It’s a very good card on the Friday, arguably the best card of the week class wise with three Group races, plus naturally a couple of handicaps to cause punters some headaches. I have stuck to the Group races for my three Friday bets.
At 2.15 we have the 2m½f Group Two Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes. Nayef Road won’t have Stradivarius sauntering passed him in the final furlong here and will have a great chance off the front. He has been beating some decent horses if you take the Champ out of the equation and can get a well-deserved victory here following to gallant second place finishes. I have the 5-2. I have never been convinced about Dashing Willoughby over the longer trip and he was wandering about and hanging even when he won the G.3 at Sandown last time. Enbihaar won the 1m6f G.2 Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood last time but that was hardly a deep contest (also won it in 2019). Even though she gets the 3lb I just feel the selection might prove too strong in the finish especially if Atzeni makes it a proper two-mile-half-a-furlong test and I would expect to see him turn on the taps a fair way out down this long home straight.
They face six furlongs at 2.45 for the Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Gimcrack Stakes for two-year-old Colts & Geldings. Mohawk King had Minzaal behind at Ascot in July though the Hamdam Al Maktoum colt did find plenty of trouble in running. Both could prove decent, Minzaal subsequently won at Salisbury comfortably, but this is a big step-up on anything they have done in their short careers so far. Connections of Yazaman must be sick to have come up against Tactical, twice, and Supremacy last time since his debut Yarmouth win. Both were entered to run here but neither do. The Haggas trained son of Kodiac has been mixing it with some of the best two-year-olds we have seen thus far in 2020 and is expected to get a well-deserved first Pattern win in this. The two that have beaten him both feature in the early ante-post price for next year's 2,000 Guineas and the form from the races look solid. I was surprised to see 9-2 about and took it.
The main event Friday is the Group One 5f Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at 3.15. Battaash will be all the rage again but as I have said before I will not back him odds-on as I am sure he will blow-up and get beat and silly odds at some point this season, he just always does. Norfolk Stakes second Golden Pal was going to be my each-way punt but that one will run at Saratoga next rather than here in the UK. That leaves A’Ali or Art Power as the obvious ones to try and take the jolly on with. Art Power is, perhaps, the biggest rising star in the division having won a six-furlong Novice at Newcastle he has gone on to impressive victories in a 5f Handicap at Royal Ascot and last time over 6f in a G.3 at Naas winning under no more than hands and heels encouragement. He remains lightly raced and could well have more to offer yet connections having taken it slowly with him. He is a member of the Dirty Dozen but I think six furlongs is his strength. A'Ali is a four-time winner at Group Two level, including last month in Ireland, and certainly looks a potential G.1 winner in waiting. I have plumped for the Team Crisford trained three-year-old each-way at 8-1 as I think he is perhaps the better suited to the real test of speed this five furlongs will be.