Mark My Word, take Double Crown
AFTER twice taking the fight to new lord of the round course, KING ARTHUR, DOUBLE CROWN gets more than a fair chance, at the weights, to capitalise on the 2020 Derby winner's absence in Saturday's Mark My Word Trophy at nine furlongs and 25 yards.
Renewing rivalry with EROY, CALCULUS, CRIMSON and HOVER CRAFT, DOUBLE CROWN is up nine pounds after a fourth-place finish behind KING ARTHUR in the September 25 Menudo at 10 furlongs.
CRIMSON, who had placed second with 115lb, shares topweight 126lb with ONEOFAKIND, who hasn't raced in four months, leaving him with a mountain climb against fitter foes.
Though he has developed into a potent two-turn runner this season, the pace could have CRIMSON being pushed too early with the big weight, taking him out of his comfort zone and neutralising his effect in the stretch run.
The three pace horses - EROY, DOUBLE CROWN and MONEY MONSTER - are expected to dictate the fractions, each trying to steal a march on the other in what should be a good match of skill among the respective jockeys, Oshane Nugent, Philip Parchment and Omar Walker, who will be brimming with confidence astride his mount.
MONEY MONSTER announced his return to form with a fast 1:54.4 at the trip on September 15, beating ROY ROGERS and HOVER CRAFT a grade lower in the Kenneth Mattis Memorial. However, his manner of victory and scintillating workout last Saturday morning, seven furlongs in 1:27.4, makes him dangerous at 117lb with Walker, who takes no prisoners leaving the half-mile of his races.
EROY posted a much slower 1:56.2 when winning at the distance in July, but proved his worth with a fifth-place finish in the Menudo, heads-on with DOUBLE CROWN, who he had allowed seven pounds in their loss to KING ARTHUR.
However, big weights have always been EROY's Achilles' heel, 124lb putting him too close to topweight, giving up six pounds to DOUBLE CROWN at a shorter trip with no KING ARTHUR around. Pitted in a fight for the lead with DOUBLE CROWN and MONEY MONSTER, EROY could be too winded with 124lb to last up the lane.
Ian Parsard could have had a bird in hand with DOUBLE CROWN had he opted for a claiming rider instead of declaring Parchment to go two pounds over. It's clear that the idea is to have a strong finisher aboard the big gelding. However, he could have come in at 109lb with Jordan Barrett, which would have basically handed him the race on a platter.
However, the bravado he showed against KING ARTHUR in the Menudo, though nine pounds lighter then, should allow him to see off EROY before holding CRIMSON at bay. The fly in the ointment is MONEY MONSTER.