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Newmarket preview: Earl Of Sefton Stakes (16:40)

Arod has some top class form to his name, and looks the one to beat in the Earl Of Sefton Stakes at Newmarket today (16:40) now eased in grade and dropped in trip.

This colt, who is trained by Peter Chapple-Hyam, won a maiden at Windsor on his seasonal reappearance last season in facile fashion before running a blinder to be beaten just 3/4 of a length by The Grey Gatsby in the Group 2 Dante Stakes over 1m 2f at York.

The winner went on to develop into one of the best three-year-olds in Europe, winning the Group 1 Prix Du Jockey Club at Chantilly before beating Epsom Derby winner Australia in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

That is very strong form indeed in the context of this Group 3 contest, and Arod went on to finish a highly creditable fourth to Australia in the Derby.

Arod then took advantage of an easy opening to get back on the winning trail in a conditions’ contest at Leicester, and was far from disagreed on his final start last season when fifth to Australia in the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York.

This contest represents a drop in class for Arod, and the son of Teofilo is a strong travelling sort who should not be hindered by the drop back to 1m 1f.

Arod also remains lightly-raced and open to further progression and, with Andrea Atzeni in the saddle, can get the better of French Navy to land the spoils in what looks a match on paper.

French Navy is trained by the in-form Charlie Appleby, and had an excellent season last term when winning two Listed contest and Group 3 on his final three starts.

The seven-year-old is a strong travelling sort who has a potent turn of foot, and is officially rated 6lb higher than Arod.

That suggest that the Godolphin-owned son of Shamardal is the one to beat, and he hails from a yard that can do little wrong at present and has proven that he can go well fresh.

However, French Navy is not getting any younger and Arod has scope for further improvement and arguably much stronger form in the book.

For those reasons, I fancy Arod to come out on top and take this before going on to better things.