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Friday 17 August 2018

Cape causes a stir with ticket for QEII

Aidan O'Brien caused a bit of a stir yesterday as Irish Champion Stakes winner Cape Blanco, who earlier in the season won the Irish Derby and beat subsequent Epsom Derby hero Workforce in a trial, appeared amongst 14 names at the six-day entry stage for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

O'Brien also has Rip Van Winkle in the race, who would have been the more expectant participant, and he remains the shorter of the two in the betting as a general 7/2 chance with most bookmakers.

Across the board, it is the Richard Hannon-trained Canford Cliffs who heads the betting.

A winner of three on the bounce now, the hat-trick started at the Curragh in the Irish 2000 Guineas and was followed up with victory in Ascot's St James's Palace Stakes and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

French Group One winner Makfi, conqueror of Goldikova last month but four and a half lengths behind Canford Cliffs prior to that at Ascot, is the second favourite for Saturday's mouth-watering Group One.

Outside of the main four market leaders, it is double figures about Poets Voice, Steinbeck, Rio De La Plata, Hearts Of Fire, Awzaan, Beethoven and Red Jazz, while between 100/1 and 250/1 are widely available for the remaining trio of Bushman, Air Chief Marshal and Windsor Palace.

Not until Ballydoyle's running arrangements are clearer will there supporters delve into the market, but Cape Blanco's surprise inclusion yesterday did have some Betfair layers in a bit of a tizzy.

An easy to back 11/1 chance on Betfair for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Cape Blanco had been laid at 99/1 to win the QEII on Saturday and he is now as low as an 8/1 chance on the exchanges website.

Betfair's Barry Orr explained; "The QEII market won't attract any serious money until Ballydoyle's running plans are more transparent, but those who have backed Cape Blanco as high as 99-1 will be hoping that he steps down in trip on Saturday, rather than back up in distance for the Arc next month."

Only eight names were put forward for Saturday's other Group One, the Meon Valley Stud Stakes for two-year-old fillies.

O'Brien's Misty For Me is the only previous Group One winner in the field after she inflicted a one-length defeat on Laughing Lashes in the Moyglare at the Curragh last month.

Misty For Me was the apparent second string of the Ballydoyle runners that day, with Together the mount of Johnny Murtagh on that occasion, and she too is amongst the octet for Saturday. Wild Wind is a third O'Brien entry and, interestingly, Hannon's chance of success lies with the somewhat famous Date With Destiny, the only offspring of George Washington.

O'Brien has four in the Group Two Royal Lodge Stakes, a race which could again set next year's 2000 Guineas market alight if Henry Cecil allows his very exciting two-year-old Frankel take his chance.

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