Jet Away to leave rivals in his wake
A FEW days ahead of Frankel's mission at Glorious Goodwood, Henry Cecil, Khalid Abdullah and Tom Queally can plunder some less prestigious spoils at the other end of the country in York.
Jet Away and Popular may have far more to contend with in their respective targets on the Knavesmire than Frankel, but both strike as value options.
In particular, Jet Away appeals as being generously priced at up to 6/1 in the featured Sky Bet York Stakes, a 10-furlong Group Two that is an admittedly competitive-looking contest.
Luca Cumani's Afsare has been popular in the betting, but he won his first race for two years earlier this month and there is little to suggest that he has much more up his sleeve on official ratings. Moreover, the form of that Sandown triumph has not been advertised positively since, so it's hard to make a strong case for him.
Planteur, a Group One-winner in France last year, just shaded favouritism from Afsare yesterday evening. The highest rated on duty, he is undoubtedly the one with the most prolific form, having been beaten just five and a half lengths by So You Think at Royal Ascot in June.
He was third in the Dubai World Cup and the Prix D'Isphahan prior to that, but none of his Group One form is particularly robust.
All five of the horses that divided him and So You Think, for example, have failed to win in the meantime, confirming the impression that the former Ballydoyle representative had beaten little of note that day.
Whether Jet Away will be good enough to topple Planteur remains to be seen, but there is enough about him to suggest that he is overpriced. Successful in three of his last four runs over this trip, he was unsuited by a mile and a half on soft ground at Pontefract last time, when well held in third behind the smart Brown Panther.
The son of Cape Cross has had a month to recover from that and has no more than 2lb to find with any of his 10 rivals. In a race that the same illustrious connections landed with the evergreen Twice Over last year, that is not an insurmountable task for a big, galloping sort that always gives his all.
Popular, drawn on the opposite side of the track to Jet Away in stall one, is a less exposed full-sister to Midday that also has bundles of appeal off a low weight in the opening fillies' handicap over the same trip.
Godolphin's Anjaz is out to maintain her unbeaten record on her seasonal reappearance in this, while Cumani is represented by Hippy Hippy Shake, a ready Salisbury winner last time.
However, Hippy Hippy Shake merely franked Popular's credentials there, as Cecil's filly had beaten her into second when losing her maiden tag at Lingfield in June.
Granted, Hippy Hippy Shake improved for her debut, but she faces her conqueror off 4lb worse terms now, so the balance of probability points Popular's way.
In the big handicap, the six-furlong Dash, Swiss Cross can outrun odds of 16/1. A fast-ground specialist that won a couple of decent handicaps last year, the Phil McEntee-trained five-year-old's form tailed off at the end of the season.
This year, Swiss Cross ran really well at Epsom on both the first and most recent of four starts, the only times that he got quick ground all year. His mark has dropped to within 2lb of the 92 that he last won off, and the form of his latest second was franked when the third home, Taajub, landed a valuable handicap at Ascot last week, so Frankie Dettori should be thereabouts on him from a potentially favourable inside draw.
With no domestic Flat action ahead of Galway, David Wachman takes Mironica to Ascot on a retrieval mission following her indifferent effort there in the five-furlong Queen Mary last month. Back over the six furlongs that she landed her debut over at Naas in the Juddmonte Stakes, she has the scope to leave that run behind for Wayne Lordan.
Best Bet: Jet Away