Great Voltigeur Stakes betting tips: Cross Counter can continue progress and land Ebor Festival victory

Betting Tips · - give their 2018 Great Voltigeur Stakes betting tips for the 1m 4f Group 2 three-year-old contest on the opening day of York’s Ebor Festival; Wednesday, 22 August. Cross Counter has made rapid progress, so is taken to overturn ante post favourite Kew Gardens in this key St Leger trial. Wells Farhh Go, a winner on this day at this meeting 12 months ago, is an each-way bet to consider. Read the 2018 Great Voltigeur Stakes betting tips preview for more on this historic race.Cross Counter can make more Great strides in Voltigeur at YorkCharlie Appleby trained gelding Cross Counter is improving at a rate of knots, so is taken over the other Godolphin runner and stablemate Old Persian and St Leger favourite Kew Gardens to land the spoils in the 1m 4f Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes on day one of York’s Ebor Festival this Wednesday (15:00).

As he isn’t a colt, the three-year-old gelding cannot go on to Doncaster and contest the final Classic of the British season but that doesn’t mean he won’t throw a spanner in the works for others who are preparing to do just that. Cross Counter won both his starts on the all-weather at Wolverhampton either side of New Year, bolting up by eight lengths in the second of those.

Despite showing real promise in those runs, connections opted to geld him and he shaped as if in need of the run on return to action at Sandown in June. Cross Counter was then just beaten 2 1/2 lengths down in fourth in the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot.

He came out of that red-hot contest and landed another 1m 4f handicap at the same venue last month when initially waited with at the back before making good progress before two out and then driven to lead just before the final furlong. The son of Teofilo stayed on strongly and was well in command when running out a two-length winner.

Cross Counter took the step up in class to Group 3 company in his stride last time out when thrashing Epsom Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee to win easing down by 4 1/2 lengths in the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He made most of the running here,  was clearly value for more than the winning margin and broke the track record in the process.

This was a very taking display and it’s no surprise to see connections pitch Cross Counter into even more elite company off the back of it en route to a planned crack at the Melbourne Cup. His exploits in the Gordon have earned him a rating of 115 – the highest in the Voltigeur line-up this year – and there looks to be even more to come.

We’re talking about a lightly-raced and still unexposed sort in Cross Counter, who is versatile tactics wise. Godolphin jockey William Buick has opted to ride him again, in preference to Old Persian, so everything points to another big run and he looks well worth a wager to make the further progress he remains open to.Kew Gardens feared but has penaltyAidan O’Brien has saddled three previous Great Voltigeur winners and his four-pronged attack in this year’s renewal is spearheaded by the aforementioned St Leger favourite Kew Gardens. The son of Galileo was an impressive winner of the Group 2 Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot on his penultimate start and then a Group 1 in France, so has to give 5lb all-round.

A winner at Listed level as a juvenile, Kew Gardens took time to get his act together during his Classic season after being a below par third in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket on his return to action and then turned over when sent off odds-on in the Lingfield Derby Trial. He left a well-beaten 27-length ninth to Masar in the Epsom Derby itself behind him, however.

Victory in the Queen’s Vase put Kew Gardens right back on track as he led home a 1-2-3 for Ballydoyle maestro O’Brien. After being held up at Royal Ascot by Ryan Moore, he made steady headway on the outside rounding the home turn and chased the leaders up the straight before taking it up at the furlong pole.

He stayed on strongly and only had to be ridden out to score by 4 1/2 lengths from Southern France. Kew Gardens has nothing to fear from the third home Nelson, who re-opposes, on that evidence and O’Brien duly dropped him back in trip to 1m 4f for the Grand Prix de Paris last time out.

Hold-up tactics were again employed by Moore aboard him and he was produced to lead in between the last two, then finding plenty for pressure and strongly assert in the final 50 yards. Kew Gardens is clearly a top quality horse, but there are concerns here.

The O’Brien yard has dropped to a worryingly low strike rate for an outfit with such consistently high standards. Another negative is that 5lb penalty Kew Gardens must shoulder and he is rated 114, leaving Cross Counter well-in on him on official ratings.

There are thus reasons enough to take Kew Gardens on in this, but nor would it be surprising to see him demonstrate his considerable Leger credentials again here. He looks the clear danger, but we recommend betting against him in our 2018 Great Voltigeur Stakes betting tips.Wells Farhh Go worth an each-way wagerBeyond the top two in the market there’s two or three with claims of making the frame, but Wells Farhh Go for local trainer Tim Easterby looks the most solid each-way bet after a sublime front-running display in another St Leger trial last time out.

This son of Farhh out of a Galileo mare won at the meeting 12 months ago when jockey David Allan timed his run to perfection and swooped for the Group 3 Acomb Stakes over 7f to nab victory on the line. It was Wells Farhh Go’s second win in as many starts at the Knavesmire and one which suggested he could train on.

While he failed to make it three out of three at York on his return to action when a 6 3/4 lengths sixth of nine to Roaring Lion in the Group 2 Dante Stakes in May, he was then beaten 5 1/2 lengths by Old Persian in the similar grade King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Although that contest was off level weights, it is notable that the winner then disappointed when sent over to The Curragh to contest the Irish Derby – admittedly turning out again very quickly – and Wells Farhh Go has since won the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy over 1m 5f at Newmarket’s July Festival. He made all there and, despite coming back to the field and being hard pressed, he stayed on really well to win going away by two lengths.

Having already reversed the form on the King Edward VII third – Giuseppe Garibaldi – when last in action, there is every chance Wells Farhh Go could do so with Old Persian. His Newmarket exploits have earned him an official mark of 112 which puts him right behind the market principals and 2lb clear of the remainder.

If running up to that rating – and a reproduction of his Newmarket effort surely has him in the mix to do just that – Wells Farhh Go should be making his presence felt in a market where there are others who can easily be backed each-way.Your Next Bet

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