Barman ran up a sequence of wins during the summer and met with a first defeat in four starts last time out. That may have been because he bumped into a very much in form rival in Rossetti who had won his two previous races. The form of that race has already been boosted by Kapstadt who finished almost ten lengths behind the selection. This race does not appear to be as strong on paper and Nicky Henderson may well have found an ideal opportunity to get his five year old back to winning ways.
Crickel Wood is the only previous course and distance winner in the line up. He hasn’t been seen on any track in almost a year, but if fully wound up at the first time of asking he may well be able to figure prominently. The youngest rival in the field is Nice Thoughts from the David Pipe yard. He won two races over a mile on the flat and has not been disgraced on his last two runs for this yard. There is still plenty of improvement in him but again it would take a monumental leap forward if he was to trouble the proven Henderson runner. Miss Estela could well prove to be the fly in the ointment for Barman as she was considered good enough to send to Punchestown earlier in the year. Wins either side of that effort mean she will be fully at home in this company despite an almost four month layoff.
Nico De Boinville has partnered Barman to all three of his career success to date. Despite giving weight away all around this afternoon, the combination look to be the duo to beat. With the yard continuing to go well they have to be respected today, Barman (WIN)
Megalala may be a pensioner but he is somewhat of a standing dish over this course and distance. Eight times he has graced the winners enclosure here at Brighton and despite his advancing years he still seems to be in good form and he can give Danny Brock a decent ride in this apprentice handicap. He likes to wear his heart on his sleeve and try to make all in his races and if allowed an soft lead here, he will prove difficult to peg back.
Hermosa Vaquera is a useful dual purpose performer and has recorded wins over hurdles at Plumpton as well as on the flat here. She comes into the race fully race fit and has the assistance of the in form Hector Crouch. He can take a useful five pounds off her back here as he seeks to partner his sixth winner for the yard inside the last month. She in one of only a few in form and has to be rated as a major threat. Highlife Dancer has beaten only one rival home in each of his last three starts including when partnered by today’s jockey Silvestre De Sousa. He will have to find another gear this afternoon if he is to defy top weight.
Megalala is still showing something at home for John Bridger to keep bringing him back to the track. Ultimately it will be him who decides whether he wants to win this or not but his rivals are no great shakes and being a model of consistency, he is certainly worth another punt. Megalala (E/W if 9/2+)
Soupy Soups was good enough to land a bumper at Ffos Las on what was his racecourse debut last season. The following month he was sent to Fontwell for a maiden hurdle and was completely outgunned by the talented Emerging Force. The form of that race has begun to work out well though with the fourth placed Kap Jazz coming out to win subsequently. Soupy Soups was then given a break and wasnt seen again for six months when he was upped in trip dramatically and finished third to The Tailgater at Huntingdon. He has has a further five months to mature and with his yard in excellent form, he is certainly one to consider here. Noel Fehily has partnered five of the stables last ten winners so his booking is particularly eye-catching.
Quebec is beginning to look dangerously well handicapped and he suggested that his turn wouldn’t be far away when beaten only a neck at Uttoxeter upon his seasonal return. This return to a more suitable trip will pay to his strengths and he looks the most likely of dangers. Vivas was beaten over a dozen lengths when last tried at this trip back in May. Despite the booking of Richard Johnson, he may need this run and he doesn’t offer any value at current odds. Wildmoor Boy sneaks in here at the foot of the weights and recorded a first ever win last month. His confidence will have been boosted by that success and he looks likely to play a hand in the finish.
Soupy Soups is still far from the finished article and there should still be plenty of scope for improvement. The stable like to have winners at Warwick and he has to be high on any shortlist. Soupy Soups (E/W if 9/2+)
This nine-runner race looks more open than the market is suggesting by focussing on the David Simcock runner.
Foresight could prove to be an improving three year old ahead of his mark by the way he got off the mark at Hamilton in July. However, the form looks questionable with a ten-race maiden finishing second and he took another two goes after to win. The 60-day absence looks to be in search of ground with cut in it with all his runs on good or softer. He could be ahead of his mark but he’s coming up against some tried and tested performers.
One of them is Pettochside, who has been busy this campaign but looks to have relished ever minute of it. He hasn’t failed to finish out of the top three places in his last seven efforts, which is a testament to John Bridger, who has found the right opportunities and to the way he’s kept this seven year old sound. He was second off this mark at Goodwood last week under today’s pilot Josephine Gordon, the find of the season. That was a very good run and he arguably bumped into a three year old ahead of his mark and if running to that level once more will be in the reckoning.
Fairway To Heaven can’t be ruled out. He’s ran in some of the big field sprint handicaps this season but hasn’t necessarily had the luck or possibly when you look at his wins doesn’t relish the hustle and bustle. His four career wins have been in field sizes between seven and ten runners, so that fits the bill for today’s race. He has form on good to soft, so might be hoping for some drying ground. If on a going day could get himself involved. Pettochside (E/W)
A very competitive sprint handicap with 17-runners with the market opening at 8/1 the favourite.
That favourite is Cool Bahamian for in-form trainer Eve Johnson Houghton. This five year old was a winner by a head at Newmarket last month and doesn’t look badly treated on the back of that success. Ed Greatrex is on board, as he has been on the last couple of starts, and he’s a good judge of fractions, so will know when to kick for home.
With Guishan and Frenchman in the field they are likely to go forward and set the early fractions. Their pace could give Belledesert a nice tow into the race if Adam Beschizza can get her in a good position from the gate. She won both of her starts in August, including one over course and distance before running with credit when fourth at York last month off this mark, so could have more to offer.
Ambitious Icarus is likely to be running on late in the race and might hit the frame but he does have course and distance form plus he does look well weighted. Ancient Astronaut is of interest with Silvestre de Sousa back on board on this sort of ground. Not too badly treated and ran his race at Carlisle last time off this mark. Drawn in the middle could give de Sousa a few options to find the best ground for this son of Kodiac. Belledesert (E/W)
This 3m Chase only has five runners and it looks like the perfect opportunity for Sizing Coal to start his season in style.
Jim Dreaper’s eight year old was third in last year’s Irish National and you’d expect the big staying chases to be his target once more with plenty of stamina to boot. He’ll relish this sort of ground and the return to this trip could bring out the best of him on his reappearance. He has the strongest form in the book and if running up to his Irish National third or last effort then he should take the honours.
Another Rebel looks to be the obvious danger and he is also returning from an absence. Michael Winters’ nine year old has won when fresh before after being victorious when off a near three-year break. He has had his problems, so is still unexposed over the larger obstacles and being a son of Croco Rouge you’d expect him to take to the them.
The three other runners have work to do to. Getoutwhenyoucan is 0-4 over fences and tends to need a run when returning from a break. He shouldn’t mind the ground having won on it before but he has to prove his stamina and there are similar concerns with Mic Milano. Sizing Coal (WIN)
In the last three years Malcolm Jefferson’s runners have won 40% of all runs over fences at Sedgefield and he runs just one over the larger obstacles today so Major Ivan is immediately of interest. He was still in touch with Out Sam before falling two from home last time out (on chase debut) and although is yet to win over todays’ trip he has placed in three from five and has a decent record here having won once and placed once from his two outings. Furthermore, his last career victory came on the back of a six month break so the fact that he hasn’t been since since January should be of no concern.
The early favourite is Dan Skelton’s Closest Friend but given that his only career victory came over two furlongs further than he encounters today and that he has attempted todays’ trip ten times without success, the early prices of around 2/1 look to be very short and he is opposed today.
Mixboy has been in great form since switching to Keith Dalgleish, posting two wins and two seconds from four runs. He was a wide margin winner on chase debut at Cartmel in July so, despite the fact his main rival that day pulled up after just a couple of fences and todays’ race looks to have more depth, he is respected and looks to be the main danger. Major Ivan (WIN)
We return to the flat for our final two selections of the day, both coming from Ayr. Last year’s winner Edgar Balthazar returns to defend his crown but would need to improve on recent runs to get in the mix and with all career wins coming on much better ground than he will encounter today he may struggle today.
Sir Billy Wright has winning form on soft ground and ran well when third in a big field handicap at Haydock on Saturday although has now had five races in the last thirty days, has already had a few chances off his current mark and is still 4lbs higher than his last victory.
Marjorie Fife has a 30% winning strike rate over the last twelve months at Ayr so Inexes, her only runner on the card, has to be considered. His only previous visit here resulted in a win but, despite three consecutive placed efforts, he remains 5lbs higher than his last victory and looked well held.
Tiger Jim has a decent record at Ayr but has only won on good ground so instead we turn to Jay Kay who has an excellent record here having made the frame in seven from eight, including three wins from six over todays’ trip. All career wins have come in lower grades than this but he’s proven on soft ground and with such a good record at the course he looks to be a decent each way shout at early odds of around 8/1. Jay Kay (E/W if 9/2+)
The admirable twelve year old Osteopathic Remedy hasn’t won in over two years but is a previous course and distance winner, has winning form on soft and heavy ground and posted his best effort for some time when going down by half a length at Carlisle earlier this month. He is passed over today as his jockey Adam McNamara has only managed one win from forty at the course in the last twelve months.
Gone With The Wind has raced over course and distance on two previous occasions, producing a win on soft ground and a placed effort on better ground. He is re-united with talented apprentice jockey Lewis Edmunds who was on board for the course and distance victory and has made the frame in 50% of all rides over the last two weeks.
Of the remainder, Ginger Charlie produced his best effort to date when third on soft ground over seven furlongs at Thirsk last time out but is yet to get competitive in three attempts over a mile, while Jocks Wa Hae should benefit from the drop in trip but both career wins so far have come over nine furlongs on better ground than likely to encounter today. Gone With The Wind (E/W if 9/2+)
15:30 Newton Abbot
Six runners are due to go to post in this competitive looking handicap chase. Michael and Tom Scudamore team up here looking to get stable star Next Sensation back on track. A winner of the Grand Annual Chase at Cheltenham last year, the nine year old gelding has since embarked on a ten race winless streak – something which has seen his handicap mark plummet from 151 to today’s 129. I feel this hefty 22lb drop has left Next Sensation primed to strike. His latest outing at Cartmel hinted at a return to form, forcing the pace in typical fashion, only an untimely tumble three fences out prevented him troubling the judges again. We have to take it on trust that this fall has not left a mental scar but jumping is usually a forte of this front runner. Current odds of 9/4 look fair and hopefully Next Sensation can jump out from the front and dominate this small field. Next Sensation (WIN)
Another small field of six here for this 1m 2f maiden stakes. The distance represents a significant step up for all bar Spring Jig and we may see some considerable improvement for it from these two year olds. For me the most likely beneficiary is Jive Talking. The filly is a half Sister to 107 rated Qatari Hunter (a winner over 10f and running up to 12f). She has shown signs of ability in her first two outings over 7f, shaping as though further will suit. The latter of those runs in particular looks as though it was an above average maiden, with no less than three subsequent winners emerging from it. Current odds have Spring Jig as a 11/10 favourite, however I feel Jive Talking is a potential improver here and odds of 9/4 represent a good alternative. Jive Talking (WIN)
Another field short on numbers but high on quality. This 6f sprint includes admirable speedsters Danzeno and Jack Dexter. It’s fair to say that neither are at the heights of their powers anymore but both still retain enough ability to compete in the upper echelons of the sprinting sphere. Danzeno in particular looks dangerously well treated in this conditions stakes, rated 4lbs clear of Ascription but carrying the same weight. Odds of Evens reflect this and we should expect him to go close. However, given the likely heavy going I prefer Jack Dexter for betting purposes and odds of 4/1 represent a bit of value. This seven year old mud lark has not had his ground since last winning in November of last year. I feel this is key to him whilst asking serious questions of some of his opponents. His last few runs have been respectable in hotly contested handicaps and Scot Jim Goldie will be keen to take advantage of underfoot conditions and notch up a local victory. Jack Dexter (WIN)
All three of today’s selections come from outside of England with the first up in Scotland at Musselburgh.
The third race on the card sees nine runners set to lineup for a five furlong handicap where four of them are previous course and distance winners, one of which is the current market leader Vimy Ridge. The Alan Bailey trained four year old is burdened with top weight but the gelding finds himself back in class five company for the first time in four outings. A very encouraging fifth of twenty one at Ayr last time out reads like very good form but the fact the horse hasn’t won on turf since July 2014 (35 starts back) doesn’t fill me with a great deal of confidence and at 7/2 is avoided today.
Royal Brave has put in a tonne of consecutive performances without finding itself in the winners enclosure, the proverbial bridesmaid tag seems like a hard one to shake and the likelihood is it’ll find another too good.
The horse I’m siding with returns to the scene of it’s previous turf success off a lower handicap mark after finishing third of nineteen in a very competitive handicap at Ayr. Trainer Paul Midgley has bagged a few winners lately and I’m hoping One Boy can get back to winning ways in a less competitive race. One Boy (E/W if 9/2+)
We break up our two selection’s in Scotland to take in a trip to Ireland to focus on a Group 2 two year old race.
It may seem an obvious choice but with Ballydoyle saddling four of the seven expected runners I’m trusting Ryan Moore’s decision and going for the favourite Capri.
A horse that finds itself close to the head of the betting for next years Epsom Derby and looks to have a tonne of potential.
Capri’s price perhaps doesn’t look like great value but probably represents its chances.
Exemplar looks Aidan O’Brien’s second string but still has a good chance however basing things off jockey bookings it looks as if the best it can hope for is to finish behind its stable mate.
The best horse away from Ballydoyle’s contingent looks to be Dermot Weld’s Firey Speech who finished second at Leopardstown last time out but in all honesty that form doesn’t loo up to scratch to compete with the favourite. Capri (WIN)
A return to Musselburgh but unlike our first selection today we end with a long distance handicap.
Jonny Delta is currently priced at 12/1 and that looks mightily generous for a previous course and distance winner who now sits at a handicap mark nineteen pounds lower than when he last claimed victory. The same can be said of Jammy Moment who is also a former course and distance victor. Both look to have chances better than their odds suggest but I feel they’re likely to come behind a few of these today.
The current favourite Asian Wing looks to go close however recent form has left a lot to be desired. The seven year old won in August last year but still remains at a higher weight than it was that day so a lot has to be taken on trust that Daniel Tudhope’s mount will grab the win today.
The horse that gets the nod is Noel Wilson’s four year old Ghostly Arc who has won here at Musselburgh previously. The horse runs over a trip that’s five furlongs higher than its previous success but did well over fourteen furlongs last time out. I’m hoping the gelding can go close today and at least pick up place money. Ghostly Arc (E/W if 9/2+)
The first race on Channel 4 is the Royal Lodge Stakes and it seems an open affair between the three at the top of the market.
Best Of Days was a narrow second in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes after being collared close home. The third from that race, Lockheed, managed a third in a Group 1, to advertise the form. With the way the tank emptied at York leaves you wondering if the extra furlong would suit or whether he hit the front too soon. If the stalls are where they were yesterday then stall eight looks to be on the wrong side.
Douglas Macarthur got off the mark on his second start winning a maiden that doesn’t look to be working out too well. He then was pitched into a Group 3 but trying to make all he was well seen off finishing third, which put pay to a Derby run. If he has matured he could be the one from stall one and his running style should suit this track. However the way he found little on the last day would worry you if taken on for the lead and when coming up the hill in the closing stages.
Montataire is the one I’m siding with despite the big step up in grade. He ran away with a Listed race at Salisbury when running over this trip for the first time and it looked to bring the best out of him. He’s progressed nicely all summer and could make it two from two at this distance. The quick ground should suit him and he is one that will go forward in typical Mark Johnston style. He is bred to be better over a trip, so this could top the season in nice fashion but we could still see the best of him in the future. Montataire (E/W if 9/2+)
14:35 Market Rasen
The first of our two trips to Lincolnshire for a Listed Handicap Hurdle over two miles where last year’s winner returns to the track.
Cloonacool has been off for 184-days but claimed this race when fresh last year, so don’t let the absence put you off. That suggests Stuart Edmunds will have him tuned up and ready to go to defend his crown off a 3lb higher mark. He ended last season over fences putting in some creditable performances and on that evidence you’d suggest this is just a prelude for a campaign over the bigger obstacles.
Red Tornado won the big Listed Summer Hurdle and made it five consecutive wins over hurdles. He seems quite a speedy type but one who could potentially get further. The worry today is the fact he carries top weight and was keen on the last day. If he pulls in this one that he could blow his chances under 5lb conditional Bridget Andrews.
A chance is taken on Thunder Sheik for Nigel Twiston-Davies, who had a few winners up at Perth over their two-day meeting. This eight year old is just 1lb higher than his last of two wins at the back end last season – both came in good fashion at Newbury and Haydock respectively. He ran 92-days ago at Cartmel when well beaten but that is a bit of a specialist track for which he’s been dropped 3lb. At his price he is worth siding with in this sort of field. Thunder Sheik (E/W)
The Cheveley Park Stakes has been highly anticipated because of the presence of Lady Aurelia.
Wes Ward’s unbeaten filly scorched the Royal Ascot turf when comfortably claiming the Queen Mary Stakes. She was then sent to Deauville and made all in the Prix Morny and up against five rivals should be able to dictate the fractions, which we’ve seen so far this week is crucial on the Rowley Mile. There were questions about the soft ground at Royal Ascot but she’s by Scat Daddy whose progeny seem to go on all ground.
The Frankel filly Queen Kindly has won three of her four starts. She re-opposes Brave Anna, who beat her in the Albany Stakes, whilst she also faces off against Roly Poly, who she beat at York. The drying ground has come in her favour however the way she races out at the back might not be suited to the way this race might unfold considering very little has come off the pace this week. She does have a turn of foot but if surrendering ground early on could leave her with too much to do to catch Lady Aurelia.
You have to feel Roly Poly would be the one to pose an early threat to Lady Aurelia from the stalls. She’s one that races forward, so could have track position to claim the second prize and I think she can reverse form with Queen Kindly if Ryan Moore gets her into a good stride straight from the gates. Holy Cat is the least exposed in this field but has plenty of improving to do to trouble the main protagonists. Lady Aurelia (WIN)
15:10 Market Rasen
The Listed Handicap Chase looks a tricky puzzle to solve but again there could be some logic behind the Nigel Twiston-Davies runner.
Ballykan is arguably still ahead of the handicapper on the basis of his run three starts ago at Stratford. He was leading approaching the last and ran out unseating Daryl Jacob with the win at his mercy. The handicapper kept him on that mark for his run at Perth for which he took advantage of. For me he would have won at Stratford meaning he is a few pounds well in. He has a high cruising speed and travels well, so if handling the step up in class could run a big race.
Vintage Vinnie might find the trip on this track too sharp. He’s more of a staying type with wins being just short of three miles. Rebecca Curtis gave him a spin over hurdles 18-days ago and he was a comfortable winner what was a weak race but this is far more competitive. He does look well weighted in this one, so could pose a threat but the trip is still a concern. There could be a nice race in him but if it’s this one I’m not sure.
Father Edward won on stable debut for David Pipe overcoming an eight-month absence and he did it in good style. The handicapper has hit him with a 12lb hike in the weights, so needs a career best but he is still unexposed over the larger obstacles. The other one to consider is Presenting Arms in the first time cheekpieces. He consistently runs his race without getting his head in front. At Southwell when behind Ballykan he was outpaced but stayed on late to claim third. He may want a further trip but Harry Fry has put the cheekpieces on him to see if it can spark him into winning. Ballykan (E/W)
One horse will be all the rage in the Middle Park Stakes and that will be Blue Point.
Godolphin’s charge was a very impressive winner in the Gimcrack and he looks a top quality horse in the making with the way he travelled through the race before putting it to bed. William Buick spoke very highly of the horse after that success and you have to feel he’ll be hard to beat by the manner of victory that day.
Mehmas has got the better of Blue Point this season, however there were excuses for Charlie Appleby’s runner that day. That came in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood where Blue Point had to make his own running and hung allowing a strong finishing Mehmas past. This son of Acclamation has since been tried at the top table over in Ireland finishing second to the smart Churchill over a furlong further. The return to this trip is a positive but Richard Hannon’s horse are hit and miss, so is hard to weigh up in those terms. He is usually consistent and is the obvious threat, so if getting quarter the odds you can get him at just over evens to place.
Mokarris followed Blue Point home at York he showing he can mix it in this sort of company. His only disappointment came at Royal Ascot where the ground was against him and when you see his movement you can see why a sound, quick surface will suit him better. I do think this son More Than Ready will be suited by this testing track, so at a double figure price could be one to hit the frame. He is one to keep an eye on in the finish because he could make a good miler next season. Blue Point (WIN)
Get the pin ready! Yesterday’s Silver Cambridgeshire proved that it is a fair track with the winner coming on the near side from stall 18, but those who placed came far side and raced on the far rail. The last three winners are all in this 35-runner field – Third Time Lucky (2015), Bronze Angel (2012 & 2014) and Educate (2013).
Third Time Lucky is the obvious one having won this race last year under Adam Beschizza. His first two efforts this season were disappointing ones in the formbook but Richard Fahey has probably held this as the long-term target, so the return to form at York last month will be encouraging. Adam McNamara is on board and he showed how useful his 5lb claim is when winning the Ebor and that will help this four year old to try and defend his crown.
There’s a race of this nature in Carry On Deryck, who won in Meydan in February over a mile and did it assertively in the end. Since his return to these shores things haven’t really gone to plan but quick ground here and this trip could see him back to his best and I think he can get involved. Stablemate Very Talented is an unexposed three year old and his effort at Ascot earlier this month looked like a potential prep race for this. He has been progressing well and is potentially better than his mark. From a draw towards the far side could be worth having on side.
Knight Owl won over track and trip in April under a good ride from George Wood and they could stake a claim in this open race, however I do think he would prefer some cut in the ground. Banksea is one that has won over further, so this sort of race should play into his stamina and he is one that is in contention.
Sir Mark Prescott has won this race three times in the past and his Celestial Path is a runner of interest. He was out of his depth in a Group 3 last time but his run at York three starts ago suggested he has a race in him at around this distance. The drying ground should suit and it is interesting to see the tongue-tie and cheekpieces combination on for the first time. We know the trainer can plot a horse, so is worth watching in the markets.
Erik The Red has been an unlucky horse this season. In a number of races he’s travelled powerfully before being caught in a pocket or not getting the splits. If this is the sort of race for him I’m not so sure. Interconnection is a huge price after a decent enough run at Epsom off this mark last time. He won at this track in May, so we know he comes up the hill. Josephine Gordon is on board claiming 3lb, which could be potentially useful for this five year old.
First Sitting looks overpriced in my book. A five year old with plenty of stamina, so will be suited by the way this race unfolds. He was second at Saint Cloud in a Listed race when last seen, so the handicapper has put him up 6lb for that good effort. He will need a career best here but he gets on well with James Doyle (two wins), is ground versatile and has some solid efforts in big fields. Very Talented (E/W) Celestial Path (E/W) First Sitting (E/W)
A competitive looking renewal of the listed Rosemary Stakes over a mile.
Said Bin Suroor is going through some what of a renaissance period form wise at the minute and comes in here with a really strong chance of enhancing that golden run here. Last year’s Rockfel hero triumphed on this card 12 months ago, but has failed to build on that since then. Took advantage of a good opportunity to land a Group 3 in Turkey last time out though, and despite carrying a penalty for that, probably has the strongest form in the field on its best days so a bold bid is expected.
An interesting foe comes from the William Haggas yard in the form of Muffri’Ha. The four-year-old drops back to the mile after not quite getting the 1m2f trip last time out, but was fourth in this race last year in a stronger renewal and the assistance of Ryan Moore combined with the yard’s current form would give him an each way chance, but big worry that he has yet to place at this level in three previous attempts at this level.
The answer to this one may lie with Ralph Beckett’s Desert Haze, who gets a healthy weight allowance from the main protagonists and is still very lightly raced. The talented three-year-old has progressed with every run and produced a solid fourth in a listed contest at Chantilly last time out. The application of first time blinkers may just eek out the necessary progression to make the frame here and it gets the each way nod in the opener at a massive double figure price. Desert Haze (E/W)
The 1m4f Nayef Stakes is another competitive looking Listed contest where all eyes will be on the two market principals.
The likely favourite will be the John Gosden trained Journey who romped to an eight-length success in this race twelve months ago, but this is a stronger renewal. Frankie Dettori gets the leg up on the horse who has the clear highest rating in the field based on Group 1 second at Ascot and the fact she comes alive at this time of year. This race has been dominated by three year old winners in recent times, but despite going down to her rival earlier in the season, is weighted to turn things around this time over her preferred trip and so Journey gets the confident nod.
That main rival in question, is Godolphin’s Beautiful Romance. The aforementioned win over the selection came when winning a Group 2 at York in May, but now has to concede weight all round including to Journey if she is to prevail here and that looks a big ask given her out of sorts runs the last twice.
Another interesting contender has to be the Luca Cumani trained Beautiful Morning who looked a useful sort when improving to record a decent second for the step up to 1m2f at Newbury last time out and this lightly raced filly could find yet more improvement for the further step up in trip. The only worry is how fragile she is, and absence since that promising run has to be a major worry. Journey (WIN)
All eyes in this one will be on the progressive daughter of the mighty Frankel, as Fair Eva takes her chance to get back to winning ways after her stunning first ever loss in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes last time out. Roger Charlton’s horse has smashed two re-opposing rivals in her previous outings and even her third last time out sets a clear standard that makes her hard to beat here. This is a solid opportunity for the talented filly to recoup her losses and so with more to come from her in the hands of the capable Pat Smullen, she gets the confident nod to prevail here.
Glitter Girl did it nicely last time out as she completed the hat trick with a ready win in a nursery, so she deserves this step up in levels, but it is perhaps telling that Ryan Moore deserts her in favour of Sir Michael Stoute’s unexposed and unbeaten Yarmouth maiden winner Exmouth. The former champion jockey’s mount is completely unexposed after getting on top close home over 6f last time out, but the form of that race has not worked out the best, so the step up to 7f would have to unlock substantial improvement to trouble the red-hot favourite. Fair Eva (WIN)
David O’Meara’s Custom Cut has been first and second in the last two runnings of this race and is well fancied for this year’s renewal, but this time around looks much tougher. The horse was only just touched off by classic winner Awtaad last time out at Leopardstown, which is probably some of the best recent form on offer. Stablemate Amazing Maria, however, may be the better option for the yard as she is a dual Group 1 winner and despite being off the boil this season, has previously run well on this track in Group 2 company before.
The John Gosden trained Nasra could be a danger to all if reproducing the form that saw her finish second in the French 1000 Guineas. The filly was also runner up over course and distance last season in the Fillies Mile, but main concern for her is her absence since a disappointing run at Ascot last time out.
It may pay to take a chance on the Hugo Palmer trained Gifted Master in this one. The horse has only ever ran over today’s trip once before, but luckily that equated to a victory over course and distance. It is entirely possible that shorter is ideal for this speedster, but he had no problem staying the trip in a decent Group 3 contest previously and can set the tempo from the front in this one with chance to give his rivals the slip here, so he gets the Each way nod. Gifted Master (E/W)