A few of these met here last month with Blond Me coming out on top in a tight finish Montalcino, Black Cherry was a few lengths back having met trouble in the run and was sent off a heavily backed favourite. Despite Black Cherry looking to have a decent chance of finishing closer there is still little reason to expect the form to be reversed and whilst Montalcino is heavily respected, a chance is taken that Blond Me will uphold the form as she looks to have more scope. Talmada wouldn’t have to improve to take a hand in this but has been slightly disappointing this term and whilst Evita Peron has claims, she will have to show more than when winning the last day.
Blond Me (WIN)
This looks deep and almost every runner has a good chance if arriving here at anything like their best. Crowd favourite Top Notch Tonto is probably the most exposed yet has nothing to find to go close, agonisingly nailed late over 10f here the last day he has every chance of holding them all at bay this time and the drop in trip is most definitely in his favour. Potential overnight rain would be another positive for the popular Ellison challenger and with that in mind, he could well make a deserved return to the winners enclosure. GM Hopkins disappointed the last day having landed a huge pot at Ascot the time before, that last defeat can probably be forgotten however as the draw was unkind and although we are taking him on, he has every chance of proving up to the job. Basem is a nice sort whom has improved with racing, he doesn’t do anything very quick however and although the ground could bring him firmly into the equation, I just have a niggly doubt he wont be good enough. Mondialiste is from a yard that excel here, that been said however the yard has had some costly failures and although he produced a demolition job the last day, this is deeper. Gabrial is consistent and more than capable of causing a shock but the dark horse is the twice raced Convey whom probably lacked the experience to win last time and hung. With that experience under his belt and as he is so lightly raced, he is handed the vote to come good.
Unfortunately for me, this looks another massively competitive race and discarding any out of hand would be folly. Hugo Palmer took this last season and punters will likely flock to back his twice raced They Seek Him Here this time around. A good winner on debut he looked all at sea at Newmarket last time and although he clearly has chances, the memory of that run is off putting and his price is likely to be skinny enough. Dream Destination is another with two runs to his name and his win over 5f here the last day strongly hinted that he would appreciate a stiffer test. Clearly in a much better race today he will have to improve but course form is a positive and he could reward the each way players at double figure odds. Beaverbrook is exposed but very tough, he has a bit to find with They Seek Him Here but the Johnston yard is still producing winners and he may attempt to pinch this from the front. Manaafidh, Mr Wizard and Pythius are others in with chances and the rest too have hope but a chance will be taken on Dream Destination to make course experience tell.
Dream Destination (E/W)
Yet another highly competitive race to sink our teeth into where once again the majority have a shout of some sort. Hernandoshideaway made good use of the weight concession of Penhill at Pontefract last time and looks a sort to be going places, his yard are firing and it was agonising for me overlook him but he wasn’t overly convincing and this is very hot. Should he prove me wrong it would hardly be a shock and his chance is still strong despite the omission. Outspoken is very interesting for Aiden O’Brien and still has an entry in Leger, a few of the yards have misfired however and his form is hard to weigh up, despite all that he warrants major respect and could prove too good for a handicap. Yorkidding has been on the go for a long while and is as hard as nails. This trip will hold no fears for her but it would be disappointing if one so exposed won so despite being respected, she is taken on. Luca Cumani is double handed but King Bolette has had easier chances and may be a little too exposed to take this. The yards other runner, Al is totally different however and totally unexposed having only had a handful of runs. Strong over 1m4f at Newmarket the last day he was still very green and looks to be the typical well handicapped Cumani sort, useful claimer Cam Hardie takes the ride and with that in mind and lurking off a low mark, he can swoop late and take the prize. Wonder Laish comes here having won by a street at Lingfield last time and is another unexposed type, quite what he beat the last day is very questionable but he was impressive and his yard is on fire. Botany Bay needs to improve on a few efforts this season but is from a shrewd yard and is probably the most interesting of the outsiders.
Al (E/W if 9/2+)
Green Light was all dressed up with no place to go at Haydock last time, his finishing position is worth totally ignoring and a big show is on the cards today. Having showed a good attitude when winning at Nottingham a few starts back he makes plenty of appeal here and although he will need the gaps to appear, he is taken to gain compensation for that luckless effort the last day. Exosphere bitterly disappointed when getting bogged down in the ground last time but had earlier made a decent impression, the ground must be a concern for his fans today but he could bounce back is worthy of consideration for his powerful yard. Mount Logan finally got his head in front at Goodwood last time and is more than capable of following up despite the penalty, his liking for softer ground could well be a major factor in this and he deserves the main danger tag. Flag War and Basateen are others with are others with clear chances and an outsider to keep an eye on Spark Plug who is almost impossible to predict yet talented on his day.
