Hannon's big hope can guarantee centre stage for Dettori
OLYMPIC GLORY is a worthy favourite to provide Frankie Dettori with his first Group One winner in England for two years in this afternoon's JLT Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
While he is odds-on in places, there is plenty evens to be had as well, and he represents a touch of value at that. Richard Hannon's four-year-old is two-from-two first time out, with a mark of 125 putting him between seven and 18lbs clear of his seven rivals on official ratings.
He claimed his second top-level triumph in last year's QE II at Ascot in October, having previously finished second in the Jacque Le Marois and the Moulin in France.
Granted, he is a bit of a soft ground specialist, so today's good going wouldn't want to get any quicker.
However, Olympic Glory is the only horse which boasts such a pristine standard of European Group One form, so he is very hard to oppose with Dettori, no doubt, keen to show he still has the riding skills to take centre stage on a big card.
Paul Deegan's Sruthan remains unexposed, but this really is a tough step up in class, so the one unknown quantity is Ballydoyle's Verrazano.
A smart colt which won two Grade Ones in America in 2013, Aidan O'Brien's new recruit has the potential to be a fly in the ointment.
At his best when ridden quite aggressively in the States, there could be an opportunity for Joseph O'Brien to dictate affairs on him. If so, there is a chance that he could get first run on Olympic Glory, though whether he will be good enough to press home that advantage remains to be seen.
At 5/1, Verrazano at least represents a solid each-way bet with eight runners ensuring a return on a first-three finish.
Deegan also has Aussie Valentine in the preceding London Gold Cup. Successful for a second time in a row when toughing it out on its handicap bow off 85 at Tipperary, he is another of the Curragh handler's charges that could still have more to give.
Chris Hayes' mount likes to front-run and has a great attitude, but this will not be easy off a 6lbs higher mark. Windshear, representing Hannon and Richard Hughes, and Michael Stoute's Ryan Moore-ridden Cannock Chase are both going to be popular in this.
Cannock Chase certainly caught the eye in the manner that he strode clear to break his maiden in middling company at Windsor last time.
A full-brother to the dual Group-winning Royal Ascot victor Pisco Sour, he could yet prove vastly superior to his debut mark of 89.
Fellow maiden winner Satellite is another of note, but the more battle-hardened Collaboration is preferred at the foot of the page.
Trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by his gifted Killarney-born apprentice Oisin Murphy, Collaboration finished strongly when second to Windshear on soft ground at Sandown three weeks ago.
While he clearly handles testing ground, he appeared to briefly flounder when Windshear picked up with less than two furlongs to run, and the bird had flown by the time he found his feet.
There were still four and a half lengths between the two at the line, but Collaboration is 13lbs better off now when you factor in Murphy's valuable claim.
To these eyes, there wasn't that much of a gulf in class in reality, so odds of 8/1 are very fair about Collaboration turning the tables here.
In the Sprint Trophy at Newmarket, Charles Molson appeals as a cracking option at up to 12/1 for Henry Candy and Dane O'Neill.
The lightly raced gelding ran with plenty promise when keeping on for fourth over five furlongs off 91 on his return.
Charles Molson has been dropped a pound for that, but will strip fitter now and is fancied to absolutely relish this step back up to six furlongs.
Best Bet: Charles Molson
Leading Light is a justifiable 4/1 favourite for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot ahead of its comeback at Navan tomorrow.
Aidan O'Brien's St Leger victor has bundles of stamina and won the Queen's Vase there over two miles last year, so he is entitled to his place at the head of the ante-post betting. On the flip side, the Ballydoyle horses continue to be a bit hit and miss.
As outlined elsewhere in these pages, we fancy that Pale Mimosa might have his measure in tomorrow's Group Three, and odds of 20/1 about her for the two-and-a-half-mile Group One would plummet if she were to prevail.
Dermot Weld, who excels with this type of horse, has confirmed that his unexposed five-year-old is being targeted at the Gold Cup.
Significantly, Pale Mimosa had last year's heroine Estimate a length behind when a gallant fourth at Ascot in October.
Granted, Estimate might not have relished the slow ground that day, but Pale Mimosa would also have been happier on a sounder surface.
As such, when you consider that Estimate is a 6/1 shot, Weld's filly is massively overpriced.