Sea The Stars to confirm superstar status in the Juddmonte
One of the most exciting clashes of the year awaits us in the Juddmonte International as 1/3 favourite in the betting Sea The Stars takes on 9/4 second favourite Mastercraftsman in what could be the first of a host of clashes.
Other than the Juddmonte, the pair both hold entries in the Irish Champion Stakes, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, the Champion Stakes at Newmarket and an attempt at the Arc is also likely to be high on the list, so this is unlikely to be the last time they size each other up.
The pair met in the 2000 Guineas in which Sea The Stars came off best running out the winner with Mastercraftsman back in a staying on fifth.
Since then, Aidan O'Brien's colt has won gone on to win the Irish 2000 Guineas and the St James' Palace Stakes at Ascot while John Oxx's stable star has claimed the Derby and the Coral Eclipse, highly impressive from both horses.
So just which of these two superstars will come off best at York? With regards to getting the 1m2f trip, Sea The Stars will have absolutely no problem having won over further and some have raised doubts as to whether Mastercraftsman will see it out.
The answer to this he most likely will see out the trip as he gets a stiff 1m well so the extra couple of furlongs should not trouble him too much.
O'Brien's hope though has gained most of his victories on easy ground although he did win the Phoenix on fast ground and with the forecast dry in the run up to the race, anticipated quick ground you would think will suit Sea The Stars much better.
It is this writer's opinion though that while Mastercraftsman is a great horse and may be able to get the race run to suit him with two pace makers in the shape of 200/1 chance Georgebernardshaw and 200/1 Set Sail, Sea The Stars has been breathtaking in the manner of his victories this season and we don't buy in to this substance versus style argument that some have tried to pitch.
If Rip Van Winkle cannot beat Sea The Stars then it is hard to see Mastercraftsman doing so, and the latter gave Delegator a beating of a neck while the former won by 1½ lengths and for every case that is made for Mastercraftsman, there seems to be better one for the very special Sea The Stars.
There is now a slight worry though that due to the withdrawal of Tartan Bearer, this has now become a match race between the two market leaders and Sea The Stars is going to have to do all his own work with no help from the small field, but he doesn't seem a quirky sort and should be able to take it up earlier than ususal with few problems.
While it is a short price, from a betting point of view it most likely will pay to get stuck in to the 1/3 on offer for the favourite but if you don't fancy it, sit back and watch two of the most exciting three-year-old performers on the world stage do battle in what could actually be a warm up for something much bigger.
Don't forget we will be offering Best Odds Guaranteed on every race at the Ebor meeting so you can get more for your money.