Crockford considers the most international renewal since its beginning in 1951
Back in 1975 we were treated to what many consider to be the race of the century – where Grundy battled Bustino up the Ascot straight. Today we are served up a truly quality international fayre that includes Group One and Classic winners galore.  Could this be the race of this century?

Crockford runs his eye over the field:

Brown Panther – Ran well in last years’ St Leger and got back to winning ways in his last outing at Pontefract. Priced at 33/1 he would have to improve tremendously on his past form to figure for Michael Owen and Tom Dascombe here.

Dunaden – Considered to be unlucky in his last start, the Melbourne Cup winner has been touted as having a chance of getting closer to Sea Moon and reviving his form with Craig Williams on board. Crockford can not see him figuring in the finish of this quality field and thinks he is short at 7/1

Masked Marvel – It may be the first time that a British Classic winner has ever been quoted at odds as long as 50/1. John Gosden’s second string has not run up to his St Leger form yet this season but may do better today than others and the betting suggests.

Nathaniel – Last year’s winner and the gallant victor of this year’s Eclipse. Gosden and Buick have both been honest in their concerns that this race may have been to quick for him after his seasonal reappearance at Sandown. Back to his favourite trip he has strong chances of joining Dahlia and Swain as back to back winners. 3/1 could look good value later.

Reliable Man – In Crockford’s opinion the better of the French challengers. Having won the Prix de Jockey Club (French Derby) last year he appeared to be coming back to form in his last race. He has an attractive each way price at about 25/1.

Robin Hood – Simply here to ensure a good pace for his Irish stablemate.

Sea Moon – Listening to both trainer and jockey Crockford does not share many punters confidence in this horse and feels it unlikely that this will be a sixth race win for Sir Michael Stoute. The Hardwicke winner is as short as 3/1 with the firms but should not be given Sir Michael’s comments that he was “hopeful rather than confident” and for Ryan Moore to say “he would need a step forward” to beat St Nicholas Abbey – this is a big warning.

St Nicholas Abbey – Impressive last time out in The Coronation at Epsom. The O’Brien partnership would have planned preparations to perfection. Connections have learnt a lot from last year’s running and the horse is a massive price at 4/1.

Danedream – This emphatic winner of the Arc disappointed in her last outing. However, that was a muddling contest in bad ground and she is capable of better. 10/1 for the German filly is attractive each way value.

Deep Brillante – The inclusion of the Japanese Derby winner makes this a truly international field. Connections claim that they have come here to win but Crockford thinks that will be difficult for the only three year old in the race. 20/1 is reasonable each way value.

Crockford predicts that this fascinating contest will see a battle up the straight to rival the 1975 renewal. 2012 will be known for Nathaniel versus St Nicholas Abbey.

1 St Nicholas Abbey
2 Nathaniel
3 Danedream

Below is the 1975 race to wet your appetite: