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Great Voltigeur Stakes preview

Classic generation mid-distance races are a feature of the May and August York Festivals. At this end of the season it's the Great Voltigeur. Stepping in to analyse the field is Darren Goodbody, @DarrenPGoodbody.

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Betway Great Voltigeur Stakes
Group 2, 3yo C&G
£160k, 1m4f
1505 local, 0005 AEST


On Wednesday we will see the 65th running of the Great Voltigeur, the race was named after Derby and St Leger winner Voltigeur and has become over the years a guideline for the St Leger later next month.

First inaugurated back in 1950 there have been some great names to land the race, names like Youmzain who was probably one of the unluckiest horse to run in the Arc finishing runner-up on three occasions to the likes of Dylan Thomas, Zarkava and Sea The Stars. Other winners to grace the race were Pentire, Sea Moon, Dushyantor and last year's winner Postponed who went on to win this years King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot.

Seven go to post this year and the betting is extremely tight, with the current favorite being William Haggas's Storm the Stars. Since finishing runner-up to Golden Horn as a juvenile his transition has been pleasing, running big races taking his earnings almost past the half a million barrier. With two wins this season under his belt, one being the Listed Cocked Hat Stakes at Goodwood back in May, he has handled the hype considerably well with placed runs in the Epsom Derby behind Golden Horn once more and ran well again behind Jack Hobbs in the Irish equivalent.

His run back in July when venturing over to Longchamp in the Grand Prix de Paris was disappointing for me, even though the unbeaten Erupt is a good yardstick who had already beaten Big Blue this year and that form was boosted when Big Blue came out and won the Prix Michel Houyvet at Deauville last weekend. He seemed to get caught very flat-footed two out, but stayed on and just prevailed third.

Storm the Stars probably looking back at all of his runs in 2015 he deserves to be at the head of the market and will be another big day for jockey Pat Cosgrave who landed his first Group race for three years guiding Besharah home to win the Princess Margaret Stakes at Goodwood last month.

Ballydoyle have sent over three entries for the race, Aloft, Bondi Beach and the upper coming Giovanni Canaletto. Firstly I like to preview the Queen's Vase winner Aloft. He has already beaten Storm the Stars as a juvenile when landing his maiden at Newmarket to a margin of a neck, since then he has been stepped up to middle distances which has seen him finishing runner up to Elm Park in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy and more recently this year winning the Queen's Vase over two miles. Never finishing out the first two on all four career starts he comes into this as the interesting one for Aidan O'Brien, but looking on jockey bookings he could be the pacemaker of the three.

Bondi Beach is another that got is career off to a good start when winning his maiden at Leopardstown and has gone onto land the Group 3 Curragh Cup. He would probably won a shade cosily than the short head win when the rider lost his whip over a furlong from home, he is one of three entries by Galileo, he has to be feared now the heavens have opened, already a winner on dead ground this year and looks to like a bit of cut underneath he could run a big race under recent Secretariat winning jockey Seamus Heffernan.

On to the more interesting one of Ballydoyle's entries Giovanni Canaletto, they have been extremely patient with him and won't mind so give under foot here. He has contended the likes Gallinule Stakes when behind Curvy, who went on to win the Ribblesdale Stakes before running below par in the Irish Oaks. He has adapted himself well enough in two Derbys finishing behind Storm the Stars in Ireland. He looks a quirky sort with a lot of talent and if the rain gets into the ground he is going to be a major player with Joseph choosing over the other two entries is interesting.

Two that are shorter than I expected in the betting is Richard Hannon's Tashaar and David Simcock's Balios.

Jamie Spencer rides the latter after losing the Beverley D Stakes on Secret Gesture at Arlington in the stewards room in a very questionable decision. Balios beat Mr Singh in the Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes at the Royal meeting, who has won the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy at Chester. The last run came in the Grand Prix de Paris when finishing behind Erupt, Storm the Stars was two lengths in front of him that day. He did not run badly as the fifth suggests and I can see why he is as short as 4/1 in the market. He is entered in the St Leger which could be a staying race right up his street, as for this race a good run will get him there. As the winner of this race I just cannot see it.

Tashaar represents Richard Hannon, the unbeaten son of Sea The Stars who is just one of two entries for the sire with the other being Storm the Stars comes here with two wins from two starts, his last run saw him pick up handicap stakes win at Goodwood in good style when beating Rhythmical by one and a half lengths, that form is looking really good as he took the scalp of recent Shergar Cup winner Shell Bay, but as i am not a fan of the Shergar Cup weekend i cannot use that as form. He has been hit with a 12lb penalty to get into this, and will be attempting black type company for the first time.

David Barron's Medrano has been on the go more than most of these, already beaten by Storm the Stars this year in the Cocked Ht Stakes to two lengths he will have to step up once more since his win in the Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton last month. His last run saw him finish just over four lengths behind recent runaway winner of the Secretariat Stakes Highland Reel in the Gordon Stakes and he looks another one that will relish a step up in trip, he gets a quote of 25/1 for the St Leger and looks a nice stayer for next year.

With all the previews aside, this is a tough race but STORM THE STARS has been doing everything right this season to suggest that this a race that he can win for William Haggas. It has been eleven years since an Irish winner landed this race which was Aidan O'Brien with Powerscourt back in 2003 who finished his career off when winning the Arlington Million.

Richard Hannon is looking to land this race for the first time and Tashaar probably looks one for next season and is not entered in the St Leger at present. With Aloft looking to be the out and out stayer in the race he looks the obvious pace setter for the other O'Brien entries, and it would be no surprise to be fair to them all that Bondi Beach runs the better, with Giovanni Canaletto wanting softer ground and if getting it could be the surprise package.

STORM THE STARS : 2pt win @ 3/1 (with most firms)

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