Debt can spoil O'Brien's celebration

  • By: Nic Doggett
  • Last Updated: October 19 2012, 17:26 BST

Nic Doggett's horse by horse guide to Saturday's QEII Stakes sponsored by Qipco.

Sovereign Debt (R): Overpriced at 50/1

Carlton House

Has been an expensive favourite to follow so far, winning just once (at 10/11) from four attempts when heading the market, most recently disappointing in the Summer Mile at this track. Can be excused that as he refused to settle throughout, however this trip doesn't look ideal once again despite the ground likely to make it more of a test. Perhaps a surprise to see him here rather than up against Frankel.

Cityscape

Paid the price for trying to match the impressive Wise Dan when only third in the Woodbine Mile last time, but his previous second to Excelebration in the Prix Jacques Le Marois was as good as anything he had produced since his Meydan romp in March. Record on good-to-soft or worse reads 2-1-8-1-4 so this son of Selkirk should handle the ground and not hard to see him hitting the frame.

Excelebration

Has an unbelievable record, and if it wasn't for Frankel he would have won 11 of his 13 starts rather than seven. Very effective on soft ground despite often racing quite keenly and is the deserving favourite for this race having seen off the reopposing Cityscape at Deauville without too much fuss. Trainer has won this race twice in the last six years.

Indomito

40/1 and beaten 10 lengths behind Excelebration in France two runs ago, before finding Master Of Hounds and Archbishop too strong in Turkey. Did finish within a neck of the O'Brien runner here in June but the latter paid the price for chasing Frankel. Has only won three of his 26 starts, all on good ground, and hard to see how he can improve on that record today.

Side Glance

Showed a steady level of progression last season but that has reached a plateau this year, despite being placed in three group races, including behind Frankel in the Queen Anne Stakes here in June. Only a neck to find on Excelebration on that run, and his record at the track reads 1-3-2-1-3-7-3, but the ground must be a concern having shown his best form on a quick surface.

Most Improved

Looked very good at two but has had a chequered career since in four starts; winning a St James's Palace but being trounced on each other occasion. Appreciated the strong pace when winning, and there may be some doubt over the same occurring here on the straight track, however the ground should be ok given his pedigree and interesting to see whether a first-time visor has a positive effect.

Sovereign Debt

Poor at Newmarket last time but previous performances on soft ground would suggest that today's conditions should be more suitable. Has a stone to find with Excelebration on official ratings but he has a good turn of foot which is no surprise given his sprinter's pedigree and he's one who won't mind if it becomes tactical. Should have won the Jersey here in June and still looks progressive.

Elusive Kate

Only has 3lbs to find with Excelebration on official figures and comes into this race on the back of a fine second to Siyouma (who has won in Canada since) in the Sun Chariot Stakes. Had previously gone down fighting when third in the Jacques Le Marois and has only been out of the places twice in 10 starts. Seems to handle most ground, although yet to tackle anything this testing.

Summary

Excelebration is likely to feature in many multiples along with Frankel, and he's the best horse in this race with proven form on testing ground. That could be enough to see him home, however he's not bombproof and there may be better value elsewhere. Elusive Kate looked unlucky at Newmarket last time, having lost a shoe when stumbling out of the stalls, but her pedigree doesn't really suggest that she'll relish the testing ground and instead it may be Cityscape who is the bigger danger of the shorter-priced runners given Roger Charlton has always thought he would be best on slow ground. However an each-way bet on SOVEREIGN DEBT is recommended. Michael Bell's Dark Angel colt really should be three out of three at the track, and his turn of foot could be seen to good effect here given it could easily be a tactical race. He loves soft ground, and it's worth noting that three-year-old's have won five of the last six renewals.


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