Past Winners » King Bolete
It is easy to see the case for Sign Of A Victory here, he is a classy hurdler, a 150-rated hurdler who could be thrown in on the flat on a rating of 88. But all of that is factored into his odds of 9/4. He has only raced once on the flat, he won a Class 5 maiden at Wolverhampton last December, and this is a massive step up on that. He may well win, but he is too short in my book at 9/4.
The favourite’s contracted odds means that one or two of his opponents are bigger than they should be, and the value of the race for me is King Bolete at 6/1.
King Bolete’s recent form figures 4440 are not inspiring, but he was a good winner at Newbury on his fifth last run last May, and he has run some good races in defeat after that, twice over today’s course and distance, which is crucial at Ascot.
He was only beaten a total of two and a half lengths in the King George V Handicap at the Royal meeting off a mark of 89, and he finished fourth behind yesterday’s Ormonde Stakes winner Dartmouth in another good handicap back over this course and distance in July off a mark of 91.
He was well beaten in the Melrose Handicap on his final run last season, but that wasn’t his true running. It is significant that he didn’t race again after that, and he has now moved from Luca Cumani to Roger Varian, with several more of his owner’s horses. Also, he has been gelded since last season.
He shapes like a horse with plenty of latent talent, and there is a good chance that the move to a new yard and a gelding operation can unleash that talent. He has only raced eight times in his life, he still has potential for further progression, and he is back down to a mark of 90, 2lb lower than his peak. He is proven over this course and distance, and he could run a big race.