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Markaz can prove too hot for Kool Kompany

The progressive Markaz looks decent value to lower the colours of favourite Kool Kompany in the DBS Premier Yearling Stakes at York today (1.55).

The Barry Hills trained colt shaped with plenty of promise on his first two starts when running very green, and still looked in need of the experience when winning at Ascot on his penultimate outing
The son of Dark Angel, who is a brother to the useful sprinter Mecca’s Angel, was slowly away in that 6f contest before making smooth headway three from home and squeezing through to take up the running a furlong home to quicken clear and beat Fingal’s Cave by 1 1/4 lengths.

There was plenty to like about the way Markaz got the job done, and the fact he had little difficulty winning despite a slow start suggested the juvenile had a big engine.

That view was confirmed last time out in a nursery at Goodwood, where after again being slowly away Markaz travelled strongly into the contest and closed all the way to the line to go down by just 1/2 a lenhth to Son Of Africa.

Markaz still looks to be learning judged on that run, and it was an effort which suggested he would be capable of winning plenty more races when getting it right at the start.

It looks significant that Hamdan Al Maktoum’s retained jockey Paul Hanagan has chosen Markaz from a quartet of runners representing the leading owner, and he can make most of the 7lb he receives from Kool Kompany to capture this valuable prize.

Kool Kompany sets the standard on form having won five times this season from seven starts, including in Group 2 company in Ireland and France.

However, the Richard Hannon trained colt has had a tough campaign for a youngster and I thought he ran flat last time out at the Curragh when a 1/2 length runner-up to Dick Whittington in the Phoenix Stakes.

Although that was a Group 1 contest and this represents a drop in class for Kool Kompany, the son of Jeremy looks opposable at the odds on offer against some improving lightly-raced types who come into the contest much fresher.

The other horse in the line-up which shouldn’t be underestimated is Valley Of Fire.

The colt looked a useful prospect when getting up in the shadows of the post to beat Fingal’s Cave by nose on debut over course and distance last month and represents the William Haggas stable who sent out Haikbidiac to win this race 12 months ago.