Talented horses from America, Australia, Hong Kong and Japan will converge on Ascot this week but the most fascinating prospect is Frankel, which surely has no chance of making as deep an impression as when we last saw him.
His runaway success in the 2,000 Guineas was the most amazing performance in an English Classic of my racing lifetime and the Ascot crowd will hope he can do something similar in the St James's Palace Stakes on Tuesday.
Betting at odds of 1/3 will have no appeal for most punters, even though Frankel seems a horse of rare brilliance. It should be remembered that his exertions at Newmarket may have taken a heavy toll, the effects of which may not be apparent until he is tested on a racecourse again.
Still, if he runs to his best form, he will surely provide Henry Cecil with his 73rd success at the royal jamboree. Rather than try to find something to beat him, those who like to bet at bigger odds might do better to save their pennies for Cecil's other big hope of the week, Twice Over, a 10/1 shot for the Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday.
Three times a Group One winner at this distance, Twice Over is nevertheless seen as being just short of top class, and he has certainly done nothing to shore up his reputation this year, having been stuffed in both the Dubai World Cup and the Lockinge. But he was badly drawn and got no run in the Middle East, while the drop back to a mile did not suit him at Newbury.
He has run with credit on three previous visits to Ascot, all at the royal meeting. Third in the St James's Palace Stakes in 2008, he was beaten just a length in this race in 2009 and half as far when a shade unlucky behind Byword last year. So You Think is an exciting prospect but he has not proved himself at this level in the northern hemisphere. His ability is entirely factored into his current odds of 1/2 and Twice Over is an attractive each-way alternative.
Another trainer who may have a productive week is Saeed bin Suroor. The Godolphin man could certainly do with a change of fortune, having sent out just six winners in Britain this year, while the firm's other trainer, Mahmood al-Zarooni, has had three times as many, including the 1,000 Guineas.
Delegator was one of Bin Suroor's winners when he took the Duke of York Stakes last month. It is a pity it has taken so long for connections to discover that he might be a sprinter, but this five-year-old is a solid favourite for the Golden Jubilee on Saturday, when the Derby-winning Mickael Barzalona will deputise for the suspended Frankie Dettori.
The meeting begins with a sensational clash of talent when Goldikova and Canford Cliffs meet in the Queen Anne. Canford Cliffs has a rare turn of foot but narrow victories over Dick Turpin, Rip Van Winkle and Worthadd do not amount to the same as Goldikova's achievements.
SELECTIONS -- Tuesday: 2.30 Goldikova, 3.05 Star Witness, 4.25 Bannock, 5.0 Zigato; Wednesday: 2.30 Codemaster, 3.05 Sajjhaa, 3.45 Twice Over, 4.25 Start Right, 5.0 Gypsy Robin, 5.35 Blessed Biata; Thursday: 2.30 Bannock, 3.05 Zain Al Boldan, 3.45 Duncan, 4.25 Baptist, 5.35 Brown Panther; Friday: 3.45 Nova Hawk; Saturday: 3.05 Await The Dawn, 3.45 Delegator, 4.25 Pastoral Player.
Sunday Indo Sport