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Highland Reel value to triumph in International battle at York

David Metcalf | August 16 2016

Highland Reel has plenty going for him in Juddmonte International

Highland Reel has a rock solid profile and looks decent value to land the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes on the opening day of York’s prestigious Ebor Festival (15.40).

Trained in Ireland by the all-conquering Aidan O’Brien, the colt already has four wins to his name at the highest level.

They include a 1/2 length success over the classy Flintshire in last year’s Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin and a game success in last month’s King George over 1m 4f at Ascot where he made all and dug deep to beat Wings Of Desire by 1 1/4 lengths.

The globetrotting four-year-old has now tasted success in four different countries and is an ultra-tough sort who is hard to pass when on-song.

Fast ground a big plus

Highland Reel

Highland Reel also relishes fast ground and proved that he is just as effective over the 1m 2f trip of this contest when impressively landing the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington by 5 1/4 lengths.

The son of Galileo is also clearly at the top of his game at present and looks the type who could still be improving and have more to offer.

Another plus is that O’Brien has a tremendous record in the race have won it joint-record five times courtesy of Giant’s Causeway (2000), Duke of Marmalade (2008), Rip Van Winkle (2010), Declaration of War (2013) and Australia (2014).

Reasons to take on Postponed

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Postponed heads the market but there are reasons to suggest that the classy five-year-old is worth taking on.

The son of Dubawi won his last five starts and is unbeaten in three since joining trainer Roger Varian.

In the last of those at Epsom, the five-year-old put in a stunning performance when landing the Group 1 Coronation Cup over 1m 4f by 4 1/2 lengths from Found.

However, Postponed subsequently missed defending his crown in King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot after suffering a respiratory infection and now drops down in trip.

He is yet to win over 1m 2f and another concern is the stable has been under a cloud and badly out of sort of late with a number of horses running way below their best.

Exosphere a lively outsider

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Coral-Eclipse winner Hawkbill is on a serious upward curve having won his last six starts and commands plenty of respect but is unproven on quick going and opposable as a result.

For those looking for one that could run well at huge odds Exosphere fits the bill.

The Sir Michael Stoute trained colt made an ultra-impressive seasonal reappearance when romping to a four-length success over Simple Verse in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket but has failed to progress as expected in two subsequent outings.

However, the four-year-old wasn’t totally disgraced when third to the enterprisingly ridden Big Orange in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket last and now gets the fast ground that he relishes for the first time this season and the services of Pat Smullen in the saddle.

Stoute also shares the joint-record with O’Brien for winners in the race and has made no secret that he holds Exosphere in very high regard.

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Coral’s top tip: Highland Reel has plenty going for him and looks worth a wager to provide Aidan O’Brien with his sixth winner of the Juddmonte International. Exosphere could outrun his odds and make the frame at a huge price.

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