Wordcraft made a taking debut over this course and distance at the end of May and the form has begun to work out extremely well with the likes of Bella Nostalgia, Rosslare and Althania all shedding their maiden tags subsequently. He followed up that success with another faultless display at Kempton next time where he saw off the re-opposing Aljafer and he is fully expected to confirm that form here. Godolphin have a decent enough strike rate at what is their local track and Will Buick keeps the ride on this exciting son of Shamardal.
Angel Vision was a game winner at this track when last seen out. Ted Durcan was on board for that success but loses out to Ryan Moore this afternoon. He is clearly going the right way and will prove popular in the market due to the fact that he is trained by Sir Michael Stoute. With his stamina assured he is likely to be staying on when others have cried enough and he rates as the main danger. Mark Johnston has already seen his runners grace the winners enclosure on what was the first day of this meeting. Enlace is his sole representative here and he is the highest rated runner in the line-up. He has to give weight away all around as a result but he still commands respect given the current form of the yard.
Wordcraft looks a talented induvidual though and he can continue on an upward curve. If taking this black type races surely lay in wait and he could prove a class above these more exposed rivals.
Illuminate is taking the same route that Richard Hannon took with Memory in trying to win this race for the second time in five years. The undefeated daughter of Zoffany had far too much in hand of Ashadihan and Elegant Supermodel in the Albany at Royal Ascot. She likes to sit off a strong pace before making her move late on and Richard Hughes will be keen to deploy similar tactics in the small but select field.
Easton Angel ran with any amount of credit when finishing runner up to the classy Acapulco in the Queen Mary. She saw off the re-opposing Kurland, Besharah, Rah Rah and Silk Bow and can confirm places with those rivals once again. There wasn’t much between the finishing times of Easton Angel and the selection at Royal Ascot and there is unlikely to be much between them at the end of this race too. It is the Hannon filly who is preferred though given that the yard know exactly what it takes to win this race.
Blue Bayou may have only been to the racetrack once before but she won in fairly convincing fashion when seeing off the likes of Basma and White Witch at Haydock. Brian Meehan has been quick to engage the services of Ryan Moore and she too has each way claims.
Illuminate looks to be one of the juveniles to follow this year and she still holds an entry for the Group One Moyglare Stakes at the Curragh in September. She is clearly fully at home on a fast surface and she has to command utmost respect. She looks the one that they all have to beat.
Kiyoshi looked to be in need of the run on what was her seasonal reappearance at LIngfield back at the end of May. She is fully entitled to improve for that effort and much better can be expected today. Oisin Murphy is likely to know a bit more about her this afternoon having partnered her in that first race of the year. His mount is already proven at this level having won a Group Three at Doncaster last September and importantly that also came on a rain softened surface.
Newsletter crosses the Irish Sea in the hope that her weight for age allowance will be enough to see her scoop the pot. She is a remarkably consistent filly and she has not finished outside of the first three places in any race so far this term. Any further rain that falls is certainly in her favour and she will prove a live threat off what is a featherweight here.
Interception relished the huge field at Royal Ascot when winning the Wokingham Handicap. This is the toughest opposition that she has faced to date though and she will need to take another step forward to get involved here. New Providence has beaten the selection before however she has yet to race on a surface as soft as today’s. She should find this drop in grade much more to her liking, but it wouldn’t be the biggest of surprises to see her in the thick of the action.
Charlie Hills is beginning to get his horses to fire now and Kiyoshi is likely to have been well schooled in preparation for this. She would not need to improve a great deal in order to figure amongst this in and out bunch of rivals and she commands utmost respect.
Lucida looks to have plenty in her favour today and she can atone for an unlucky run at Royal Ascot last time. She was doing all of her best work in the closing stages and only lost out by around a half length in the end. She loves to hear her hooves rattle on a sound surface so she is likely to have her ground again this afternoon. She already has the beating of Arabian Queen and is expected to confirm that form here. Jim Bolger has his string in excellent shape and Lucida’s previous course and distance efforts should stand her in good stead.
Avenir Certain looks to be the most likely of the French raiders to appreciate the good ground. She certainly looked to be coming back to somewhere near her best when chasing home Fintry in a Group Three race at Chantilly last month. This will be her first race in the UK but if handling the travel over then she looks to be the biggest threat to the selection. Integral was a good winner of this race last season where she readily saw off the re-opposing Fintry. She has not looked anywhere near the same animal so far this season and Sir Michael Stoute will be hoping that a return to this track will spark a most welcome return to form.
Lucida gets weight from all of her older rivals this afternoon and a repeat of her recent efforts should be good enough to see her home in front.
Mukhmal was an easy winner over this course and distance two starts ago where he saw off many a decent type including Kickboxer and Barracuda Boy. He was then sent up to York to contest a similar handicap and whilst acquitting himself well, the ground turned against him and he could finish only sixth. This faster ground should be much more to his liking today and it would not be the biggest of surprises if he were to reverse recent form with the likes of Grandads World and Magical Memory.
Navigate was a convincing winner at Chester earlier in the year and the form of the race has been well advertised since by the likes of Northgate Lad and Roudee. His effort at Haydock last time is best forgotten as he may not have enjoyed the smaller field. The hustle and bustle of this cavalry charge should reinvigorate him and he is one of many dangers. Mullionheir is another rival that has been in the form of his life recently. Wins at Windsor and Lingfield prove he is as capable on turf as what he had previously shown on the all weather tracks.
It is worth bearing in mind that no favourite has won this race in the last decade so it often pays to look for decent priced alternatives. Mark Johnston has already hit the ground running this week and his runners are worthy of a second look. Paul Hanagan takes the ride for the first time since last September on this three year old and they should be capable of a decent display.