I take my Ascot top hat off to you if you are still reading my offerings after a chastening two days!
We are not even halfway through the week and now the big question is can Order Of St George "do a Kayf Tara" and regain his Gold Cup crown? I am not sure he can.
Certainly, the 2016 winner has warmed up looking as good as ever this term with wins at Navan and Leopardstown. He had been beaten at Navan last season (by Torcedor) en route to his gallant and narrow defeat by Big Orange.
"George" is clearly in tip-top order but I feel that he may come off second best again in what promises to be another rousing battle, this time with Stradivarius.
John Gosden’s colt has faced Aidan O’Brien’s horse before of course – on this course over two miles in soft ground last October. Order Of St George won it by half a length from Torcedor with Stradivarius another half a length behind in third and Mount Moriah in fourth.
Both Stradivarius and Order Of St George had gone into that race after fine efforts in the St Leger (third to Capri) and Arc (fourth to Enable) but conditions are on the quick side this time and that might favour Frankie Dettori’s mount.
Stradivarius certainly looked good when beating Desert Skyline in the Yorkshire Cup on good to firm, will probably have some more improvement in him and is taken to shade it.
The day starts with a real speed test for the youngsters in a wide open Norfolk Stakes and after Chelsea Cloisters failing to land a blow on Wednesday, I am happy to just watch her stablemate and fellow filly Shang Shang Shang.
Vintage Brut won the National Stakes in a tight finish from Konchek in third and Kinks, who had no run at all and finished on the bridle, in sixth. There isn't much between those three, it would seem.
Glory Fighter looked a real pro with the way he came home an all-the-way winner at Lingfield (good to firm) beating Soldier’s Call who has hacked up since. He hit the line strongly and clocked a record time for two-year-olds – a very similar time to the useful four-year-old Rebecca Rocks who carried 2lb less just over half an hour later.
The Paddocks and Charming Kid looked nice prospects on their debuts but Glory Fighter is a worthy each-way shot.
The Hampton Court Stakes is full of potential and Vintager’s third to Without Parole at Sandown got a major boost on Tuesday. I am not sure he is good enough to take this, however, with Hunting Horn and Key Victory in the line-up.
The pair were sixth and eighth respectively in the French Derby and Hunting Horn had the worst of the draw, too.
However, that was on soft ground and Key Victory had shown a decent turn of foot before on a quicker surface, so he is just preferred.
In the Ribblesdale Stakes, Wild Illusion, fourth in the 1,000 Guineas and runner-up in the Oaks, sets a decent standard and she also showed at Newmarket that she handles fast ground.
She will take some beating but Perfect Clarity didn’t handle the soft ground at Epsom and is expected to get much closer on this sounder surface as she is well regarded by Clive Cox.
And what about the beautifully bred Sun Maiden? The daughter of Frankel and half sister to Midday absolutely hacked up by 12 lengths at Salisbury (good to firm) over ten furlongs and can only be better over this trip. Intriguing.
Meanwhile, Cox can expect to go close with Crack On Crack On in the Britannia handicap after the colt showed a fine turn of foot to win a decent handicap at Haydock from Completion, who is 3lb better off.
Crack On Crack On has not been missed in the market but at least he is drawn in the middle and that takes away some uncertainty.
George Of Hearts finished off well against Society Power (runner-up in the Jersey) over seven furlongs on this course last time but he is drawn on the stands’ side and who knows which side is best. Jamie Spencer replaces Shane Kelly (who goes to Chelmsford), which seems strange.
The King George V Handicap looks near impossible but Occupy was not disgraced when third behind two King Edward VII Stakes runners at Nottingham last time. He is unexposed, well drawn, sure to be suited by the longer trip and is 25/1 with Sky Bet.
2.30 GLORY FIGHTER (EW)
3.05 KEY VICTORY
3.40 WILD ILLUSION
5.00 CRACK ON CRACK ON
5.35 OCCUPY (EW)