Third Realm could bounce back to winning ways in Gordon Stakes

Thursday: 3.00 Goodwood
John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes (Group 3) | 1m4f | 3yo | ITV/RTV

Much of the talk this summer has revolved around Godolphin colts Adayar and Hurricane Lane. Targets include the Arc and the St Leger for the Charlie Appleby-trained pair, who have reigned supreme in the three-year-old middle-distance division, but now their form will be put to the test in the Gordon Stakes.

The last horse to beat Derby and King George winner Adayar was Third Realm. The son of Sea The Stars announced himself as a major Classic contender with a comfortable length-and-a-quarter victory over Adayar in the Lingfield Derby trial in May before failing to confirm the form when finishing fifth at Epsom.

The general consensus was that he was too keen in the Derby, but his prior victory proved his glaring talent. Sure to improve with experience over this trip and likely to handle the ground and track, Third Realm has realistic claims of bouncing back to winning ways.

His form ties in nicely with Yibir, Belloccio and Sir Lucan, all of whom trailed Adayar in the Group 3 Classic Trial at Sandown in late April.

It should not be forgotten that there was a clear pace bias in that race caused by a steady early gallop on a front-runners' track.

This could explain a below-par performance from the slow-starting Sir Lucan but the fact that Adayar still ran down those rivals over an inadequate trip before going down to Third Realm speaks volumes.

Sir Lucan was last seen beating reopposing stablemate Wordsworth by a neck in the Listed Yeats Stakes. Clearly little splits the two Aidan O'Brien-trained runners, both of whom appear ready for a step up to 1m6f, but the drop back in distance may suit Wordsworth, who possesses more early speed and finished second to Hurricane Lane in the Grand Prix de Paris. A mark of 111 puts him top of the ratings.

The odd horse out is Ottoman Emperor, who has won a handicap and conditions race on his last two starts and remains thoroughly unexposed. Stamina appears to be his primary asset and he does not have too much to find on RPRs. If one horse is going to propel himself into a St Leger contender it could be him.

Varian hoping to fuel Third Realm ambitions
Punters looking to mine the rich seam of this season's Derby form may not get further than Third Realm in search for the winner of the Gordon Stakes.

Not only did he chase home Adayar and Hurricane Lane when fifth at Epsom but he beat the Derby and King George winner in the Lingfield Derby Trial.

"I thought this year's Derby was a very good race at the time and I'm pleased that has proved to be the case," said trainer Roger Varian. "At Epsom he was not far behind horses who have since run very well and his Lingfield form has also been well advertised."

Varian was keen to stress that the project with Third Realm extends well beyond Goodwood and is hoping a good run can justify loftier plans down the line.

"He is ready to run and ready to run well," said Varian. "This is the first race of the second half of his season.

"We have other options for him as the season goes on but he needs to run well to fuel those ambitions. His pedigree suggests he should get better with age."

What they say
Charlie Appleby, trainer of Yibir
We were delighted to see him get his head back in front in the Bahrain Trophy, when he travelled and stayed very well. He also ran a decent race to finish second to Lone Eagle at Goodwood earlier in the season and a repeat of his last couple of runs should make him very competitive.

David Menuisier, trainer of Belloccio
I haven't given up on him and I believe he is better than he has shown so far. It's a matter of finding the keys, he's still very tender in his attitude. When he got isolated the other day he was a bit lost and slowed down as a consequence. I have so many question marks about his last run that I want to roll the dice again. Based on his work I don't think he's out of place.

Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Wordsworth and Sir Lucan
Wordsworth is a very consistent horse. We were delighted with his run in France and he seems to have come out of the race in good shape. Sir Lucan has been given a break since he won at Navan and he's just ready to start back again. He seems to be in good form.