Green Light (E/W if 9/2+)
King Of Rooks went into Royal Ascot as one of my bankers having trotted up at Sandown the time before, in the Ascot race however things went wrong as he and a stablemate went off too quickly. Fancied to go in the last day, things rather went wrong again as his draw probably ruined his chance, his effort was still a nice one however and the winner that day looks extremely smart. Providing Frankie can settle him today he looks to hold major claims but his excuses are wearing thin and he isn’t for me despite being an obvious player. Finnegan could be anything and his winning effort at Pimlico last time was eye catching, his yard don’t visit the UK for the scenery and the yards Acapulco ran a cracker in yesterdays Nunthorpe. My issue with him despite all the positives is the potential slow ground and although harsh, I would prefer a UK based jockey. Either way he could be too good but his price like a few others on the card, is likely to be too short. Buratino was slightly disappointing in when 3rd at the Curragh last time, he is by far the one to beat on the book but he has had his share of racing and it would be some training feat if he were to win. Ajaya and Steady Pace have the form to play a part but a speculative chance will be taken on Raucous. Unbeaten in two races he has only beaten a handful of rivals but looked promising the last day and the pace here should be run to suit, the yard has also had a few winners at the meeting and although its a total stab in the dark, he may be fresher than a few.
A visit to Chester is hardly what was needed on such a competitive day for me but this is extremely competitive and should be a good race to watch. Often horses with high draws are worth taking on blind here but with many course specialists in attendance it would be once again, folly to overlook any. Last seasons winner Ocean Tempest has struggled for a while now and arrives here a whopping 13lbs below the mark he took this off, his effort at Goodwood last time was another in the stinker category but he looks like he might have been plotted for this and despite the likelihood of him being a double figure price, he is taken to be heavily gambled and can retain the prize. Clockmaker has also won this before and shouldn’t be totally discounted, he has a terrible draw however and luck will be needed in the run. Gabrial’s Kaka has run well here before and is owned by Marwan Koukash who loves to have winners here, he like Apostle ( Same Owner ) looks the type to have been aimed at this and both are heavily respected. Third Time Lucky has the plumb draw and will surely have plenty of use made of him, his profile is also appealing but it will take some effort to make all in this. Marcet is another to like it here, he is another with chances as are Sound Advice, Flash Fire and Cape Rosso.
Ocean Tempest (WIN)
The feature of the meeting closes the action in the shape of the Ebor and as usual for this race there are plenty of runners and plenty of them have chances. To try and keep it brief it would be easy to say expect anything but we must concentrate on a few so here goes. Notarised has picked up a few big pots this term and like stable-companion Watersmeet, could be the pace angles of the race. Should both get into a rhythm then they could be very hard to peg back and both have major chances. The Irish challenge is frightening and Quick Jack has threatened to land a major UK handicap before, its almost ridiculous how well he seems to be handicapped and having beaten yesterdays Yorkshire Cup winner Max Dynamite last time his chance is obvious and very strong. Fellow Irish raider and stable companions Clondaw Warrior and Wicklow Brave hail from the Mullins yard, its especially interesting that Frankie gets the leg up on the first mentioned and both are big players. Fields Of Athenry is another Irish challenger and is probably class horse of the race, he could find this tough being a three year old however and despite there being a distinct possibility this could be an Irish shut-out, all of their major form players are priced up accordingly. Arab Dawn was hampered repeatedly in the run last time and is best forgiven, a reproduction of his Ascot win would put him bang there and as he offers value at the odds he is handed a very tentative vote. Wadi Al Hattawi is game and showed a tremendous attitude when winning here last time, his yard have done well in handicaps and he has a chance. Ajman Bridge represents the Cumani yard and their record in this is as good as any. Frustrating for the most part he often finds plenty of trouble in the run but his yards knack of picking up major handicaps is a major positive, he is also handed a vote to play a part in the finish of what looks an ultra competitive renewal.
Arab Dawn (E/W)
Ajman Bridge (E/W)