Gordon Richard Stakes Guide

1. Thundering Blue

Trainer - David Menuisier

Jockey - Andrea Atzeni

This six year old grey gelding has ran to a better standard in his career than probably his owners though he would winning Group 2 and 3 races in England and Sweden and also placing in a Group 1 event.

He is the current second favourite in the market and holds every chance if being fresh for his first run of the season but it looks more likely that he will have to settle for second behind Crystal Ocean.

He is a course and distance winner which should help him go better than many in the field.

2. Crystal Ocean

Trainer - Sir Michael Stoute

Jockey - Ryan Moore

The main attraction of the contest is the classy Crystal Ocean, who on ratings is head and shoulders above the field and for the races he has run in his career should really dominate this field.

Set to go off at odds on and justified from his performances last year when a narrow second to stablemate Poet's Word in the King George VI and Elizabeth Stakes.

He was also second to the mighty Enable at Kempton on the all weather and finished the season in behind the superb retired Cracksman in the British Champion Stakes.

It would be a huge shock if he is beat and he won this race last year fairly comfortably.

3. Extra Elusive

Trainer - Roger Charlton

Jockey - Jason Watson

This very lightly raced four year old has been improving nicely throughout his career to suggest that Group 3 would not be out of his depth and each way claims are certainly on the table.

His latest at the end of March in the Magnolia Stakes at Kempton was one of his best to date finishing a good second in a Listed contest and could progress further.

4. Fabricate

Trainer - Michael Bell

Jockey - James Doyle

This seven year old owned by the Queen was second to Crystal ocean in this race last year but on his seasonal return finished behind Extra Elusive and will have to reverse that form if he is to be involved once more.

Not completely ruled out of the each way equation and with top jockey James Doyle on board anything is possible.

5. Knight To Behold

Trainer - Harry Dunlop

Jockey - Oisin Murphy

This four year old colt is frustrating, being very hit and miss during his career but if up for it can spring a surprise. Has finished down the field on three of his last five runs but then went on to win in his other two.

Hs best win came in August when he landed a Group 2 at Deauville back in August to show that he can mix it win this sphere but is hard to be back with his unpredictable nature.

6. Pivoine

Trainer - Andrew Balding

Jockey - Silvestre De Sousa

The thriving Andrew Balding and SDS partnership field Pivione for King Power racing and this is another horse that is very hit and miss and can be opposable for that reason.

However, he won a nice handicap at York in August and also won over course and distance last season and if reproducing any of that form has a frame shout.

7. Trais Fluors

Trainer - Andre Fabre

Jockey - Pierre - Charles Boudot

The final runner of the seven fielded race is the third favourite and this french raider trained by Andre Fabre certainly has a chance at a nice price and could be Crystal Ocean's biggest danger of retaining this race.

He is going in search of a hat-trick on Friday after winning nicely on the all weather recently but he has won at Group 3 level and that brings him into contention.