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Gospel Choir up for the Cup

By James Boyle

This year’s renewal of the Yorkshire Cup, a Group 2 event over 1m 6f at York (2:45), looks mightily decent and should be a fine spectacle. Currently, Marco Botti’s grey 7-year-old, Tac De Boistron, heads the market at 4/1 generally and on the balance of his form, that’s hardly surprising.

Despite his age, he seems to have excelled himself since joining this yard and was most impressive when defying a hefty Group 1 penalty in the Segaro Stakes (G3) at Ascot a couple of weeks back.

The problem is that this drop in trip isn’t a help by any means and could be a major hindrance, whilst an even bigger issue is the drying ground at the track. This fellow shows his best form by some way when his toes are digging in deep into the ground and there has to be a massive concern over his effectiveness on anything better than good-to-soft (ideally wants it much softer still).

As a result, I can’t be having him at the current prices, no chance. On what we know about him, he should not be capable of running to his very best under these conditions (assuming it’s drying out).

Most of the others should be fine whatever way the ground goes and Gospel Choir is the one that I’ll give the nod to at a best-priced 9/2. He has always looked like a horse capable of finding further improvement and this season, as a 5-year-old, he seems to be getting his act together in fine style.

The first hint of that happening occurred in the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton last month, a race run over 1m 1f and that trip is too short for the son of Galileo. He did, however, run on powerfully into fourth place behind Mull Of Killough and built upon that next time out when upped to 1m 4f at the same track. There, in a Group 2, he defeated the progressive Pether’s Moon quite handily with Trading Leather back in third, and it was a fine performance all round, better than anything that he had managed to produce previously.

If you could have one worry with Gospel Choir, it’s whether he’ll stay this trip or not. On visual impressions, I reckon that he will. Based on breeding, there are some mixed signals with him being by Galileo out of a Pivotal mare who excelled over 1m 2f and didn’t seem to want another inch. It’s hard to know for certain either way, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and at least this is a flat track, so they don’t have to climb a hill at the end!

Getting 4lbs from Tac De Boistron is an obvious help, the drying ground is most certainly in his favour and he’s clearly in the form of his life to boot. If indeed he does stay this trip (I’ll remain optimistic for now!), he’s going to run a big race and could be the one to beat. Of the remainder, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Godolphin’s Penglai Pavilion show improved form now stepped up in trip, but his last time out debut for Charlie Appleby was atrocious and that’s off-putting to say the least (though he is 33/1, so may be worth a tiny e/w nibble).



Gospel Choir2 Gospel Choir – 9/2, available with a few firms.

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