ASKAR TAU can see off Drill Sergeant once again following his Lonsdale Cup win at York. Geordieland's preparations this year has been interrupted but he is still likely to be the major opposition. Marcus Tregoning has a good record when putting headgear on a horse for the first time and that was further enhanced when a visor was tried on Askar Tau at York. Although he raced somewhat lazily, he responded well to his rider's urgings when coming off the bridle and he was well on top at the line. The longer trip today will be no bother to this strong stayer and a second Group Two success awaits. Geordieland is likely to be the favourite, and rightly so. He was last seen in the Ascot Gold Cup behind the heroic Yeats and it must be said that he was disappointing that day. He was due to head to York but suffered an injury and this strong traveller will need to prove once again that his new-found willingness to win this season is still around. He was second in this race in 2007 and connections will be hoping he goes one better this year. Deutschland ran a blinder in the Ebor but this is a step up in class and so far this useful dual-performer can only be described as a very good handicapper although he is still open to improvement. Doubts about Drill Sergeant lasting home over this trip are too strong to ignore, while Victoria Montoya's level of form is below what is needed to win this. Darley Sun takes a big step up in class following a demolition job in a competitive Ascot handicap back in July.
Askar Tau (FR) 5-2 (9-1) Slowly into stride, held up in last, pushed along over 4f out, headway when bumped over 3f out, led just over 1f out, stayed on well, won at York 2m stks (1) gf in Aug beating Drill Sergeant (9-1) by 1 1/4l, 5 ran.
Geordieland (FR) 11-4 (9-2) Held up in last trio, headway and switched left to outside 2f out, went modest 3rd over 1f out, well beaten when hung right final furlong, 3rd of 9, 19l behind Yeats (9-2) at Royal Ascot 2m 4f Grp 1 (1) gf in Jun.
Deutschland (USA) 14-1 (9-5) Mid-division, headway over 4f out, pushed along over 3f out, not clear run inside final furlong, never able to challenge, soon beaten, 8th of 19, 2 1/2l behind Sesenta (8-8) at York 1m 6f hcp (2) gf in Aug.
Drill Sergeant 15-8fav (9-1) Led 1f, tracked leader, led narrowly 7f out, ridden and headed over 2f out, battled gamely to take 2nd inside final furlong, no impression on winner, 2nd of 5, 1 1/4l behind Askar Tau (9-1) at York 2m stks (1) gf in Aug.
Victoria Montoya 10-1 (9-2) Led early, settled 3rd, went 2nd 8f out, led over 4f out, stayed on gamely and kept narrow advantage when pressed from over 2f out until headed and outpaced by winner last half furlong, 2nd of 7, 3l behind Mourilyan (9-7) at Goodwood 1m 6f Listed stks gd in Aug.
Darley Sun (IRE) 3-1 (8-2) Chased leaders, went 2nd 12f out, led 2f out, ridden clear, stayed on strongly and driven right out, won at Ascot 2m hcp 0-100 (2) gd in Jul beating Alanbrooke (9-1) by 10l, 6 ran.