Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Sussex Stakes preview

Glorious Goodwood is a magnificent festival but the highlight of this week is undoubtedly the Sussex Stakes. Traditionally the race where the three year olds take on the older division of star milers for the first time, and what a clash we have in store today. Declan Meagher, @declanmeagher76, casts a discerning eye over this year's classy field. You can read more of his work on his site, LearnBetWin.


Qipco Sussex Stakes – 3.05 Goodwood

The Sussex Stakes rarely gets a double figure fields these days and its the same story tomorrow with just seven set to go to post. It’s still a pretty decent race though and provides us with the third meeting between Dawn Approach and Toronado, with the score 2-0 to the former.

Dawn Approach is clearly a high class colt. His short head defeat of Toronado in the St James Palace Stakes was his fourth Group 1 victory. What he doesn’t appear to be is a superstar though. Yes he has plenty of guts and battles well, but he doesn’t have the turn of foot many top horses have, and is very beatable. After throwing his chance away at Epsom by pulling too hard he was again quite free at Ascot, and there would now have to be a slight concern that he’s going the wrong way. His pacemaker might try go a bit faster here but unless he sits 2nd to him that won’t do much good if the others ignore the pacemaker, and they might. When the favourite has an obvious potential flaw it would be remiss of the others not to try exploit it. Another problem here is Dawn Approach is taking on older horses for the first time, and while last year's three year old milers were a shocking bunch, and himself and Toronado seem a good bit better than that, they are far from vintage. Glory Awaits was 2nd in the Guineas, while Mars who looks pretty ordinary was less than 3l behind them at Ascot after suffering a troubled passage.

Toronado was a little unlucky not to beat Dawn Approach at Ascot. He was held up at the back of the field and was coming into it smoothly when he got badly hampered just over two furlongs down, Dawn Approach also suffered in that melee, but I though it cost Toronado more ground, and also crucially it forced Hughes to take him off the bridle sooner than he would have wanted. The result was a drawn out battle with Dawn Approach and that suited the winner as he is a strong galloper. I’d be pretty confident that without interference Hughes would have waited for longer before committing, and beaten Dawn Approach for speed. If he can give Toronado a ride similar to what he gave The Fugue at Goodwood last year I think he can gain his revenge. The more of a test of speed the race is, the more it will suit him, if Hughes tries kicking to soon, then Dawn Approach will likely beat him again. Hughes rides Goodwood better than anyone, and while I think he should be favourite, I think both the three year old’s are too short.

Declaration of War put his Lockinge flop behind him to prove the money that came for him that day wasn’t misplaced, when he won the Queen Ann at Ascot. That was a poor renewal of that particular race, but he was quite impressive the way he traveled and quickened when he got a gap. Last time out he came second to Al Kazeem in the Eclipse, and while he was only beaten 2l he never really looked like winning, and may not have got second if the third wasn’t hampered. That’s still good form though, and while a line through one horse is a pretty simplistic method of evaluating form, the fact he had Mars 1 3/4L behind him, suggests there’s very little between him and the two three year olds. Mars was slightly further behind them, but that was over a mile which is unlikely to be his best trip, and he also got the run of the race in the Eclipse, when he was up with a steady pace early, were as at Ascot he was blocked in his run at a crucial stage.

Gregorian was less than 2l behind Declaration of War at Ascot but that is as good as he is and the winner looked better than the bare result that day. You could argue 33/1 is still a little big for Gregorian here, but it would be more for the place part of the bet. The same applies to Trade Storm, he probably isn’t quite good enough to win, but his form isn’t far enough behind the two favorites to make him a 40/1 shot. Leitir Mor and Reply are here as pacemakers, and as such are big prices, perhaps too big, as if Manning tries to drop in to get Dawn Approach settled, and Hughes plays a waiting game and to try do him for speed, then the pacemakers might be given too much rope.

The three year olds are probably entitled to be the first two in the market, although I’d have Toronado as the most likely winner, I don’t think he’s a good price though. Official ratings have Dawn Approach only 3lb higher than Declaration of War, and it would be hard to disagree with that assessment. I don’t think that entitles one to be 11/10 with the other 5/1, especially when Declaration Of War looks much more straight forward and should have no problem with the ground if we get more rain. Have the bet with BetVictor who are joint top price, and are refunding €25 of your bet with a free bet if you finish 2nd to the SP favourite on any race at Goodwood. An alternative approach would be to lay both Dawn Approach and Toronado on Betfair, as that way you have the outsiders running for you too, and they do look a little big.


