Raise a glass to Pale Mimosa
Channel 4 commentator Simon Holt previews Friday's action at York and he's backing Pale Mimosa to win the Lonsdale Cup.
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The third day of the Ebor Festival could well be affected by the weather with showers forecast but PALE MIMOSA seems more versatile than most ground wise and could fulfil her undoubted potential by taking the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Lonsdale Cup.
Dermot Weld's mare should be spot on after justifying favouritism in a Listed event at Leopardstown last month (Certerach only sixth of seven), a race from which two subsequent winners have emerged, and must have leading claims here on her fourth behind Royal Diamond on Champions Day last October when she had the reopposing trio Estimate, Times Up and High Jinx behind her.
That effort on soft ground was all the more meritous given that Pale Mimosa has won twice on a much faster surface and, still lightly raced, this could be her day.
There is no doubt that Estimate failed to run her race under those conditions and she again showed her preference for quick ground when a fine second to Leading Light in this year's Gold Cup having, of course, won the Royal Ascot centrepiece in 2013.
But The Queen's fine stayer flopped unaccountably at Goodwood last time behind Cavalryman (Angel Gabriel fifth, Forgotten Voice seventh) and, even though connections blamed the undulating course, she needs to run a whole lot better here. On her best form, she could well fight this out with the selection.
The eight-year-old Cavalryman has been in resurgent form since going under by a neck to 33/1 outsider Certerach at Meydan in late March, making all at Newmarket before his fine Goodwood Cup success and looks sure to be involved again even though one senses that he ought to be vulnerable to younger, progressive types.
Meanwhile, another old-timer Times Up, the winner of this race in 2012, should not be written off despite two below-par efforts earlier in the season when his trainer Ed Dunlop's horses were badly out of form.
The eight-year-old tends to produce his best at this later stage of the campaign and it just depends if age is catching up with him.
Later, ground conditions will be crucial to the outcome of the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes with the brilliantly quick Sole Power (successful in 2010) ideally suited by a quick surface and rivals like Hot Streak and Pearl Secret probably better with some cut.
Sole Power is the one to beat at his best and seems as good as ever this season having produced his trademark turn of foot to win at Newmarket and Royal Ascot but trainer Eddie Lynam revealed earlier in the week that the seven-year-old has missed some work and might not be spot on.
Take Cover, who looked very fast when winning here and at Glorious Goodwood, could be hard to catch but the horse open to most improvement could be COUGAR MOUNTAIN.
A wide margin winner of a maiden at Naas in June, Aidan O'Brien's colt was then - quite astonishingly - thrown in at the deep end in the July Cup and ran remarkably well to finish fifth behind Slade Power despite possibly racing on a less favoured part of the course.
This drop to five furlongs, again at Group One level, represents another major test but he is clearly thought highly of and appears to have a massive future.