The chief supporting race on John Smith’s Cup day at York on Saturday is the Group 3 Silver Cup (14:40), and Weekender represents red-hot trainer John Gosden.
This five-year-old Prince Khalid Abdullah owned son of Frankel was a gallant runner-up over the extended 1m 5f course and distance in the Ebor Handicap last season.
Weekender was headed approaching the final furlong, but stayed on well to go down 3 1/4 lengths.
When you consider he raced under top weight, it was a massive effort in one of the Flat season’s most valuable staying handicaps.
Weekender was then far from disgraced when third to Flag Of Honour in the Irish St Leger when giving the winner 8lb.
He was only beaten 4 1/2 lengths at The Curragh and both those runs gave the impression there were staying prizes to be won with him.
Gosden, who at the time of writing is operating at an incredible 47 per cent strike rate in the last fortnight, was allowed to keep Weekender in training.
Although below par on his final start of last season and reappearance, neither of those outings were over this trip.
Weekender got back to winning ways in a conditions contest on the all-weather at Chelmsford last time out. A revised mark of 112 makes him joint top-rated in this.
On the pick of his form, that gives Weekender leading claims of following-up here at 5/2 with Bethard
Sea The Lion the Silver Cup each-way value
He is preferred to Ian Williams runner Gold Mount, who won the Grand Cup over course and distance when previously in action.
Some highly regarded sorts disappointed in that Listed affair on the Knavesmire last month, but the Hong Kong import has nothing to fear from the re-opposing runner-up Rasheen House.
Gold Mount is still unexposed as a stayer after just two starts beyond 1m 4f. He ran well on his final start before joining Williams when fourth to Cross Counter in the 2m Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan.
At the 5/2 on offer with William Hill for Gold Mount, Weekender is preferred because of the scintillating form of Gosden’s team.
Irish raider Sea The Lion was third in the Ebor, so looks the obvious each-way choice in the Silver Cup.
The Jarlath Fahey trained son of Sea The Stars may be the oldest in the field as an eight-year-old, but notched a hat-trick of handicap successes en route to his last run at York.
Sea The Lion was just a 1 3/4 lengths behind Weekender in the Ebor and, although now meeting the runner-up on 8lb worse terms, he still retains plenty of ability.
He went down just a neck on return to action at The Curragh when trying to give War Diary a whopping 17lb in a Premier Handicap. It was a huge effort in the circumstances and after a break of 306 days.
As Sea The Lion could come on for the run, he is well worth considering each-way for the Silver Cup at 8/1 with BetVictor now back up in trip.
Poetry worth a punt in City Walls
Earlier on the card is the Listed 5f City Walls Stakes (14:05), and Poetry was unlucky not to hit the frame at Sandown seven days ago.
Trained by Michael Bell, this three-year-old Kingman filly won at this level as a juvenile over in France. She kept on strongly inside the final furlong for a 1 3/4 lengths victory at Chantilly.
Poetry was then far from disgraced when seventh in a Group 3 at Newmarket on her final start of last season.
Heavy ground was totally against her on reappearance in France, but the run when a two-length fourth in the Coral Charge is why she appeals here.
After being held-up, Poetry came with effort over a furlong out but was denied a clear run in the closing stages and missed out on the frame by a neck.
She now meets 10-year-old Capsian Prince off 2lb better terms with so little to find.
That makes Poetry a solid punt at 9/2 with Coral. She appeals more than veterans like Caspian Prince and Final Venture who aren’t open to further progress.
Given the form of Gosden’s yard, Emblazoned is respected especially on the pick of his form last season.
The four-year-old was third in both the Group 2 Sandy Lane at Haydock and Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.
Emblazoned needs to rediscover his best to justify odds of 5/1 with Betway. He was beaten on reappearance and then an eased 20 lengths last in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
Copper Knight is out to prove himself better than a handicapper for trainer Tim Easterby.
The five-year-old has a fine record at York winning two of his last three starts here, but this demands more and he’s taken on off these terms.
Oh Purple Reign can resume winning ways
Despite tackling four unraced sorts, Oh Purple Reign looks capable of giving 6lb all-round in the 6f juvenile novice median auction stakes later on the card (17:00).
The Richard Hannon trained son of Sir Prancealot won on debut in a Nottingham novice event over this trip.
Oh Purple Reign took it up approaching the final furlong and scored by three-quarters of a length from Dubai Station.
As the second, third and fourth home have all come out and won since, that gives the form a solid look.
Not only that, but the runner-up was a fine third in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Oh Purple Reign has since finished runner-up on all three subsequent starts. That does not tell the whole story, however.
Pinatubo, who proved 1 1/2 lengths too good in the valuable Woodcote Stakes on Oaks day Epsom, followed-up in impressive style in the Chesham Stakes.
That Royal Ascot form again reads well in relation to this contest. Oh Purple Reign then dropped back in trip for a conditions contest at Beverley and was beaten half-a-length when giving 4lb to the winner.
This colt ran a massive race on his handicap and all-weather debut at Chelmsford when trying to give Bettys Hope a whopping 20lb.
As Oh Purple Reign went down by just a neck, this was a huge effort. On all known form, he sets a clear standard here.
There are unknown quantities but, given the company he’s been in, Oh Purple Reign should be able to resume winning ways at 4/6 with 888Sport, now back in novice company.