Seal Rock's watertight record on the line at York

Owner Peter Deal is keeping his fingers crossed Seal Rock can keep his unbeaten record intact in a fiercely competitive Bond Tyres Trophy at York this afternoon.

The Henry Candy-trained gelding was a late starter as a two-year-old, not making his debut until November, but he turned in an impressive performance at Doncaster. A couple of victories at Newmarket in recent months have marked him down as a horse with a big future, but Deal admits he faces a stiff test in this 80,0000 contest on the Knavesmire.

"I couldn't be more pleased with how he has done so far, you couldn't ask for better than three wins from three starts," said Deal. "He did well to win at Newmarket last time on ground he wouldn't have liked at all. I think he is a better horse with some cut in the ground and I'm just hoping York get some rain. This is another step up for him as it's a very good race, but it deserves to be a good race with the prize-money on offer.

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Richard Fahey's Majestic Myles and the Andrew Balding-trained Desert Law lock horns for the second time this season having clashed at Newmarket a fortnight ago. Majestic Myles beat his rival by a neck that day and Desert Law is slightly better off at the weights this time.

"He's a decent horse, but this is a good race, so we'll see how we get on," Fahey said.

The Malton maestro also saddles Jamesway, What About You and Marine Commando, while David Elsworth won the valuable handicap with Swiss Diva a couple of years ago and this year saddles her half-sister Swiss Dream, an easy winner at Newmarket last time.

One of the main attractions at Sandown is the Scurry Stakes, and Balding believes a little more rain would further enhance Night Carnation's chances. The ground at the Esher venue is currently good, good to soft in places, with some showers forecast.

A daughter of Sleeping Indian, the she has won both her starts to date this campaign and is favoured heavily by the conditions of the Listed race. However, Balding is refusing to get carried away and is not making any grand plans just yet.

"She should take all the beating tomorrow looking at the ratings, but the ground is the concern for her," said the Kingsclere handler. "There's a bit of give in the ground at the moment but any more rain would be welcome."

Fahey's Arctic Feeling is forced to concede weight to all bar one of his nine rivals due to winning a Listed race at Ayr last season. This term he ran a respectable race at Haydock behind Noble Storm but was well beaten in the Dash at Epsom last week. Meanwhile Ed Dunlop is keen to play down the hype surrounding Voodoo Prince ahead of the Bet On toteplacepot At Handicap at Sandown.The three-year-old is the first offspring of the fantastic Ouija Board, who took Dunlop all over the world and won twice at the Breeders' Cup as well as winning the English and Irish Oaks. Not surprisingly with such a famous mother, the Kingmambo colt has attracted plenty of attention in his two races to date. He was only sixth in a traditionally hot maiden at Newbury which contained subsequent French Derby fourth Colombian but then won impressively at Haydock, beating a highly-regarded Roger Varian-trained newcomer. "He did well. It was only a maiden but the runner-up looks a nice horse who ran well on debut and I know they like him," said Dunlop. "I think this is a logical stepping stone, it's nine furlongs, they've had a little bit of rain so the ground should be beautiful and we will find out more about the horse (today]."

Across the Atlantic, the absence of a Triple Crown contender has provided an unexpected extra edge to tonight's $1 million Belmont Stakes, triggering a rare outbreak of trash-talking in the normally conservative world of thoroughbred racing.

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While neither Animal Kingdom, who won the Kentucky Derby, or Shackleford, the winner of the Preakness Stakes, can win the coveted Triple Crown after splitting the first two legs, connections of both horses are in dispute over who has the best three-year-old in the United States. Tonight's race is the third clash between the rivals in five weeks but has all the makings of a grudge match that could decide bragging rights for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, last year's winner Rite Of Passage is the major absentee following the confirmation stage for the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday. Fame And Glory takes top billing among 16 entries, with connections of Blue Bajan taking the decision to supplement him at a cost of 25,000.