Friday’s one-mile contest has an illustrious roll of honour, with the brilliant Shergar (1980), subsequent Arc hero Rainbow Quest (1983) and multiple Group One winner Nayef (2000) among those to have landed this prize on their way to bigger and better things.
Cape Palace looked every inch a top-class juvenile in the making when justifying odds-on favouritism with an eight-length victory at Newcastle three weeks ago – just hours after his similarly-named stablemate Palace Pier had impressed at Sandown.
Palace Pier further enhanced his reputation with a second facile win at Sandown on Wednesday – and Cape Palace, a son of Golden Horn, bids to follow suit two days later for the formidable combination of John Gosden and Frankie Dettori.
Against him, Richard Hannon saddles course scorer Man Of The Night – fourth in the Listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury on his second start.
The three other juveniles who have already managed to get their heads in front are Clive Cox’s It’s Good To Laugh and Tritonic – both winners at Ffos Las – and Hugo Palmer’s Kempton victor Acquitted.
Palmer said: “He’s a very nice horse. He’s very much next year’s horse – but his work at home has been good, and it was no surprise to see him win on debut.
“I was a bit disappointed to see the second horse (Byzantine Empire) finish out the back at Sandown the other day, but I’m not too worried about that.
“John Gosden’s horse grabbed the headlines after winning by eight lengths at Newcastle, but we don’t know how strong that form is either.
“He is a worthy favourite, but I have always liked our horse and I hope he’s going forward.”
Nayef is one of a record five previous winners of the race for trainer Marcus Tregoning – and this year he is represented by Raatea, who was third behind the aforementioned It’s Good To Laugh at Ffos Las on his only start to date.
“He’s a nice horse, who ran very well on debut, and I hope he’s come forward from that,” said Tregoning.
“Hopefully he’ll run well, but this does look a very hot race – on paper at least.”
Roger Charlton’s Code Of Conduct will carry the colours of the Queen on debut, while George Baker’s Dyami and Sword Beach from Eve Johnson Houghton’s yard complete the field.
The most valuable event of the afternoon is the Dubai Duty Free Cup, which sees Cox’s Salute The Soldier and Hannon’s Tabarrak do battle for the third race in succession.
Salute The Soldier beat Tabarrak by a neck in a valuable handicap at Goodwood last month, and again at Ascot a fortnight ago, but the latter is significantly better off at the weights in this Listed event.
Angus Gold, racing manager to Tabarrak’s owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: “He’s a lovely horse, bless him. He’s been such a good servant, and I would love to see him get another win to his name.
“He’s been running really well in defeat. If they were all as genuine as him it would be a lot easier.”
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