Exosphere: a disappointing favourite in the Hardwicke Stakes
PICTURE: Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
By Keith Melrose 11:24AM 5 JUL 2016
EXOSPHERE, a disappointing favourite lost in the drama of Dartmouth’s Hardwicke Stakes victory, will bid to make amends in the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes on the first day of Newmarket’s July festival on Thursday.
A stablemate of Dartmouth, Exosphere had progressed from handicaps last year to win the Jockey Club Stakes on the Rowley Mile in April, but having been sent off the 6-4 favourite at Royal Ascot could finish only eighth of nine.
His main market rival in the Princess Of Wales’s, for which he was 9-4 favourite with Paddy Power immediately after declarations on Tuesday, is Second Step at 7-2.
He too is on a recovery mission after failing to justify favouritism in the Yorkshire Cup – where his stamina appeared to give out – and then was unable to live with Postponed in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
The field is completed by Battersea, Big Orange, Elite Army, Muntazah and Group 1-winner The Grey Gatsby.
Mehmas looks to go one better
The other Group 2 contest on Thursday’s Newmarket card is the Arqana July Stakes, in which Coventry Stakes runner-up Mehmas is favourite to go one better without Caravaggio standing in his path.
Mehmas left a good impression when winning at Chester and Newbury before second-placed finishes at Sandown and Royal Ascot.
Chief rival Ardad managed a win at Ascot last month, albeit in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes over 5f. His convincing victory suggested that neither this grade nor stamina will prove his undoing and he is 11-4 second-favourite, with Mehmas 9-4 with Paddy Power.
Intelligence Cross, a 6-1 shot, is Aidan O’Brien’s sole representative.
The Group-race action on day one is completed by the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy, the first recognised trial for September’s St Leger.
The race contains a few narrowly defeated at Royal Ascot, including Prize Money – second to Eclipse winner Hawkbill in the Tercentenary Stakes – and Queen’s Vase runner-up Harbour Law.