Four wins in his last seven starts has seen the Nysaean gelding rise 25 points in his merit rating since November last year with a massive eight points for his last win.
It is clearly going to get harder for the five-year-old but he has decent 4kg claim with apprentice Xavier Carstens retaining the ride after being aboard him in last month’s runaway win.
South Kensington was expected to be more of a danger to Blarney Bay last time but was still 4.75 lengths adrift at the line and is 3.50kg better off, but this may not be enough to turn the tables on his rival this time.
Ashton Park is at his very best over this distance and was only run out of it late last time by the decent Johnny Rockets over 1600m at Kenilworth. Grant van Niekerk will need to try and stop this gelding’s habit of losing ground at the start.
Half Moon Hotel and Azincourt look to hold winning chances but need to produce career-best performances if they are to win.
River Crossing is clearly using this race as a prep race for the Gold Cup or another race for stayers so is unlikely to win here.
Changingoftheguard needed his last run so is capable of showing vast improvement but has yet to win in six attempts at this course.