2 pt win Declaration of War at 5/1 BOG with Bet Victor

Monday, 29 July 2013

Lennox Stakes preview

The end of July traditionally means Glorious Goodwood and the Galway Races, all week. Plenty of coverage on the blog hopefully, starting off with Calum Madell's look at the opening day feature, the Lennox Stakes. Follow him on Twitter, @calummadell or read his blog for more - TheYoungRacegoer, several other races covered on day one.


3:05 - bet365 Lennox Stakes (Group 2) (CLASS 1) (3yo+)

If good ground and no rain could be promised then the class act Aljamaaheer would not be a bad price at 11/4. He is the best horse in the race by a decent margin and though hasn’t got the best record in terms of getting his head in front (three wins from 10 but never out of the top four), his last run showed he could win when he deserves to. That was a stronger race than this and I was impressed, though a 4lb penalty wouldn’t make things easy, without doubt he’s the one to beat and there could be more to come too.

Richard Hannon has won this with Paco Boy and Strong Suit in the past six years and has three runners this year, all with at least a chance. I’ve gone all season mixing up Producer and PROFESSOR and now they’re in the same bloody race. Hughes has chosen Producer but I can’t imagine it being an easy decision for him, but it’s the progressive 3yo who gets the vote for me. He is well drawn and has improved a good deal this season. I stuck him up as one to follow after an eye-catching run at Newmarket on his return and he’s duly racked up a treble since. He gets a decent allowance against his elders and is experienced enough to make it count plus the return to 7f could see further improvement. He never settled last year over the trip but did when winning impressively at Ascot this season and this is certainly not out of sight for him.

The other runner is Libranno who needs good ground and has finished fourth and second in this the last two years. He hasn’t been in great form of late though and rain is a negative. There could be more to come from Fencing who plenty feel can potentially become a Group 1 horse one day. He impressed on his return at Ascot and ran okay enough when sixth in the Lockinge latest. He may have been kept for this since and though the step back to 7f won’t hurt, it may not particularly suit either.

Casper Netscher is a fascinating runner, back after failing at stud and now with David Simcock. You’d have to think he’d need this though he has gone well fresh in the past, including winning on his return last year and on debut.

The classy but frustrating Krypton Factor has usually been kept to sprint distances but stayed further when trying the trip at Meydan in 2011. Still he flopped last time when favourite and is just too frustrating to back. Similar can be said of Pastoral Player, talented but doesn’t have the record to match it. He was behind Producer at Newmarket when looking unfortunate again (missed break) but was poor last time in the Summer Mile. A strong pace will suit.

Red Jazz was just behind him at Ascot but overturned the form at Newmarket and then was just in front again when also running an average race at Ascot. He has shown he is still got a place in this class of race but will do well to build on his second in this in 2011 (also eighth the year before).

Boom And Bust won the big Totesport Mile Handicap here in 2011 and ran well again last year though this is a lot tougher and the once talented Monsieur Chevalier just isn’t up to this standard anymore.

Advice – Professor 2pts win @9/1 generally

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Jim Dandy preview

Three continents of feature racing covered this weekend on the blog, this time it's Jon da Silva (@CreamOnTop) chiming in with his assessment of the time-honoured Jim Dandy Stakes from the picturesque Saratoga.


Jim Dandy Dirt Grade 2 9 furlongs 1045 BST

The Jim Dandy looks a compelling race. After the 3 classics run in 35 days the 3 year olds return 7 weeks later. The classic runners face horses kept fresh and maybe some late developing sorts. As in the UK it is not unknown for early season classic contenders to disappear as forces in later top class racing. For classics to prove to be anything but in hindsight. A slight wrinkle here is this is not level weights albeit a very limited one but Belmont winner Palace Malice carries top burden.

Paceless closer who has made ground over lesser trips and steps up in class here (has contested a turf grade 9 when well beaten). Has been staying on but this would be a tough way to break your stakes maiden. Will try to deep close.

Code West
Classic pretensions went South in the Louisiana Derby - 7th to solid Kentucky Derby placers Revolutionary 3rd and Mylute, 5th and re-opposes, so not that far behind but behind none the less. Been on an upward curve since winning 2 of 3 culminating in the grade 3 Matt Winn over a mile and a 1/16th. Will likely press the pace.

Will Take Charge
Got to run badly in all 3 classics - only runner to do all 3. Quite what he had done to make his connections quite so dislike him is unknown. To be fair had run down stablemate and Preakness winner Oxbow prior to those 3 floggings. Cuts back from classic distances to one he beat Oxbow over. Likely sit in midfield.

The Early Speed. Coming off an all the way romp in the Grade 2 Dwyer. Should easily see off Code West for the lead so a chance gets a shot at another grade 2 over a new trip of 9 furlongs. On the rise and by Ghostzapper has claims at the distance. Likely to have Palace Malice and Code West challenge him down the back.

Palace Malice
Out non stayed everything else in plodding home in the Belmont nonetheless outran Oxbow who had dominated the Preakness. Set a suicidal pace in the Kentucky Derby but did not fade to nowhere. Possibly under rated because form does not look that consistent and times slow. Top weighted and a 5/2 Morning Line. The race could be determined by when and how hooked up Palace Malice gets with Moreno. I like him but gives weight and faces some other speed.

Perfect Title
Closer who won an allowance last time. Steps up a long in class here to a hot group 2. Did close fast off slow fractions then in his first start over 9 furlongs. Lot to find.

Freedom Child
Got loose in the Peter Pan and turned it into a romp posting a good time with both Beyer and Timeform. Faced with harder rivals early including Palace Malice who run here he was never in it in the Belmont. Rested since. With Palace Malice and Moreno he's unlikely to get it easy up front. Could have needed the break but equally could be soft when faced by fast horses.

Closer 2nd in Louisiana Derby and 5th in the Kentucky Derby before a good 3rd in the Preakness. Clearly smart and one who will hope for a pace duel up front. . Consistent and with the best Beyer speed figures here - holds the best 3 in the race. Gets 6 pounds off Palace Malice and has finished in front of that rival twice.

Looking Cool
Won the Grade 3 Iowa Derby closing against a fastish pace. Improving but well beaten by Code West on penultimate start in the Matt Winn.

I am skeptical of classic form but at 3s (Coral) Mylute and Palace Malice are fairly priced. There seems enough pace for Palace Malice to race early and bring Mylute into it. I also think that Palace Malice is unexposed after only a few starts and his Kentucky Derby run hidden good if looking at the final result. If PM clears them down the back he could waltz home. However he's giving 6 pounds to the horse with the 3 best speed ratings in the race. This does have a chance to be a surprise given we have hard ridden classic contenders albeit off breaks and maybe horses given more time to find themselves. Nonetheless battle hardened classic contenders have the more solid form. Of the rest Code West is solid and beat Palace Malice and Mylute when 2nd in the Risen Star. Selection Mylute.

Betfair International Handicap

Ascot is the scene for feature racing in Britain this weekend and while many eyes will be on the big names in the King George, those shrewd handicap punters will be focusing on the Betfair International. The Young Racegoer, Calum Madell, @calummadell returns with his preview...


3:15 - Cash Out Multiples Only On Betfair International

Where do you start in finding the winner of this desperately tough 7f handicap, one of the best of the year. I do like to look at trends for races like this and firstly I will look at age and there’s some telling stats.

Considering that two of the three favourites are three-year-olds it is worth looking there first. Despite a few places and a win for New Seeker back in 2003, they have a poor record in the last ten years from the 25 runners to represent them.

That already is a negative for Queensbury Rules and Ashaadd, the former finishing third in what looked a very good Britannia Stakes. Ashaadd meanwhile won last time at Haydock were they were strung out from a very early stage and he seemed to pick up the pieces really. He doesn’t strike me as a type for a handicap like this and I’d be readily opposing.

The other notable stat is that nothing over five years has won the race in the last ten years, anything over six placing. I can’t discount anything solely because of its age but will definitely be concentrating on four and five-year-olds to add to their past success.

One factor too that must be worth noting is the weather. Thunderstorms are a possibility tomorrow and that really puts a spanner in the works. The draw is pretty fair at Ascot but I always like to be near side when the ground is good and when there’s been rain, I always concentrate far side as it drains better.

Anyway on to form and there’s plenty with past Ascot form which is always key. Redvers is one of those and has been in grand form this season but he had a great chance in the Victoria Cup but could only finish fourth and was seventh here at the Royal Meeting. He just isn’t well handicapped enough at the moment.

