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Feel Like Dancing to confirm Ascot form in Newmarket opener

This race has become an established trial for the St Leger in recent years and John Gosden has trained the last two winners.

Gosden is represented this year by Royal Ascot runner-up Feel Like Dancing. The son of Galileo won on his debut at Newbury but proved no match for subsequent Derby winner Ruler of the World at Chester in May.

He was outpaced behind Maputo here last month but looked a different proposition when stepped up to two miles for the Queen’s Vase. He made rapid progress early in the straight but was held by Leading Light in the closing stages.

He holds the third horse Boite on that running and on his debut form, although only a head separated Feel Like Dancing and Peter Chapple-Hyam’s at Newbury. Gosden’s horse may just have a bit more acceleration, which could prove decisive.

Andrew Balding’s Havana Beat was also well beaten in the Chester Vase and was never a factor in the King Edward VII Stakes. William Haggas’s Dare To Achieve could be a bigger threat having showed promise at Newbury behind the smart Remote before landing his maiden with ease.

Admittedly his victory was in a much weaker contest but the colt has a good reputation at home and should make his presence felt. Ray Ward is closely matched with Feel Like Dancing and Boite on Ascot form having plugged on into fifth, just three lengths off the winner.

Jamie Spencer had him well back in the field approaching the short straight and it was to the horse’s credit that he finished as close as he did. Given a more judicious ride here, he could also come into the reckoning.

That was also an improved effort from David Simcock’s charge and he should again finish close to his Ascot rivals. Testudo scraped home at Sandown over a mile and a quarter and is an unknown quantity over this distance whilst Dashing Star and Jathabah appear to have had their limitations exposed.