Destiny to turn fortunes around
On a busy afternoon that also features the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, the John Smith's Yorkshire Cup is the most challenging betting heat on offer.
A final field of 20 is set to go to post for York's prestigious 10-furlong handicap, with the hat-trick-seeking Pekan Star a clear 4/1 favourite. Successful over course and distance on his latest start in May, Roger Varian's colt is undoubtedly progressive, and he gets in here off a favourable 8st 9lb despite going up 10lbs in the ratings.
Nonetheless, he is very short in the betting for a race of this nature.
Of the remaining contenders, a few appeal as live each-way prospects at the very least.
Constant Contact, Tepmokea and Green Destiny are three to focus on. Tepmokea is an outsider at 20/1, having won his last two races -- both at York -- over 12 furlongs.
That he has been passed over by Richard Fahey's stable jockey Paul Hanagan might also be a negative, but Tepmokea showed some smart form over this trip last term, and is clearly at the top of his game. He isn't without a chance of making the frame.
Constant Contact has similar appeal for a place at up to 16/1. A relatively lightly-raced four-year-old having its 10th start, Andrew Balding's charge left two poor late-season runs behind to finish second and then win on his only outings this term. With a three-pound claimer up, he should give a good account again.
However, Green Destiny, also partnered by an apprentice in Adam Beschizza, is taken as the likeliest winner of the valuable prize.
William Haggas' Marju gelding was impressive when collecting for a third time on the bounce on his seasonal debut at Newmarket in April, but then disappointed when a strong favourite to follow up in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He must now turn the form around with Beachfire and Lost In The Moment -- first and second in that race -- but he is eight pounds better off with both today. Given that he endured a desperately rough passage that must have contributed to his poor show at Ascot, 8/1 is a generous offering about this smart sort getting back on track.
Another that could prove overpriced is Dream Ahead in the day's Group One at Newmarket. The six-furlong July Cup has the makings of one of the sprint highlights of the year, with an assortment of top-class horses among the 17 runners.
Delegator heads the market, but the Godolphin representative has often come up short at the highest level. After two commendable efforts at Ascot, the Australian raider Star Witness deserves respect, while the unexposed Elzaam is another to consider.
Dream Ahead, though, is a horse with proven class. He was a dual Group One winner over six furlongs as a juvenile, and you couldn't knock his encouraging fifth to Frankel at Ascot on his reappearance.
Now that he returns to this trip, there is a real possibility that he could provide Hayley Turner with a landmark triumph. With any further rain sure to suit, 10/1 is too big.
In the big handicap at Newmarket, the 32Red Bunbury Cup, Excellent Guest is taken to gain a measure of revenge on his Ascot conqueror Manassas. When the pair met in the Buckingham Palace Stakes, the latter prevailed by a length, but Excellent Guest is two pounds better off now, so the 12/1 that can be had about him is attractive.
A competitive mile handicap later on the card sees Michael Stoute's impressive Yarmouth winner Albaasil bid to enhance his reputation. While the Dansili colt is clearly talented, William Haggas' Anoint is preferred here on the back of a promising handicap debut when second at Sandown in June.
Best Bet: Dream Ahead