Ten Sovereigns was ultra-impressive when scoring last time out and looks a worthy 6/4 market leader with Betfair with follow-up in the 6f feature contest on day three of the Ebor Festival at York this Friday, the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes (15:35).
This Aidan O’Brien trained three-year-old looked a potential superstar when winning all three of his starts as a juvenile.
The last of those successes came in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes over 6f, where he showed bags of speed before quickening smartly to cosily beat Jash by half-a-length.
It was a performance which oozed class and had connections dreaming of 2000 Guineas glory for the son of No Nay Never.
The big question mark was whether he would have the stamina for the Rowley Mile Classic at Newmarket, as on breeding it was highly questionable.
That didn’t prevent Ten Sovereigns being sent off a well-backed 9/4 favourite and, although far from disgraced in finishing a 4 3/4 lengths fifth of 19 to stable companion Magna Grecia, it was clear that he failed to get the trip.
It’s fair to say that he was then disappointing when dropped back to 6f and finished only fourth in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot.
Scintillating in July Cup
However, he was subsequently reported to be burning up the gallops at home and landed a massive gamble in style when back at Newmarket last month in the Group 1 July Cup.
Ten Sovereigns made virtually all down the centre of the track and showed a devastating turn of foot to easily beat Advertise by 2 3/4 lengths. In doing so, he clocked rapid sectionals and won the race in a very fast time.
It was a simply scintillating performance and earned Ten Sovereigns, who is now the highest-rated horse in Ireland, a Racing Post Rating of 125.
That has been topped only twice in the July Cup this century. One of those was Oasis Dream (128) who went on to land the Nunthorpe in sensational style.
A repeat of his run in the July Cup should be more than good enough to see Ten Sovereigns do exactly the same. He’s thus the one to be on in this renewal of the Nunthorpe Stakes.
Battaash course form and past Nunthorpe Stakes performances a concern
Battaash is officially the highest rated in the 12-runner line-up and, according to the betting, the main rival to Ten Sovereigns.
This Charlie Hills trained five-year-old has a tremendous strike rate of 50 per cent having won nine of his 18 starts.
He enjoyed his finest hour when putting an awesome display to make all and easily beat Marsha by four lengths in the 2017 Prix de l’Abbaye at Chantilly. The son of Dark Angel also put in some fine performances last season.
Battaash finished a 1 1/2 lengths runner-up to Blue Point in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, before eased in grade and landing the Group 2 King George Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in runaway style by four lengths from Take Cover in almost track record time.
He also looked as good as ever on seasonal reappearance when landing the Temple Stakes by an easy 2 1/2 lengths at Haydock.
Battaash then backed that up with a solid 1 1/2 lengths second to old rival Blue Point in the King’s Stand back at Royal Ascot.
Although again resuming winning ways last time out when defending his King George Stakes crown at Goodwood for a record-breaking third time, he was far from impressive in beating Houtzen by just three-quarters of a length.
The runner-up was rated 15lb inferior, so it was an underwhelming and workmanlike performance for Battaash.
It makes him look opposable at odds of 5/2 with Betfred, especially as he’s failed to make the frame in the last two Nunthorpe Stakes renewals.
Battaash doesn’t seem to be in love with the Knavesmire, and tends to get worked up and boil over before the start. He simply can’t afford to do that against a top notch rival like Ten Sovereigns.
Mabs Cross a solid each-way contender
The Michael Dods trained Mabs Cross ran a stormer in this 12 months ago when beaten the width of a cigarette paper by Alpha Delphini, so she looks sure to make a bold bid to go one better.
This five-year-old filly is a really likeable tough and consistent performer who has won seven of her 16 starts and also made the frame on four other occasions.
The daughter of Dutch Art ran extremely well in last year’s King’s Stand Stakes when a keeping on on two-length third to Blue Point – finishing just a neck behind the runner-up Battaash.
Mabs Cross went on to land the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp on her final start of the campaign when beating Gold Vibe by a head.
She comes into this year’s renewal of the Nunthorpe Stakes on the back of three top class efforts which suggest she remains a force to be reckoned with.
After winning the Palace House for a second time on seasonal reappearance, Mabs Cross finished a solid 3 1/4 lengths third to Battaash in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock.
She had to give 2lb to Battaash that day on a track which doesn’t play to her strengths, but now meets the winner on 3lb better terms .
Mabs Cross also ran well last time out when a keeping on 2 3/4 lengths fourth to Blue Point in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and has since been given a break to freshen up for this.
That is a big plus and crack French jockey Gerald Mosse now takes over in the saddle.
So, at odds of 5/1 with BetVictor, Mabs Cross looks a solid each-way contender and thus completes this Nunthorpe Stakes betting tips preview.