Golden Horn To Win The Battle Of York
York’s Ebor Festival is almost upon us and in just a few days the Knavesmire will be jam-packed with punters and hopefully plenty summer sunshine.
As the York extravaganza draws ever closer, the racing world is spinning just a bit from the news that the Epsom Derby hero Golden Horn is going to run head on into 2000 Guineas winner Gleneagles.
A mouth-watering clash that really has set the pulse racing, it is certain to grasp the headlines between now and the opening afternoon at York.
It stands tall above anything else we have witnessed this summer in terms of two potential superstars duelling on the same turf.
Last month we had the prospect of Gleneagles and Solow staging their own version of the ‘Duel on the Downs’ at Glorious Goodwood but soft ground threw a giant-sized spanner in the works and Gleneagles stayed at home in Ireland.
It looks as though this one is going to go ahead however and do not be surprised if John Gosden’s imposing colt stamps his authority all over the Knavesmire.
The 8/11 available on Betfair about Anthony Oppenheimer’s uneaten son of Cape Cross could turn out to look like tremendous value by the time he enters the starting stalls just before 3.40pm on Wednesday.
Golden Horn is fully expected to justify his position as the world’s highest rated racehorse by winning what York proudly declares to be officially rated the best race on the planet.
Everything that we have seen from Golden Horn in four runs this season lends itself to the idea he will be too good, even for the supremely talented Gleneagles, at York.
His reappearance in the Feilden at Newmarket in April has been the only race this season where Golden Horn displayed any inkling of a weakness.
Over nine-furlongs, he was away quite slow and despite the trip being just about as sharp as he would want, came through to win the race in convincing fashion – certainly value for more than the half-length winning margin at the line.
Perhaps the key piece of form when looking ahead to Juddmonte came in the Dante at York in May.
With William Buick on board, Golden Horn assumed his regular position towards the rear of the field, as it turned out stalking his rivals from behind.
With stablemate Jack Hobbs and Racing Post trophy winner Elm Park having dominated the market, that duo settled down apparently to battle it out inside the final two furlongs.
They needn’t have bothered. Such was the authority with which Golden Horn accelerated past them entering the final furlong.
That final furlong is the one worth focusing upon as we look ahead to the Juddmonte.
Having proved at Epsom that his stamina is of no concern and later at Sandown that he is tactically versatile, the challenge for his rivals revolves around taking Golden Horn out of his comfort zone. He is also unlikely to be put off by a little give underfoot.
The Grey Gatsby very briefly threatened it in the Eclipse but in the end the race was over with half a furlong to run.
So, we’ve seen that Kevin Ryan’s Irish Champion Stakes winner is unlikely get the better of Golden Horn.
What of the others.
The presence of Gleneagles will give this race all the razzmatazz that it needs, but the inescapable fact is that Aidan O’Brien has repeatedly stated he believes the dual-Guineas winner to be a specialist-miler.
Last month’s potential clash with Solow would on that basis have been a breathtaking head-to-head with two high-class rivals meeting on their own terms.
This time the cards seem to be well and truly stacked against the son of Galileo.
Even as he confirmed Coolmore’s intention to run Gleneagles at York, the master of Ballydoyle talked of a “sporting gesture” by the owners to go to York at all.
With the best part of £100,000 on offer just for finishing third, it isn’t as if Gleneagles is going to York just for a day out.
Having never before raced beyond a mile, Gleneagles will be running into the unknown. When he passes the furlong pole he will be searching deep inside for more while Golden Horn will be full of running.
Roger Charlton’s Time Test looks to build on his win in the Tercentenary Stakes at Royal Ascot and the trainer has conceded already that it would be a thrill just to split the front two in the market.
With doubts over the ability of Gleneagles to last out, Time Test could offer plenty value to fill the forecast behind Frankie Dettori but stepping up from a Group Three win to deny Golden Horn is surely asking too much.
Every now and again something really special comes along on the flat and this summer Golden Horn has proved himself to be a cut above.
He therefore appeals as a very solid favourite to prove his brilliance one more time on British soil before going to France for what really will be the ultimate test if he tackles the brilliant mare Treve in the Arc at Longchamp.