Kingston Hill Back With A Bang At Ebor
Great Voltigeur Stakes
York’s four-day Ebor meeting gets underway with a bang in front of the Channel 4 cameras on Wednesday courtesy of the Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes for colts and geldings (3.05).
Currently heading the market at 6/4 is Roger Varian’s, Kingston Hill, who ran an absolute belter when just over 1l behind Australia in the Epsom Derby (1m4f, good). He was then given too much to do when finishing strongly in the Eclipse last month (1m2f, good to firm), but will enjoy this step back up to 1m4f.
Kingston Hill’s second the Australia in the Derby is the best form on offer, and he could gain a deserved first win of the season dropped to a Group 2 here.
O’Brien will look to get Kington Hill beat with his unexposed, Granddukeoftuscany (6/1), who has only a 1m4f maiden to his name (won by 19l). This 3yo colt has obviously been slow in coming to hand, but O’Brien must rate him very highly by pitching him in at this level, and it will be interesting what the market does ahead of race time.
Elsewhere, Mark Johnston’s, Hartnell (5/1), is an in-form sort who improved to land a listed event over 2m at Royal Ascot, before Group 3 success at newmarket last month (1m5f, good to firm). The concern is that he may find 1m4f here too sharp, but there is a chance this 3yo colt could set off in front to make it a test – as so many from this yard like to do.
If there is a good pace, then Luca Cumani’s 3yo, Postponed (7/1), will relish every yard, having stayed on strongly to win a 1m3f Listed race at Hamilton last month (1m3f, good to firm).
Sir Michael Stoute also won this several times since 2004, and his Snow Sky (7/1) arrives in fine fettle having won the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood last month (1m4f, good to firm) – a race that used to be a good guide to this race; Observational was beaten over 5l.
John Gosden has won this race three times in the last 10 years, and runs Marzocco (14/1), who was 2l behind Hartnell at Ascot (2m, good to firm), prior to a 5l fifth in a French Group 1. First-time blinkers are applied here, but the overall view is that third place would be the best result.
Of the last 10 Great Voltigeur Stakes winners…
9 returned 8/1 or shorter
9 were fifth or better last time
9 yet to win over 1m4f
9 had a 26-75-day break
Up from Group 3 last time just 1-30
Curragh, Newmarket & York last time 6-21; Goodwood last time 0-16
Sir Michael Stoute and John Gosden three winners apiece
Kingston Hill has the perfect profile having yet to win over 1m4f and can reward favourite backers.