Pricewise has gone for Loving Spirit and he was near the top of my shortlist too. There is definitely one of these in him, the closest he’s been so far was second on British Champions Day. He has been unfortunate so far here this year and do not surprise if he strikes tomorrow.

Field Of Dream won the Bunbury Cup last time off 98 plus this last year and with a 3lb penalty he is well in by 3lb too as he’s due to go up to 104. Everything went his way at Newmarket as he got a lovely tow into the race by ES QUE LOVE and I’m So Glad. It has to go right for him again tomorrow and that is not a certainty in a bid to retain his crown.

Luckily for Es Que Love, he gets to race off 99 because this is an early closing race, meaning he’s 6lb well in. He has been extremely busy so far this season and fully deserves to take a big race such as this. Time after time he’s run big and there’s nothing wrong with his attitude, but with him now up to 105 after this race, there will not be a better opportunity than here. He was average last week in defeat and I would have preferred him to have that week off but he clearly thrives with the busy schedule and he’s definitely got another big one in him. Mark Johnston has been a very good form in the past couple of weeks and last week’s Sandown winner Galician is not discounted either.

Lightning Cloud had threatened to get his head in front in one of these before and he duly did so at the Royal meeting, winning the Buckingham Palace in great style. Still he’s 7lb higher and this is a much bigger ask. Kevin Ryan also has Trail Blaze who wears blinkers for the first time. He’s not out of it but they need to have an effect.

Hawkeyethenoo is 3lb and 4lb higher than when running in this race in the past couple of years and neither time has he troubled the judge, notably when favourite in 2011. Prince Of Johanne is a former Hunt Cup winner and also beat a good field at Sandown latest but stats are against him and a career best is probably needed again.

There’s a big race in Bertiewhittle who ran a good second in the Victoria Cup on his return and another second in between two average runs. He needs a career best though and so too does Dubawi Sound, also representing David Brown.

One I am giving one final chance to is COMPTON who has got in at the bottom of the weights and there’s plenty going for him in this. He seems better when the pace is strong and he can pick them off and while experimenting at sprint distances hasn’t really worked for him, it means he is now slipping onto a decent mark. The rain won’t hurt his chances and his Ascot record is superb, a pair of fourths in the Britannia last year and on Champions Day plus a win in lesser grade. He’s been well supported but I think he’s still a decent price to certainly have a saver on.

Elsewhere near the top of the weights, Don’t Call Me always runs well but never has enough to win one of these, in attitude or the weights. Santefisio ran a blinder at Royal Ascot though has been punished accordingly while Shamaal Nibraas fits a few trends and is not without hope and Excellent Guest has a tough ask to match his Victoria Cup win.

The Confessor has been in great form and has a squeak while Glen Moss steps back up in grade after a win at Doncaster latest but hasn’t been punished too much for that and fits the bill of a winner of this. However my final pin has dropped on DUCAL. I have tracked his last two runs and both times he has been pretty unlucky. Connections have changed his running style and he now challenges from behind, which seems to suit as he is a strong traveller. Both times he has missed a run at vital stages, notably at Newmarket on his penultimate start. He is fine on all ground and a strong pace here will be ideal for him. There’s plenty saying he is hard to trust after he refused on his return but connections have insisted there is nothing wrong with his attitude and that was a freak event. He’s never won on turf but at 33/1 he is a great e/w price and do not be surprised if he opens his account on the big stage (won numerous times on the a/w already though).

Es Que Love 1.5pts e/w @14/1 generally
Compton 1pt e/w @20/1 generally
Ducal 1pt e/w @33/1 generally

Cleveland Handicap @ Townsville preview

With the focus off the big cities for feature racing in Australia at this time of year, other venues hit the spotlight. Today is Townsville Cup Day, a race meeting that will draw a crowd from far and wide in northern Queensland. But rather the main event, @BrisburghPhil has settled on the sprint feature of the day, the $75k Cleveland Handicap. Read more of his excellent via the ReadingThePlay website.


Cleveland Handicap

I love a good handicap race, and whilst this isn’t a Blue Riband event on the Australian racing calendar, it is nearly always an interesting race, with a big field, and thus plenty of chances. This year is probably no exception but I’ve hopefully found 1 or 2 horses that stand out a bit from the pack;

Weather and Track Condition;

A shower or two forecast but very much expect that a genuine dry track will eventuate.


