TV TIPS (FRIDAY)
Despite this being the all-weather marathon over two miles you have to feel the draw and jockeyship will all play a part here.
Godolphin have two in the filly Natural Scenery and Winning Story. The former receives a sex allowance from her male counterparts and comes here in fantastic form with two wins, both at Newcastle, with the most recent rather taking on the eye. However the pair are drawn in 11 and 12 respectively, so you wouldn’t want them getting too far back. Winning Story has Silvestre de Sousa on board, so many will be banking on a bit of magic from the former champion jockey.
Cohesion steps up in trip but won very nicely at Wolverhampton last time when facing a couple of these rivals. That was just his third start for David Bridgwater and there could be more to come now upped in trip given the strong finishing effort. If Ryan Moore can drop him in in midfield then you feel he’ll play a hand in the finish.
Two at prices that look interesting are First Mohican, who won over track and trip when last seen. Alan King’s charge ran in this last year finishing fourth after giving away ground at the start. The other to note is Steve Rogers, who has place claims under Andrea Atzeni.
Cohesion (E/W if 9/2+)
The Fillies’ and Mares’ Conditions Stakes looks between two of the fast track qualifiers in the shape of Muffri’Ha and Ashadihan.
William Haggas’ five year old returns from Meydan where she was banging her head against a wall with a string of thirds to he name in group races over further than this. She’s down in trip here and with how she’s raced over further it’ll be about trying to dictate and make all from stall one with her extra bit of stamina.
Ashadihan won at Chelmsford in February to blow the cobwebs of winter away doing it in very stylish fashion. The four year old has that extra bit of pace and speed about her, which is something that could suit her here against her main rival. She’s already won a Group 3 around here, so handles the polytrack and ticks plenty of boxes.
At a huge price is Make Music for Andrew Balding. She is only on a mark of 85 but thrives around the Lingfield with her last three wins all coming around this track meaning she has won three in four on the synthetics here. If David Probert can keep her in touch then hopefully she will show her speed late on to steal a place.
A competitive seven furlong handicap where you can argue a case for plenty of these. Inaam is the one that brings the most recent form here having won here twice, including over a mile in February. He’s inching up the weights but the way he saw out the race last time suggested that this 2lb rise shouldn’t be an issue.
David O’Meara’s pair are noteworthy with Short Work having his first start for the trainer since his move from Ralph Beckett and there are parts of his form that make you think he could be in with a shout, especially the third at Chester in June. Mon Beau Visage has a course and distance win to his name but needs to prove himself in this grade.
The tentative vote goes to John Quinn’s Safe Voyage, who has thrived since running here with two wins and a second amongst those to his name. The recent second was ran at a decent clip and that form took a boost with the third recently winning. Josh Quinn takes 7lb off from the saddle and he’s won on this son of Fast Company over track and trip in the past, so in what could be a steadily run race take this useful four year old to hit the frame at the very least.
Safe Voyage (E/W)
Pretend won this race two years ago but has work to do from stall 12 over this six furlong trip with the bend coming up fairly quickly after the off. It’ll have to be a patient ride from Adam Kirby but he’s got his work cut out. Kimbrella got off to a winning start for Richard Fahey and holds claims back here.
From a pace perspective this could be ran at a strong tempo with Mythmaker and Sign Of Kodiac drawn in stall one and two respectively, so they are likely to take each other on for strong fractions.
These seem to be Lancelot Du Lac’s optimum conditions and he is likely to try to stalk the pace. He enjoys it around here and flew home last year from a poor draw for second. However Royal Birth beat him last time, albeit over five furlongs. With a strong pace anticipated then Stuart Williams’ charge can’t be discounted after making it two from two here when winning the said Listed race and there is enough to suggest he will see out the extra furlong with his strong finishing second over it at Ascot in September
Royal Birth (E/W)
To Be Wild looked pretty useful when bolting up at Doncaster to end his season. He is one to hold in high regard this year but with the manner of that victory then he’ll have loftier targets than this on his return and may require the run to get himself ready for a campaign on the turf.
Marco Botti’s Wild Hacked has to be of interest with the way he finished his race off at Kempton on his return 13-days ago. On that occasion he just bumped into a very well handicapped rival in Big Country and if running that sort of race once again then he shouldn’t be too far away.
Erik The Red isn’t the easiest conveyance to win with but he posted a number of good efforts last term, including his closing second behind Prize Money. He’s gone well fresh in the past, so has a chance once more if he wants it. Final ran three-days ago over a trip what I think is short of his best. He finished well from out of the clouds and this is going to be more liking.
Wild Hacked (E/W if 9/2+)
On all known form this should go the way of Ennaadd with the way he cruised around Kempton in a Listed event. When Jack Mitchell asked the question he soon extended and had Sovereign Debt in trouble. That sparkling effort came off the back a 228-day break, so don’t be put off by the break he’s been on. That made it four in a row for this good looking type and he should prove hard to beat.
Qurbaan is unbeaten on synthetic surfaces in his native France and he got the better of Sovereign Debt at Deauville back in December by a narrow margin. He’s drawn next to the likely pace angle in the race (Salateen), so if Dane O’Neill follows him through then he is likely to be in contention.
Adam Kirby and Keystroke get on rather well indeed. They’ve been together on three of the five year olds last four runs with form figures reading 112. He narrowly went down by a nose in Listed company last time out and if able to overcome the wide draw then he is on to have from a place perspective.
This race is about splitting South Seas and Syphax who are both rated 110 after exciting juvenile seasons.
South Seas won his first three and ended his campaign with a creditable effort in the Group 1 Criterium at Saint-Cloud. There is enough in the pedigree to suggest he’ll handle the all-weather surface yet Andrew Balding didn’t sound so sure in an interview. If he’s grown into his frame then he is likely to have a fruitful campaign.
I’m just siding with Syphax here. He was slightly green and outpaced in the early phase of the Acomb but he flew home down the outside to get up on the line for victory. That strong finishing effort suggested that this mile trip is likely to suit and if he’s grown up mentally then he could be a proper tool for this season given there was Breeders Cup talk for last season, which connections swerved.
Utmost got his career off to a winning start at Leicester and we’ve seen some useful types in the past wearing the George Strawbridge silks. The form of that Leicester maiden is working out well with the second and third both subsequent winners. He is one that could be found out by his lack of experience but remains a very nice prospect whatever the outcome here. Volatile has fitness on his side after a third in a group race last time. On bare form he needs a lot more but from a tactical viewpoint he is likely to go from the front.
Second Thought and Sutter County are closely linked on form after their duel over seven furlongs around here last month that saw the former complete his hat trick. William Haggas’ inmate looks to be on the upgrade and with fewer miles on the clock he looks the one they have to beat.
The one who could do just that is the strong travelling sort in the shape of Dubai One. The filly looked a little green when hitting the front at Wolverhampton last time but did enough for victory. With plenty of this field likely to be ridden prominently then they should go a good clip, which is likely to suit this daughter of Exceed And Excel, with Ryan Moore hopefully producing a well-timed challenge.
Richard Hannon’s Tomily had too much speed for Sutter County when scoring over course and distance two starts back and he went well at Newcastle last time. He’s another option from a place perspective.
Dubai Win (E/W if 9/2+)
The admirable Grendisar won this last year and he is one that will want a good pace to aim at. He was a never nearer fifth here last time off slow fractions however this race could pan out similar to that with not too much obvious early speed on offer. Silvestre de Sousa, as we know, is a master from the saddle so will work some magic for him to go well with the cheekpieces back on.
A gelding operation seemed to do the job for Convey when triumphant over track and trip last time out. The five year old was slightly disappointing last season after winning a Pontefract Listed event but came over the top late on for victory despite being green in the early stages. He looks the one here to cause the judge the most problems.
Elbreth has been holding her form well of late but it’s the other mare who gets the nod. Absolute Blast has gone from strength to strength this winter for Archie Watson. She looked the most likely winner at the furlong marker when third here to Convey two starts ago. Luke Morris got the best out of her at Kempton when winning the Magnolia Stakes nipping down the inside to beat Godolphin’s Linguistic. If running to that level of form then she shouldn’t be out of the front three here.
Absolute Blast (E/W if 9/2+)