York preview: Yorkshire Cup (15.15)
Romsdal is a classy sort and can make the most of the 5lb he receives from Brown Panther to land the 1m 6f Group 2 Yorkshire Cup (15.15).
This John Gosden trained colt posted some top class efforts last season in Group 1 company, finishing a cracking third to Australia in the Investec Derby at Epsom and an excellent 1 1/4 length runner-up to Kingston Hill in the St Leger over 1m 6f.
Romsdal stuck to the task really well in the latter, and it was an effort which suggested the son of Halling had the potential to make up into a decent stayer this season.
The four-year-old is also not devoid of speed, as he showed when making a winning reappearance in a Listed contest at Kempton over 1m 2f.
Romsdal made all and quickened clear to score easily by 2 1/2 lengths, and was then far from disgraced last time out at Newbury when third to Aranb Spring in the Group 3 John Porter Stakes over 1m 4f.
To my eyes jockey James Doyle gave Romsdal a poor tactical ride in the latter, as he dictated at a far too steady pace which resulted in the horse getting outpaced at a crucial stage before staying on again to be beaten just 1 3/4 lengths.
William Buick, who rode Romsdal in the St Leger, now takes over the reins and I don’t expect him to make the same mistake.
The step back up to 1m 6f will also suit Romsdal, and he comes out 2lb clear of Brown Panther and top rated in this line-up if taking into account the weight he receives from that rival.
Despite having to shoulder a penalty for winning a Group 1, Brown Panther looks the obvious main danger to Romsdal.
The Tom Dascombe trained seven-year-old is an ultra consistent and tough sort who has won 10 of his 23 starts on the turf.
After finishing a fine third in last year’s Gold Cup at Ascot, Brown Panther went on to post a cracking effort when slamming Leading Light by six lengths in the Group 1 Irish St Leger.
The Michael Owen-owned son of Shirocco then disappointed in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita over an inadequate 1m 4f, but looked as good as ever on return to action when stepped back up in trip and romping to a 3 1/4 length success in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan.
Judge on that success Brown Panther is sure to give it his best shot and prove a tough nut to crack, but he faces a stiff ask having to concede 5lb to the younger and upwardly mobile Romsdal.