Salisbury stage one of their most valuable races of the season on Thursday afternoon - in the shape of the Group 3 Totepool Sovereign Stakes at 4.25. An expected 11 horses are set to go to post for the £75,000 contest - a situation that could well change if the forecast rain hits the course with ground conditions currently riding good to firm.
Any ease in the going is likely to suit a number of runners, nonemoreso than the Andrew Balding-trained Tullius who can supply jockey Jimmy Fortune with a welcome change of luck - following the rider's horror fall at Royal Ascot, from which the 43-year-old has just returned to competitive action.
The seven-year-old son of Le Vie Dei Colori has progressed from a decent handicapper - runner-up under a big weight in the 2014 William Hill Lincoln - into a fair Group performer, especially when there is plenty of cut in the ground and boasts possibly the best form on offer with his length and a half fourth behind Charm Spirit, Night Of Thunder and Toormore in last season's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth 11 Stakes on British Champions Day.
The gelding has nothing to fear from fellow rivals Captain Cat and Custom Cut on that heavy ground display and may find the three-year-old Kodi Bear a tougher nut to crack in the one mile contest. The mount of Gerald Mosse (aboard for the first time) found only Belardo too good on soft ground in Newmarket's Dubai Dewhurst Stakes as a juvenile and after getting off the mark for the season in a Windsor Listed race in June was not disgraced when fourth behind Territories in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly last time.
In receipt of 12lb from the selection the Clive Cox-trained colt is sure to go close but, providing there is give in the ground, Tullius - who landed a York Group 2 race last time despite the ground described officially as good to firm - should take plenty of beating at the 8-1 available with Ladbrokes. Recommendation 1 Point each-way Tullius 8-1 Ladbrokes