Society Rock is set to make his seasonal reappearance in the Group Two Duke of York Stakes on May 15 and a return to the Knavesmire could see a prize-winning improvement on last year’s third place.
And the good news for punters is that the James Fanshawe-trained chance is still available at a price.
The 6/1 about last season’s Sprint Cup winner represents great value for a horse whose odds could plummet by race day.
That Group One success at Haydock was an impressive highlight of a campaign that also included thirds in the previous Duke of York renewal (when behind the re-opposing 2012 winner Tiddliwinks by just half a length) and in Newmarket’s Darley July Cup.
The former of those two near-misses marked last year’s first run back and there’s every reason to believe the son of Rock of Gibraltar can challenge strongly again.
Only three of the past 10 Duke of York winners have been under the age of five – a positive in favour of the six-year-old Society Rock and a negative against 5/2 favourite Mince.
One trend Society Rock will have to buck though concerns official ratings. He is currently rated at 117, however no entrant above 114 has emerged triumphant since 2003.
However, should the ground hold then the race is there to be won by a charge who’s proved to be a consistent performer.
Conditions could well be a major factor in determining this year’s winner though, with 7/1 mud lark Maarek another eye-catching entry.
A runner-up place in the Group Three Prix De Seine-Et-Oise and a Listed win at Naas this season have followed his victory on Champions Day at Ascot last October (a race where he had Society Rock trailing in fifth).
And trainer David Nagle’s indication that “he’ll go wherever he will get a bit of ease in the ground” is sure to have savvy bettors watching the skies in the build-up to the big race.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing