Tara Road must be held in quite some regard at home given he was thrown into a deep novice chase on his seasonal bow last time at Chepstow, he failed to produce anything of note in the event but its possible the former point to point winner was just being given a prep for this. Rebecca Curtis rarely books craic Irish jockey Barry Geraghty without good reason though and given the company he faces today back over hurdles, a return to form looks on the books. Changeofluck could do with just that having finished a runner up on three of his last four starts, he looks to be on a decent mark though and must be respected on handicap debut today. Others with chances are Broughtons Warrior and the hat trick seeking Lightentertainment, both however are passed over in favour of the somewhat puzzling Curtis challenger Tara Road.
Tara Road (E/W if 5/1+)
Mark Johnston complicates matters here by saddling two, Triple Dip looks to be his second string on jockey bookings but having shown a liking for the forecast soft ground at Nottingham last time improvement can be expected again on handicap debut. The yards other challenger comes in the form of the Joe Fanning ridden Yorkidding who was very impressive when scoring on her second start at Hamilton, subsequently she ran in a hot sales race here the last day without cutting much ice. The seven furlong trip may have been insufficient that day though as she appeared to get badly outpaced mid race. Todays rivals are likely to be much easier and the step up in trip looks likely to suit, trading currently at 10/1 she is selected in the hope of running into at least a place. Shadow Rock beat the re-opposing Secateur by a neck last time at Goodwood, there is likely to be little to separate the pair again today and both are respected but perhaps the biggest danger to the selection is the much improved Dark Wave, who comes here in search of a four timer.
This looks an interesting and highly competitive fillies listed race on paper with most of them holding a chance of sorts. Encore L’ Amour has to be considered the form choice having finished close up in a Group three at Deauville last time, the form has to be considered suspect given they finished in a heap that day but she’s clearly quite useful and ought to be bang their in this. Godolphin challengers have a very good record here and their horses are flying at present, Bitter Lake represents them in this. She won fairly easily here over six furlongs on soft ground on debut before running a decent race at Royal Ascot, he absence since then has to leave question marks and she can only be watched as a result. Lady Of Dubai barely broke sweat when winning over course and distance last time having shown ability on her previous two starts. Luca Cumani’s decision to give her a six week break after that strongly indicates that this has been the plan and she is taken to go in again, with further progression looking assured. Irish Rookie caused a major upset when winning at 50/1 here on debut, it didn’t look a fluke though and with her yard firing respect must be given.
Lady Of Dubai (WIN)
by Chris Connolly