Altharoos can make weight tell against classy Ehtedaam
It is the start of a big weekend for jockey Dane O’Neill with the ride on Ektihaam to look forward to in Saturday’s King George VI Stakes. He can get off to a winning start when he partners Altharoos in the same colours for Sir Michael Stoute at York this evening.
The three-year-old may not be the quickest in the Stoute stable but has not been out of the first four in his five career starts and is still improving. He had to work hard to win his maiden at Beverley in September but that meant he could start this season off a lenient handicap mark.
He met with all kinds of trouble behind Ashaadd at Sandown last month and did well to stay on strongly into fourth. He returned to Beverley for his next start and won quite handily when a well backed favourite.
The one he has to beat is the top weight Ehtedaam who has to carry the welter burden of 10st 2lb. He won his handicap debut impressively at Newmarket and was fancied to follow up in a hot race won by Niceofyoutotellme.
After racing quite keenly, he weakened inside the final furlong to finish fifth. He was again keen last time out but stayed on far too strongly for his four rivals to win by five lengths at Sandown. He runs here under a 6lb penalty and that may just make him vulnerable in the closing stages.
It is difficult to see beyond the front two in the market as they all seem well exposed. The pick on form may be Frog Hollow who was a fair third in the Carlisle Silver Cup under a big weight.
Lord Aeryn is tough and consistent but the handicapper appears to have his measure whilst Dubai Hills also appears to be in his grip. Steel Stockholder was fourth at Catterick last time and looks to have more on his plate here.