The Group One contest carries a first prize of more than £340,000 and has attracted a top quality field of ten participants for the six furlong dash which promises to be a hugely competitive contest.
Gold Fun makes the long journey from Hong Kong, where aside from a couple of runs in Ireland at the beginning of his career, he has exclusively plied his trade up to this point at Sha Tin racecourse, and the classy Le Vie Dei Colori gelding has proven a very smart performer in winning and placing in multiple Group contests.
Richard Gibson’s charge is fully effective over sprint trips, as well as over longer distances up to one mile, and his last win came over six furlongs when beating Peniaphobia in a Group Two at Sha Tin back in November.
Only beaten a half-length behind the same rival in the Hong Kong Sprint next time, he has finished fourth in each of his last two starts at Group One level, and he can’t be underestimated in this contest despite the ground perhaps going against him.
Holler is another globetrotting participant, hailing from John O’Shea’s Australian operation, and the Commands colt is another smart sort to run in the Godolphin blue silks.
A winner twice this year, scoring at Moonee Valley in January, and regaining the winning thread when successful in the Canterbury Stakes at Randwick two starts ago, he hasn’t raced since being beaten a short-head behind Flamberge back at Moonee Valley in the William Reid Stakes, and it is possible that he might just need this.
Soft ground is another imponderable for the Commands colt who would much prefer a quicker surface, and while the formbook gives him a decent chance it is likely that first-time blinkers will need to have a positive effect if he’s to win this prize.
The second of two Godolphin runners, Jungle Cat is tough and smart, but perhaps not quite up to this level.
Charles Appleby’s charge is no stranger to top-class opposition, often making the frame in some quality contests, and having won at Meydan in January, he produced a cracking effort in the Al Quoz Sprint when fourth to Buffering.
That was followed by good efforts behind Profitable at Newmarket in April, and here on Tuesday in the King’s Stand Stakes, finishing runner-up and fourth respectively.
Assuming that latest outing hasn’t left a mark, he can run well again back up in trip, but in all likelihood will come up short again taking on this level of opposition.
Magical Memory has been hugely progressive since scoring at Leicester last May, winning valuable handicaps at Newmarket and Goodwood, and running a blinder to finish third behind Twilight Son in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock on his final outing last term.
Charles Hill’s star has won both starts this term, winning the Abernant at Newmarket, and following up by winning the Clipper Logistics at York by a half-length from the re-opposing Suedois and a couple of others in this field.
Effective in the conditions, he remains open to improvement and looks sure to mount another bold bid.
Signs Of Blessing comes into this race as a dual-winner this term already, scoring at Chantilly on the all-weather track, and following up by winning a Listed contest at Fontainebleau when running out an easy six-length winner over Finsbury Square.
However, he saw the form of that Fontainbleau run blown apart by the same rival next time at Deauville, finishing a well-beaten fifth, and he has plenty on his plate if he’s to win this contest taking on top opposition.
Mattmu was one of those who finished behind Magical Memory, and the Phoenix Stakes winner has acquitted himself well since that success, finishing third behind Mecca’s Angel in the Nunthorpe although disappointed in the Sprint Cup at Haydock on his final start.
Only beaten a half-length on his return at Newmarket behind Magical Memory, he ran poorly at York behind the same rival and is likely to come up short again at this level taking on Charles Hills’ charge again.
Suedois was a three-time winner in France last term, and he posted a decent effort on his final start there when eights to Make Believe in the Prix de la Foret.
That was over seven furlongs, but the Le Havre gelding has proven equally effective at sprint trips and has twice finished runner-up this term at Doncaster in Listed company prior to getting to within a half-length of Magical Memory at York last time.
Conditions here are unlikely to pose an issue, and while he probably needs to progress again it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see him posting another big effort for a yard adept at getting improved form out of horses.
The Tin Man is another progressive sort, winning three of his five starts last term and producing a career-best effort when finishing fourth to the top-class Muhaarar at Ascot in the Champion Sprint on his final outing of the season.
James Fanshawe’s charge showed he had further progressed with an impressive defeat of Watchable at Windsor last month, and he could still have improvement to come.
The Equiano gelding needs to back that up stepping back up considerably in grade; however James Fanshawe isn’t one to overfaze his runners, and the decision to aim for this contest is noteworthy. He shouldn’t be far away if coping with softer ground.
TWILIGHT SON will have no issue with the conditions underfoot, and Henry Candy’s sprint star could be the one to side with in this competitive contest.
The Kyllachy colt won each of his first five starts, showing marked improvement each time from handicaps until beating Strath Burn to land the Sprint Cup at Haydock in September by a short head, with Magical Memory back in third.
Henry Candy’s charge showed plenty of determination to hold off all-comers once he got to the front, and the run catapulted him into the picture for the Champion Sprint where he found only Muhaarar too strong.
The Tin Man was back in fourth that day, and he shaped encouragingly on his return at York when seemingly needing the outing behind Magical Memory, finishing fifth under a considerate ride and he should be much sharper for the outing now.
There are few better trainers of sprint types than Candy, and the Kyllachy colt remains open to plenty of progress with that run under his belt; and a return to the sort of form that saw him win at Haydock will put him firmly in the mix.
An international field is completed by Wesley Ward’s Undrafted who took this race twelve months ago prior to posting a creditable fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint where he finished just over three lengths behind Mongolian Saturday.
The Purmin gelding has won since, coming late to beat Something Extra at Keeneland back in April in the Shakertown Stakes, and he looks sure to run well for his trainer who has turned out some really good types already over the course of the meeting.
Soft ground is a concern, with the Purim gelding having been beaten on his only prior start on this type of ground, but he nevertheless is another dangerous sort who can’t be overlooked lightly.
Plenty of likeable types go to post for what is likely to prove a very open contest, but preference is for TWILIGHT SON who developed into a very smart sprinter last term, winning five times and finding only Muhaarar too strong in the Champion Sprint in his sole defeat of the season.
Henry Candy certainly knows the time of day with his sprinters, and the Kyllachy colt can be forgiven for needing the run on his reappearance at York behind Magical Memory, whom he had earlier beaten in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
He wasn’t given a hard time in that contest, and likely to be much sharper for the reappearance, he can pick up the winning thread again with underfoot conditions no problem.