Newmarket Academy Godolphin Beacon Project Cornwallis Stakes (Group 3) | 5f | ITV4/RUK
True Mason arguably sets the standard based on his excellent last-time-out second to Kessaar in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury, but there appears to be more substance to this Group 3 and he might need to produce an even better performance to win this.
Karl Burke is enjoying a truly magnificent season, with five-time Group 1 heroine Laurens the standard bearer, and the North Yorkshire trainer is hopeful True Mason can make the headlines this time.
Placed in Group 1 and Group 2 company on his last three starts – including when third to Pretty Pollyanna and Signora Cabello in the Prix Morny at Deauville in August – the son of Mayson fully deserves his place in the limelight.
Burke, who landed the Cornwallis with Quiet Reflection in 2015, said: “After the rain last weekend I was very happy, but since then it has dried out.
“They did have a shower on Wednesday night and any more rain would be a benefit, but he handles good ground fine.
“He seems in great form and, although he's been on the go a long time, I think he deserves to be favourite.”
Can a back-on-song Pocket Dynamo speed to victory?
Cases can be made for the likes of Aidan O’Brien’s Sergei Prokofiev, third behind Calyx and Advertise in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and the progressive Poetry, but True Mason's biggest threat could be old rival Pocket Dynamo.
Robert Cowell's representative finished one place behind True Mason in the Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte in fourth, and appears less exposed than his rival.
Cowell said: “It’s a competitive race. He hasn’t been out since France as he was quite sick. He didn’t produce great blood results, but they’ve been back to normal recently and he's a gutsy horse.
“He’s run against True Mason before and, tactically the race that day didn’t play to our strengths. He saves his best for the racecourse and I’m looking forward to seeing him run again.”
What they say
Jack Channon, assistant to Mick Channon, trainer of Barbill
He seems in great form. He’s been banging on the door in this type of race all season and we’re hoping for another good show.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Sergei Prokofiev and Fantasy
We're looking forward to dropping Sergei Prokofiev back to five furlongs. He's in good form and is a colt with a lot of speed. Fantasy didn't have much luck in running at Fairyhouse last time. She seems in good form and has won and been placed over the trip.
Bryan Smart, trainer of Armageddon
She’s in good form. She got beat in a conditions race last time but wasn’t quite right when she came back. I hope she’ll run better than she did that day.
Clive Cox, trainer of Heartwarming
She's come out of her Newbury race well and has a progressive profile. She's done well this year, but also has a bit of scope to go forward with and we’re really pleased with her.
Michael Bell, trainer of Poetry
She was a good winner of a Listed event in France and has taken that race very well. I hope she’ll be on the premises.
James Tate, trainer of Second Generation
She banged her head in the stalls last time and ran concussed – you can put a line through it. It’s the last run of her career as she’s off to stud as a Listed winner.
Johnny Murtagh, trainer of Yolo Again
We’re taking a chance. We’ve a lot to make up on ratings but there aren't too many five-furlong races for her and she deserves a chance as she’s been improving all year. She has to run well above her rating to get a bit of black type.