King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes
The rain continued to fall overnight at Ascot and it is particularly sticky underfoot with the official going now soft. Because of this the price on Golden Horn has drifted out to 10/11 in places. He was as low as 1/2 a couple of days ago so let's have a run through of his rivals and see if there is anything to justify this big shift in price.
Eagle Top heads the challengers to the favourite and is another of Gosden's string. He was well beaten by Snow Sky last time out at Ascot when the race was stolen from the front. He won on heavy ground as a two year old which suggests that he should at least act on the surface.
Snow Sky ran an excellent race at Ascot where Pat Smullen raced into the lead and never looked like relinquishing it as the remainder of the field waited for him to come back to them rather than chase after him. He was rather un-fancied there and it is hard to see Smullen any kind of similar lead here.
Flintshire is a dual Group 1 winner and ran a decent enough race behind two time Arc winner Treve recently. His wins include one on good to soft but nothing like they will encounter today.
Coming back to Golden Horn I think it is fair to say that if the ground was firmer then any of his challengers would do well to within a few lengths given the 12 pounds pull he has over them all except for Madame Chiang (still 9 pounds better off). However Gosden has admitted the ground is a bit of an unknown so it worries them.
I think he looks the type of horse that although he won't relish the ground, I think he will act on it well enough to show his class. It may turn out to be more of a battle than it would have, but with the huge weight allowance he's a great bet at the prices.
Tour de France
It's the final stage of the Tour de France where any time can be made up today. Tomorrow's stage is just a procession into Paris where a sprint finish will ensue.
Yesterday was the day that showed the first signs of Team Sky starting to feel the pressure of the last three gruelling weeks. One by one their riders were thrown out the back of the peloton and it left only Peols supporting Froome. Nibali was off into the distance with about a two minute lead (Froome not worried about this as Nibali was over eight minutes down overall) when Quintana attacked with 6km to go. Froome tried to go with him but Quintana is a supreme climber and managed to put thirty seconds between himself and Froome by the end.
Froome still has a lead of 2 minutes 38 seconds over Quintana so it would take a monumental effort to overturn that lead, however, it sets up this stage perfectly as there is no doubt Quintana has to attack hard and early. It remains to be seen if Froome's team mates have anything left to give after their exertions over the past three weeks, from looking at yesterday it appears not.
The famous L'alpe d'Huez is the setting for the final climb and it should be a cracker.
Ascot 14:05 Besharah - 2 points @ 13/8
Ascot 15:50 Golden Horn - 3 points @ 10/11
Tour de France stage 20 winner - Froome - 1 point @ 10/3
Treble of the above - 1 point @ 22.72