Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nayyir to Silence Soviet Song; Gerard's Star Is Value Bet for Mile Title

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Nayyir to Silence Soviet Song; Gerard's Star Is Value Bet for Mile Title

Article excerpt

Byline: GRAHAM CUNNINGHAM

SHOWBIZ luvvies always insist that you should leave the punters wanting more.

Ascot are doing their best to follow the old adage this weekend, and Nayyir can take the curtain call at the final meeting before the builders move in by landing a fiercely competitive Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

The official handicapper rates eight horses within a few pounds of each other for this [pounds sterling]250,000 showdown, and punters face the problem of deciding which of them will deliver a peak performance in a race where tactics and jockeyship could play a crucial role.

It's hard to know what to expect from the 2,000 Guineas winner Haafhd after his poor effort in the Sussex Stakes, while Refuse To Bend is a major player judged on two Group 1 wins this summer but is another with questions to answer after folding tamely at Goodwood.

Proven Group 1 performers like Rakti and Norse Dancer will have their share of supporters, as will the fast-improving Ace, but the two horses with most to recommend them look to be Soviet Song and Nayyir.

Soviet Song is highly consistent with a telling turn of foot and looks bound to be in at the finish after quickening past Attraction to complete a hat-trick of Group 1 wins at Leopardstown two weeks ago.

However, Nayyir is around four times the price of the favourite even though his best form leaves him precious little to find with her.

Gerard Butler's chestnut produced a storming late effort to run Soviet Song to a neck in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood and was left in front way too soon under Michael Kinane when worn down by the fastimproving Chic in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood last month.

The revitalised Jimmy Fortune can be relied on to produce him much later this time, and at 10-1 or bigger in the odd place Nayyir looks a solid each-way bet in what has all the makings of a memorable contest. …

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