Newbury preview: Al Rayyan Stakes (14.00)
Elite Army looks decent value to turn over red-hot favourite Telescope in the Al Rayyan Stakes at Newbury (14.00).
The Saeed Bin Suroor trained colt has won three of his four starts, and looked a potential top notch performer in the making in the last of those when beating Windshear in the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Elite Army raced keenly on the heels of the leaders, and after being denied a clear run a furlong from home jockey Kieren Fallon had to sit and suffer and wait for a gap to open.
When it eventually did, Elite Army showed a smart turn of foot to burst through and take up the running in the last 100 yards to win snugly by 3/4 of a length in what was an ultra-competitive 18-runner affair.
It was a very taking performance, and one which suggested the son of Authorized needed keeping firmly onside.
This Listed 1m 4f contest represents the stiffest task to date that Elite Army has faced, but he is very lightly-raced for a four-year-old and remains unexposed and open to bags of improvement.
The turn of foot Elite Army showed at Ascot is a potent weapon in his armoury, and I will be surprised if he does not make up into a Group horse this season.
Telescope is obviously the one to beat, who is officially rated 16lb higher than Elite Army and now drops in grade.
The five-year-old has some top class form to his name, including when romping to a seven length success in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot last year.
Telescope backed that up with a solid second to Taghrooda in the Group 1 King George, and also ran well when third to Australia in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.
That is the best form on offer in this line-up, but the Sir Michael Stoute trained son of Galileo comes into the contest having got turn over on seasonal reappearance in a Group 2 at Newmarket when sent off the 8/13 favourite.
Telescope appeared to have a straightforward task on paper, but after quickening clear a furlong from home found precious little in the closing stages to go down a head to Second Step.
Even allowing for the fact that the winner is a progressive sort, it was a disappointing run in my eyes from Telescope and he could once again prove vulnerable to an improver like Elite Army.