Drop in Class Enough to See Laurens Home at York

The Karl Burke trained Laurens is without a doubt one of the most popular horses in training right now. She has carved out an excellent career for herself, winning multiple Group 1 races. Those wins have all been against her own sex, and when it comes to going up against the boys she usually falls just short of what is required to win a top class race. She goes against the boys at York on Saturday, but what is key for her is that she drops in class slightly to Group Two company, and I think that is the key to her beating the boys.

She comes here on the back of a very good campaign so far. She went to the Lockinge Stakes at the start of her season, with Burke saying she would need the run and despite that she ran a great race to finish second. She then went to Royal Ascot, where she was a little disappointing when finishing 6th, but quickly got over that on her next run. That was in France, a Group One against fellow girls and this was a race that she won.

She was allowed to dominate things that day, kicking clear after having a soft lead and putting all her rivals in trouble. That is exactly the type of race she can win when going against her own sex, but as we have seen with the Lockinge and also when she went to Royal Ascot, she is not able to do the same when she goes against the boys. What she needs against them is a drop in class, something she gets here.

Strictly on ratings and nothing else, Laurens is clear of her rivals here and although she has to carry a penalty for winning a Group One race last time out, that is pretty much all negated by the weight allowance she gets for being a mare.

Of those against her, Le Brivido has been a big disappointment since joining Aidan O’Brien, and they will be hoping that this drop in class can bring him into it. He was behind Laurens in the Lockinge and then one place ahead of her at Royal Ascot. One thing is for sure though, he is not a horse to put too much faith in given his poor and inconsistent record.

Cape Byron has claimed two huge handicap victories at Ascot this season with the 7f Victoria Cup and the 6f Wokingham Stakes. He looks to be a sprinter stepping up to 7f again, while Laurens and Le Brivido are 1m horses coming back in trip, so the clash between the two different styles will be interesting to watch.

Back on better ground and at bigger prices, Sir Dancealot is another one to consider and he is one of only a handful of 7f specialists that we have, so the trip will suit him much more than many in the field. He was poor last week on rain softened ground, but you can put a line through that. In the race before he won a Goodwood Group Two over 7f by one length, and while this is a better race than that one, a run to that kind of level would give him an each way chance.

After all of that though, the choice for me is still Laurens. She has Group One form to her name, has ran well against the boys at the top level before and this drop down to Group Two level looks to be something that can help her get her head in front once again. I’m with Team Laurens on Saturday afternoon at York.