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Melrose Stakes preview

Plenty of quality racing to finish off the Ebor, including three staying races. Jack Milner, @JJMSports, returns to preview the 3yo distance contest.

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Melrose Stakes (Handicap)

The 2.30 at York on Ebor day is an absolute crackerjack of a race, and the very fact there are only three geldings, as opposed to thirteen colts shows that there is a lot of untapped talent, with the calibre of unexposed possible group horses being potentially extremely good.

Gospel Choir heads the weights running off 98, and is up 8lb for a defeat of Sir Graham Wade last time out at Haydock, who is dealt a similarly 4lb hike, and 17lb overall for his last three runs. Gospel Choir received what I like to call ‘the Ryan Moore treatment’ last time out to win, and the rise seems steep. Similarly with Sir Graham Wade, the handicapper seems to have now caught up with Mark Johnston’s charge.

Guarantee has only three runs to his name, stepping up from a second on debut to win a mile and a half maiden and a handicap in similarly facile manner and the step up to a mile and six furlongs should suit the Authorized colt. The step up should similarly help Biographer for David Lanigan and Ted Durcan, who will be looking to make amends for Main Sequence’s narrow defeat in The Great Voltigeur. He stayed on well over a mile and five furlongs to come home strongly and finish second at Lingfield, and was game late on to win over a mile and half at Ffos Las, commanding late on to win well. Up 7lb, he could still be a threat.

Gabrial the Great, Rule Book and Beyond Conceit are all colts with inconsistent form this year, although have shown glimpses. Gabrial The Great loves the soft ground, Rule Book looks to be have weighted to high heavens, similarly Beyond Conceit, who was last seen chasing home Suraj before he flopped at York.

Monshak is an unexposed sort for Sir Michael Stoute, and the Monsun filly won well over the trip at Chester last time out, but the fact she has raced exclusively on heavy ground shows that she is a precocious filly. As is Ace of Valhalla for Sir Henry Cecil, who is doubtful to even run, but would not like the good going.

Cardinal Walter is a Cape Cross colt for Mrs Fitri Hay and the in form David Simcock stable, and is up 2lb for giving Sir Graham Wade 4lb at Goodwood, and is now weighted to reverse the placings. That could still give him work to do, although he did stay on to take third, and the step up in trip should suit. As it should with Future Security for Godolphin and SDS in the plate, who stayed on well to win over the extended 10 furlongs last time out at Bath. That was his first run of the season, and the Dalakhani colt is entitled to come on for the run, he is a potential sleeper. Gabrial’s Star is like many in terms of trying the mile and three quarters for the first time, stepping down from previously being upped to two miles last time out, but a 9lb rise for a second place finish, seems harsher than harsh.

Mysterious Man shed the maiden tag at the fifth attempt and an opening mark of 83 seems plenty stiff against horses with are less exposed and have stronger possibilities. Courtesy Call has been on the go since March, and although coming into a rich vein of form lately in lesser company, a long season and up 24lb since his run of 11211 back in May, looks to have seen the weights catch up with him, in the same manner that the Christmas and New Year period does with my waistline.

Cockney Sparrow was last seen finishing sixth in the soft ground at Chester in The Cheshire Oaks, and that form has worked out beyond dire, and a mark of 81 looks daylight robbery. As are the marks for the three at the bottom of the weights in Daneking, Choisan and Flashman, who have form patchier than a tramp's satchel, and are up against it against some potential and eventual group winners towards the top of the weights.

So there we have it, a field of eighteen, seventeen if Ace of Valhalla stays home, an excellent race, and some potential Ebor horses in there for next year. Gospel Choir is the favourite on merit, completing the hatrick last time out, but yet another hike could have finally got to him, and he was fortunate to get Ryan Moore on him when he is in ‘will not die’ frame of mind. Sir Graham Wade chased him home, and has been raised, and Cardinal Water chased him home prior at Goodwood, although he is the most lightly treated at the weights. Gospel Choir’s stablemate Monshak would need the rain to come, and for it to come as should Gabrial the Great, Rule Book and Ace of Valhalla. Andrew Balding’s Mysterious Man and Peter Chapple-Hyam’s Cockney Sparrow are still lumbered with stiff opening marks and Daneking, Choisan and Flashman towards the bottom of the pile are up against much classier and stoutly bred rivals. Future Security has a lot more potential than he has yet to show, and he could be a massive dark horses, but the fact L Dettori isn’t in the plate is a head scratcher.

The two I expect to be fighting out the finish are the two unexposed colts of BIOGRAPHER and GUARANTEE, with the latter just edging it. Biographer has been hinting that a mile and three quarters could be his optimum trip, but the manner of Guarantee’s maiden and handicap wins are still etched in my memory. I backed him for his maiden win, and he was green and struggled until the last furlong and a half when really motoring late on. He made a mockery of his opening mark, dotting up by four lengths, and although incurring an 8lb rise, he is going the right way, and will have outstanding claims if fulfilling potential.

Guarantee Biographer Cardinal Walter Gospel Choir

The Yorkshireman – Jack Milner - @JJMSports

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