Should be genuine at the very least here, with a number of these being on pacers, and a few of those drawn out on the track could well be vying for a forward position early. Fast run races have been the norm in all of the lead up races into this, though it hasn’t always been a backmarker that has saluted.


1. ESSINGTON- Scratched.

2. OUTSTANDINGLY- To say he is travelled would be an understatement with Townsville being the 23rd racecourse he has visited. His best form is at shorter distances than this, 8/20 1000-1100m opposed to 3/19 at the 1200m distance of this race. The wide alley would appear to be no advantage to him (0-0/8 Barriers 10+) and perhaps the best thing you can say about him is his excellent record of 7 wins from 10 carrying this weight (58-58.5kg). A lot of those would have been in weaker races though and his 2/2 record at Birdsville and 2/3 at Mt.Isa tend to indicate the sort of class he is able to dominate. His best form is actually with slightly more days between runs and he looks to have a hard task here in having to overcome a wide run early in the race.

3. JABIRU DREAMING- Won this race last year in an outstanding performance from a wide barrier. That capped off a remarkable 9 wins in a row and they were all in this part of the world albeit the majority of them North West of this region. Problem is he has only won 1 of 6 races since and rises 3.5kg this year and once again has to overcome a horror barrier drawn, even worse than last year. The positives are, he is back in form, has carried weight well in the past and is back with the trainer that has had all the success with him (10-1/13). He can also race on pace and come from behind, as he was forced to do last year. I think he will run a big race but not sure he can bring home the bacon this time. Place chance.

4. MAZUKA- Has an excellent 3-2/7 record third up from a spell and is so today. His 8/22 record at 1000m though looks way better than his 3/28 record beyond that distance with 2/19 his stats at this trip. On the positive side he is 5-3/10 with this kind of break between runs (15-21 days) and he has drawn perfectly. 4-4/17 at the track is only just worth mentioning, but he will be in the right position throughout, and he meets Jabiru Dreaming 4.5kg better for a 1.6L deficit in this race last year. Definite place hope at likely generous odds, but doubt he can win.

5. KANETOSHI KING- Scratched

6. BALUSTRADE- Drops nicely in weight here off a nice WFA third at this track on June 29. It wasn’t an overly strong class of race for that type though, and he too has drawn the car park here. His 3-4/12 at this distance is not quite as impressive as his 5-3/10 at 1300m. He doesn’t seem well weighted in the race despite that effort last start (2nd horse in that race since failed miserably). 2/2 with 22-28 days between runs reads well, but he will need to produce a career best (as might the jockey) to win this. A place chance at odds perhaps, but doesn’t rate a great winning chance for mine.

7. LEXCEN- Former South Australian horse who surprised with an outstanding ‘go to whoa’ win second up this preparation at Mackay. He blotted his copybook at this track last time though, at the rear throughout, beaten 4.5L after going up 5kg in weight. That race was run to suit him too, with a backmarker the eventual winner. His record at 1200m is decidedly ordinary (3-4/19), and his 4th up stats (0-1/5) don’t mirror his 2nd up return of 3-1/6, so perhaps we saw the best of him 2 starts ago? The 6-5/19 he boasts with 8-14 days between runs didn’t assist him last time, so I can see few positives for him in this, with the possible exception of a middle barrier. He might add some pace to the race but hard to see him figuring

8. GO FOREST GO- Is cheekily attempting this race first up and now without reason it would seem given his dominant 3L winning margin at this track and distance last May in a Class 6 event beating Balustrade at level weights. That was his first fresh up win in 6 tries but he has failed at it since to make that record read 1/7. He was narrowly beaten when 4th in this race last year, just on half a length behind the winner Jabiru Dreaming and he does meet him 3kg better for it this year. He absolutely loves this track though (4-3/8) and has drawn similarly to last year with the coveted rails barrier as opposed to 2 last year. May well have been prepared solely for this race and does look one of the better hopes this year looking at his preparation last Winter. And he does go well for this jockey (3-3/7) so a few positives for him here.

9. ALBERTIQUE- Is a former Victorian in stellar form, having won 5 of his last 6 starts, and the last 3 straight .He goes very fast early and whilst his record at 1200m is fair it does seem he would be better served at a lesser distance in a race of this quality. He does also meet Jabiru Dreaming 1.5kg worse off for just beating him last start and Mazuka 1kg worse for a short head victory. Notably has a great record backing up (3/4) so a bit of merit in that last win which was off more than a months break. Perhaps a pity it is 20 days between runs here? He has drawn to advantage though and will make sure this race is no place for the faint hearted. Likely to be in front with 200m to go but just a little doubtful he can repeat what he did last time with 200m more distance and slightly worse off at the weights against a few.

10 ASSIMILATOR- I really like this horse. He really impressed when winning Class 6 race in Brisbane last March doing it at both ends over 1110m at Doomben. He struck a wet track after that, up to 1400m, and looked to have completely lost his way, unable to win in 3 starts since Doomben, but he really returned to form with a vengeance here last week in a decent BM79 restricted class race over 1000m. The blinkers went on for the first time, he looked poorly weighted with 59kg, and happened to get caught in a bit of speed battle up front. He dashed away on straightening though and put a massive gap in the field winning by an impressive 4L, whilst clocking a sizzling 33.02 for his last 600m. Not sure what it is about his physiology/appearance, but I saw again what was evident in Brisbane. He really stretches his body right out, particularly the neck. He is certainly a sight to behold at the finish of a race. He is beautifully bred out of Redoute’s Choice, and is in fact a full brother to Group 1 winner Master Of Design. If that isn’t a good recommendation for this type of race then I don’t know what is! Overall he is 7/10 in his career to date, drops 5kg into this race (not a lot harder than last start), 1/1 this track, 3/4 at 1200m, and 7/9 on good surfaces. He gave .5kg and a 4L beating to a horse called Erfaan last week. Considering that horse had beaten another named Daph ‘n’ Alf at level weights prior, and that horse was narrowly beaten in an Open class lead race up to this event, it would seem Assimilator is getting in here some 4-5kg light against any horse that contested that race. There is little doubt that the lighter weighted horses in this race are competitive with the higher weighted ones, so it’s not hard to be very keen on this horses’ chances. The negatives are a back up with no precedent, and a wide barrier. He doesn’t ‘map’ well but at least he is 4/5 when drawn in the second half of fields (albeit smaller in number). I’m very keen on him as he appears to have the most potential of any of these, and he is carrying a light weight. Just need a price and I’m hoping for $4+. I’d back him at any price above $3.20 but am wary about taking less than that, given the backup, barrier and associated speed map.

11. CANHEDANCE- A rising 9yo who has form around a number of horses running in this race and he looks quite well off at the weights against a few of them (Panecilo, Fast ‘n’ Ferocious, Balsutrade). He isn’t much much (or even) better than them though and has drawn awkwardly here. This is arguably his best distance, not his best track, but against that certainly well prepared with his best form with 22-28 days between runs (6-3/17). His consistency of late borders on the unbelievable with his last 9 starts producing 3 wins, 5 seconds and a third. The furtherst he has been beaten in that period is 2L. He is going to be big odds here and just going on that form of late is a nice horse to throw into multiples. Would be a lot keener from a better barrier as he could get posted wide. Normally a go forward horse and he will be challenged for supremacy early in this race so it makes things difficult for him. Place chance.

12. SO PRETENTIOUS does look like one we can be confident of leaving out of the reckoning. He too has drawn wide and has been well beaten in 3 starts since a spell at Mackay. He doesn’t drop any weight on his last start and this is a harder race. 1/1 here is interesting, as is his 2-1/4 fourth up, but just a couple of days too many between runs (0-2/4 22-28 days). This is possibly his best distance but the barrier presents a real problem for him too. Most likely that he will get caught in ‘no mans land’ being a leader/midfield type and just think the class is beyond him.

13. WHITSUNDAY EXPRESS is another in a very similar category. Lacks the class and awkwardly drawn. Whilst his record at 1200m is okay, he hasn’t won at the distance for nearly 2 years, and his record at this track doesn’t inspire at 3-6/24. A pity he isn’t backing up here because it is his strongest stat at 4-4/10, and that was the case last time when only beaten 1.6L here at this distance. He meets a few out of that race better at the weights, and whilst it is possible he can beat them home, I doubt very much that he can trouble the better chances.

14. PANECILLO- Speedy and unlike some others well drawn, so he is likely to be in this for a long way. Has an excellent record at the distance (6-4/12) and a compelling statistic of 7/7, never being beaten with a gap of 8-14 days between runs. That is something I have not seen the likes of before and is significant given his 2-6/13 with a longer respite than that. The last time he had an 11 day break he won 2nd up this campaign. He doesn’t look well weighted on his last effort (was against some of these,) but on the plus side he gets a senior jockey back aboard as opposed to an apprentice that rode him there. This jockey is 1-1/2 aboard,and the horse has an affinity on this track (5-5/12). Nicely prepared for this race, but the class is a big query and he will be kept company up front in a likely high speed race. No doubt he will be over the odds and he is going to be in the contest for a long way. Definite place prospects.

15. FAST ‘N’ FEROCIOUS – is racing in career best form, but not overly well weighted against some of these, off his last start win and the race was very much run to suit him that day. His jockey has a good record on him, the distance is suitable and he has a good record at the track, the latter point a common theme for most of the local runners in this race. He has drawn wide and is 0/4 from barriers outside 9, but that shouldn’t really be a problem to him here. He will almost certainly get back and be suited off a fast pace. Probably lacks the class to win and looking at his overall career form I wonder whether he might have been better served with more days between runs. Certainly a place chance though as he is one of the few likely to get back and run on in the race.

16. LADRETTO- Former Victorian who has blossomed in Nth Qld winning all of his 6 starts, 5 here and 1 at Ingham in at his first go up here. Last start was the acid test at WFA and he produced a gutsy display to prevail, but had Balustrade got an easier run in transit the result might well have been different. The race was really set up for a swooper, and in another 50m or so it would have been by one called Dab Touch. Unfortunately that horse hasn’t franked the form finishing last behind Assimilator since. All you can do is win though and this horse has done it at this distance, on this track, 3 times in a row now, and he has drawn well enough to make a big impact here. He maps perfectly to get the perfect run just behind the leaders, or he can take up the lead if the pace slackens. He is 6/6 on good tracks and only 1/9 on Dead or worse, and this is by far the lowest weight the horse has carried (56kg next highest). He is going to be a very popular pick and looks hard to beat, with the only queries being the big field (with more pressure), and the fact he is yet to beat much. 28 day break into this shouldn’t hurt and he is a definite winning chance.

There are 5 emergencies in this race but for the sake of brevity I’m not going to review their form. What I can say is there is nothing amongst them I would consider good enough to go into my top 4, and probably not even in the top 10 of this race. 3 of them have drawn inside barriers though, so if they come out it might make the task easier for those (remaining) drawn a touch awkwardly.


I’m keen to be on the big improver from last start ASSIMILATOR. He only needs to repeat that effort to win this off a big weight drop. If he does get caught wide it might not be fatal for him, as he has shown a propensity for doing it at both ends of a race, and he is on the minimum weight, affording him the luxury of perhaps making a mid race move for victory. It’s a bit of a lottery outside of him with the most obvious danger being Ladretto, given his untarnished record in this region. Go Forest Go really appeals to me first up at likely good odds, and Panecillo intrigues me with that 7/7 record with 8-14 days between runs. For the sake of value I will go with this top 4;


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Open preview

The Open - one of those major sporting events I've grown up watching and still find it weird to be seeing it during the daytime now that I'm living in the UK. With no dominant player on the scene this year - Tiger hasn't won a major since Australia last won the Ashes and Rory McIlroy is battling to make cuts these days, let alone claim trophies - this could be anyone's tournament. Taking the time to spin us a yarn as well as preview the tournament in blog regular Jim Gilchrist, @jimgilch. Read more of his work over on his blog.


Gullane Ghosts and Muirfield Magic

A small silver trophy stood modestly on the mantelpiece of the dining room in my father's house in Hawick. As a young lad aged about seven, I asked my Dad what it was for.

"That, son, was for a lucky hole in one I got on Gullane (he insisted on pronouncing it 'Gillan') Number One course a long time ago." He regaled me with the story of the blind tee shot and walking up to the green, thinking he must have missed to the jungle waiting on the right, only for his father to play out the hole and find a second ball in the cup.

"Yours, I believe, Gordon" he said proudly handing the apparently missing ball to his son.

Grandfather's old house stood nearby, with a window looking down over the fairways of the town's main course, Muirfield, and my father was lucky enough to play on the hallowed turf a few times as a young man. Dad's best ever handicap mark of three though, was gained on the town's less glamorous but still fiendishly difficult number one course, but he remembers Muirfield so well.

