Duke of Firenze is the 10/1 market leader for the Wokingham Stakes after his scintillating victory in the Investec Dash at Epsom on Saturday.
The 5/1 favourite showed a decisive turn of foot in the final furlong under Ryan Moore – who also piloted Ruler Of The World to Derby glory – to win by a neck.
The colt’s triumph came just a week after an underwhelming performance at York, when he reportedly hit his head on the stalls before finishing fifth of 19, and despite an inauspicious start that saw him with only three behind with less than two furlongs to go, Moore was able to steer him through the pack and pip another strong finisher, Smoothtalkingrascal, to score.
Sir Michael Stoute has never had a winner in the Wokingham, though Ryan Moore rode High Standing to success in 2009, and the pair have enjoyed much success since the turn of the year, recording a 29 per cent strike rate – a figure that should prompt much support for the four-year-old at Ascot.
Connections believe the six-furlong trip at Ascot should play to his strengths, though this recent foray into the minimum distance has reaped two wins from three entries and sends him to Ascot in rude health.
Regarding the competition, Cape Classic has the course form to suggest he’ll run well over this distance. A third in the Victoria Cup on his last run in May saw him leading a furlong out, and a run in the Challenge Cup in October saw him going well before cooling over the final 150 yards.
An ante-post favourite before rendered unable to compete last year, William Haggas’ – the winning trainer with High Standing, incidentally – charge has been run exclusively at seven furlongs in his past seven races, and evidence suggests the 14/1 shot should enjoy the shorter trip.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing