Major Mac is expected to leave his seasonal debut well and truly behind him this afternoon as he makes only his sixth racecourse appearance. He ran as well as could be expected for a first timer on the fibresand at Southwell last month when finding the likes of Rosenbaum and re-opposing Sirens Cove far too strong. A return to the turf will certainly be in his favour and the yard are enjoying a purple patch at present having sent out seven winners since the beginning of May. Jimmy Fortune retains the ride on this three year old Shirocco gelding and it is likely that they will be seen to much better effect this afternoon.
Stormin Tom was certainly not stopping when running away with a handicap at Nottingham on his most recent start. A further increase in distance is unlikely to dampen his enthusiasm and having only had a handful of career starts, he is open to any amount of improvement. Despite an eleven pound rise in the weights, he is likely to provide the sternest of opposition. Siren’s Cove has been placed on turf in the past but has to give weight away all around this afternoon to several potential improvers. That may not prove the easiest of tasks and Major Mac is weighted to reverse that recent form.
Mark Johnston runners that take a significant step up in distance are always worth keeping an eye on. Nomenklatura is one such runner this afternoon, although she will need to improve upon what she showed at Southwell on her latest run. Silvestre De Sousa rides for the first time this afternoon and they are capable of at least a place. Sampera was not beaten far under similar conditions at Nottingham on her most recent start. It is possible that this step up in distance will be more to her liking but she does look a tricky ride and Paul Hanagan may well have his work cut out.
Major Mac ran with credit the last time that he encountered soft ground and he can go close to shedding his maiden status this afternoon.
Major Mac (E/W)
King Torus is beginning to look like a very well handicapped individual and he makes only his third career start for David O’Meara this afternoon. The seven year old son of Oratorio is as tough as teak and ought to appreciate a return to the track where he recorded his last win. He was well supported when last seen out and endured a torrid run when it mattered most. Danny Tudhope will be keen to atone for that error and much better can be expected this time around. King Torus has form on soft and heavy ground so the surface should not be too much of an inconvenience. The yard won this race last season and he looks to have been specifically targeted at it so he is likely to make his presence felt.
Shared Equity made a more than pleasing seasonal reappearance over this course and distance a few weeks ago. He too is fully at home with cut in the ground and Graham Lee has built up a strong rapport with the four year old. He has been tasked to ride once again and the duo look the likeliest dangers to the selection. Jamaican Bolt loves to get his toe in and at least showed a glimpse of a return to form last time. He is well used to these cavalry charges, but he may well struggle to give weight away all around this afternoon. Twin Appeal has been placed five times in nine starts for David Barron. He is fully entitled to have come on for his most recent run and off a low weight here, he too has to enter calculations. Clearly improving at a rate of knots, he too may be capable of producing a decent effort. King Torus is a talented handicapper on his day and the yard are likely to exploit this lenient mark. Granted a bit more luck in running he looks the one that they all have to beat.
King Torus (WIN)
Shadow Rock was far from disgraced in similar company at Salisbury last weekend. That was his first run in almost six months and the grey colt was doing all of his best work in the closing stages. This slight step up in trip should be ideal and now that he is reunited with Richard Hughes, it would not be the greatest of shocks to see them in the winner’s enclosure at the end of this race. The three year old saw off some useful types on his most recent run including the well regarded Soluble from the Marco Botti yard as well as Purple Rock from the Charlie Hills stable. The front two pulled a few lengths clear of the remainder of their rivals suggesting the form would be worth following.
Quick Defence is likely to start as favourite given that he was only just touched off at Lingfield on his seasonal return. That run will certainly have cleared away any cobwebs and with Ryan Moore engaged to ride they command utmost respect. The main worry any punter should have is that Sir Michael Stoute has only had three winners from his last thirty runners and that is somewhat off-putting. Godolphin come here double handed with Subcontinent and International Name. The former was all out to hold on at Doncaster last time and a further rise in the weights shall not be in his favour. The latter showed nothing on his only appearance on turf last year and has struggled to win worse races on the polytrack throughout the winter. They both look opposable this evening. Stoked improved with each start for Ed Walker last season and looks bound to have improved over the winter period. His best efforts last season came when their was ease in the going and if any rain were to fall, his chances would increase with each drop. This marked step up in trip is an unknown and he will improve on whatever he shows here. Smile That Smile was a somewhat surprise winner on what has been her only career start thus far. The form of that success looks only fair and she may struggle at this level. Shadow Rock should be suited by this return to her trainer’s local track and he has to be high on any shortlist tonight.
Shadow Rock (WIN)