So profuse are the positives about Leading Light’s Ascot Gold Cup chances that even the biggest value pedant would struggle to quibble with the 11/10 about the chances of the market leader.
Here are six reasons to book your place on the bandwagon before his odds paddle their way southwards across the river evens.
He’s race fit.
Unlike Estimate, who won last year’s race in the colours of Her Majesty the Queen, the Montjeu colt has had the benefit of a seasonal pipe-opener.
Only three other horses in the Gold Cup – besides Leading Light – are rated better than the re-opposing Royal Diamond, who was three lengths back in second in that Group 3 Navan affair.
Aidan O’Brien has landed five of the last eight runnings.
The favourite could hardly have a better handler for mapping out his progress to victory in the stayers’ blue riband.
Yeats won four successive renewals for the man in the dark glasses, while Fame and Glory’s 2011 win showed O’Brien had the smarts to repeat the dose with alternative ammunition.
Leading Light is unbeaten in two runs on good-to-firm.
Pale Mimosa is the only other runner in the field with a perfect strike-rate on the likely going and that came from a solitary run at listed level.
Dermot Weld’s mare was back in third in the aforementioned Navan contest.
Victory over the furthest trip he’s tackled to date came at Ascot.
One of the four-year-old’s good-to-firm triumphs came at last season’s Royal Meeting, when he scored over 2m, so comfort with the course is a given.
As a four-year-old he gets 2lbs from eight of his rivals.
Adversaries as fancied as 7/1 Brown Panther, 8/1 Tac De Boistron and 16/1 Simenon, last year’s second, are giving O’Brien’s colt a weight advantage.
Two of the last three winners aged four had placed in a classic the previous season.
Leading Light’s St Leger victory in 2013 makes him the highest-rated contestant in the field.
Taking his first stab at the trip and as lightly-raced as anything in the field, O’Brien’s colt has unparalleled scope for improvement to boot.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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