David Ord takes two against the field in his horse-by-horse guide to Saturday's ultra-competitive John Smith's Cup at York.
MASTER THE WORLD: Deservedly picked up the Winter Derby in the stewards’ room in February and found his stamina stretched over a mile-and-half in the Jockey Club Stakes when last seen in May. Tough and reliable but has nothing in hand of the assessor and vulnerable to any improvers.
BORN TO BE ALIVE: Second in the Doncaster Mile but soundly beaten returned to handicap company in the Spring Cup at Newbury and others have far more compelling claims.
APPEARED: Fourth behind Dash Of Spice in Duke Of Edinburgh at Royal Ascot where he faded late on his reappearance. Five pounds better off with that rival for a four lengths beating, he can’t be dismissed although his best form is all at the Berkshire track.
DASH OF SPICE: Ready winner of last two starts at Epsom and Royal Ascot and obvious player with only a five-pound penalty here. The drop back to ten furlongs at this galloping track is unlikely to be an inconvenience and arrives here on the crest of a wave.
ANOTHER TOUCH: Eighth in this last year when he was unable to overcome a wide draw and run creditably since. A neck behind Dash Of Spice in the City And Suburban, he’s fully 21 pounds better off with that thriving rival here. Richard Fahey’s charge doesn't have the same scope for improvement but there’s definitely a case to be made for him on ratings and he’s run well here before too.
THUNDERING BLUE: Won here in May and excused Royal Ascot run behind Dash Of Spice where he was too free. This is his optimum trip and a big run is on the cards providing he gets a suitable draw and the strong pace he craves.
TANDEM: Represents a top team and took a significant step back in the right direction at Cork last time. Strong traveller, but not sure he has much in hand of the assessor.
EUCHEN GLEN: Touched off in the Northumberland Vase at Newcastle but takes a big drop in trip here and you have to worry it will all happen to fast for him.
SIR CHAUVELIN: Credit to connections and fourth in the Zetand Gold Cup, second in the Duke Of Edinburgh and third in the Northumberland Plate on his last three starts. Versatile in terms of trip but this is very much at the bottom end of his requirements but in great form right now and deserves to pick up a nice pot.
KYNREN: Three-time winner last season and placed in the Spring Mile and Whitsun Cup this term before bombing out in the Hunt Cup. His best form is with cut in the ground and forecast conditions at the weekend hardly point to a swift revival.
WHAT’S THE STORY: Recorded a career-best effort when fourth in the Royal Hunt Cup in first-time cheekpieces . Had a five-pound penalty there so two pounds lower this time around and effective at this trip on fast ground.
BROROCCO: Had a few of these behind when second to Ajman King at Epsom in June but beaten twice at Newmarket since. That said he fared well against two promising three-year-olds on the latter occasion and is the sort to run well in a competitive race like this for all he’s as high as he’s ever been in the ratings.
ACROSS DUBAI: Strong traveller who was back somewhere near his best when third at Chelmsford last time. This is the first time in 2018 he’ll be served a big-field, strong pace scenario which promises to suit and he doesn’t have many miles on the clock for his shrewd stable.
MORDIN: Second on last three starts at Ripon, Windsor and Ayr but ran well one each occasion. We may not have seen the best of him yet but this is by far the sternest examination he’s faced to date.
DAWAALEEB: Improved form to win at Beverley and Redcar this season but handicap mark moved northwards as a result and this is much deeper.
FAYEZ: Two good runs here already this term and unsuited by a tactical affair at Ayr last time, he’s capable on his day but looks more exposed than some.
TITUS: Won at Wetherby in May and while he's performed creditably since, he hasn't shown enough to suggest he'll be adding this rich pot to his 2018 haul.
DANCE KING: Well behind Euchen Glen at Ayr last time and hard to fancy in this company.
MASTER CARPENTER: Won this back in 2015 and picked up valuable pot at last year's Dante meeting. Not the force of old but ran well at Sandown last week and always performs well here.
VERDICT: Fiercely competitive as ever and the draw will play a big part. Zaaki is a big player having made the race and Dash To Spice is a worthy favourite but ACROSS DUBAI and ANOTHER TOUCH are my two against the field.
The former appeals very much as one who will be suited to a test of this nature and remains open to improvement while Another Touch is handicapped to run well at a course he likes but the wide draw is a worry.