanita are fascinating contenders stepping up from a mile and a half and the latter gets the nod having beaten subsequent Gordon Richards and Huxley Stakes winner Noble Mission off level weights in the John Porter on her return to competitive action.