"Where bunkers were bunkers and the rough was penal" he told me later. 'Stray and pay' was the message.

And so it is today, though the first cut is less dangerous and of more import is course management, landing your ball in exactly the right spot and envisaging how it will end up. It's not only about driving any more, but more about scrambling and putting. Don't expect the Muirfield fairways to suit only the power hitters, placement is everything and should you venture in to one of the many pot bunkers, be prepared to come out sideways at times.

It's a wonderful test, one that examines every aspect of your game and is not target golf. No surprise then that Muirfield, more than any other course on the Open rota, produces only the finest Champions. Look at the list, Trevino, Nicklaus, Player, Faldo, Els, Watson, Vardon... multiple Major winners all.

Without the wind, the test is obviously less severe, and the forecast indicates a quiet week, so scoring may well be a longish way under par. But beware even the light breeze. It's no legend, as i discovered when playing nearby Dunbar that the turn of the tide brings an hour or so of changed conditions. Subtle changes, but enough to take you a few yards offline and into the trouble around the greens, instead of leaving you a 15 foot putt. Expect a bit of wear as each day progresses, spike marks and just a dustier roughness about the greens making afternoon scoring generally more difficult.

I was, frankly, rubbish at golf, and never came near father's mark of three, so as a lad I received a shot a hole from Dad at his best. As a sixth former in a nearby boarding school we were allowed to take the bus on a Sunday down to gullane and play 'number three' course, a short and 'easy' course. Breaking 100 was always a thrill! that bad... :)

However the only thing I could do was on links courses to close the face of the number nine iron, and play the Scottish 'bump and run'. Arriving 70 yards short of the green in two (my Dad on in two, albeit a longish way away), on one occasion, I managed to pitch up to about nine inches from the cup. Father missed me playing the shot and asked in genuine surprise 'Whose is that ball on the green?' I laughed... he knew then.... Sure enough he three putted and I tapped in.

I digress in telling that, but it's how links golf is, the scrambler, the fiddler, with a touch round the green can beat the smasher, the brute, the power game. But you don't learn or achieve success in a couple of practice rounds, no matter how fantastic you are. Patience is everything, experience the only way to get the hang of it, and when you do get a bad bounce, handling it and accepting the bogey, rather than going for broke and ending up with a seven, taking your medicine is the only way to go.


11 of the last 14 majors have gone to first time winners, so it's no surprise the market is wide open. I've already suggested though that Muirfield recognizes only the very best and I would not be surprised if it yet again has a multiple major winner who comes to the fore once more. The fast wide open fairways are something of a red herring, as I feel placement is so much more important.

Ironically my first memory of attending the Open was seeing Fuzzy Zoeller in 1972 at Muirfield, having just paid my way in, hole a bunker shot, a tournament that ended historically with Lee Trevino doing something similar to Tony Jacklin! But that's not what I mean by placement!

Men like Tiger and Jim Furyk excel in such conditions, while Mickelson arrives on the back of a win and Scott and Rose are this year's two major winners, so should be full of confidence. With the exception of Furyk these are the players who head the market. They are all capable of contending this week, and Furyk is overpriced, though current form is sufficient of a worry for me to look elsewhere.

Just behind them comes ERNIE ELS at 33/1 e/w and he is my first pick. After a few years in apparent decline, Ernie shot back to prominence by winning last year's Open. it was something of a surprise to many, myself included, but there was no doubting that the class was all still there, the apparently effortless and layback approach that earned him the nickname of The Big Easy.

And Els has something just as important on his dancecard, a win at Muirfield in the 2002 renewal of the Claret Jug over this very course and distance. Yes it was 11 years ago, but like riding a bike, Els's love affair with the course can't be overstated in its importance. Tied fourth at the US Open on his last outing a reminder of his Major's pedigree.

MATT KUCHAR gets the second vote. one of only two players with multiple tour wins in 2013 and 15/15 made cuts, he couldn't be in better nick. Yet he started the Masters at 12/1 and the US Open at 20/1, so Kuchar is a pure price play at a nonsense 50/1 e/w With seven and eight places available, it's tough not to see him going well this week. The weakness is his 6/7 missed Open cuts, but we are getting a phenomenal price in return.

6th in sand saves on tour, 12th in strokes gained putting and 13th in scrambling, the assets I'm looking for are all there this week.

MARTIN LAIRD gets the big priced nomination this week. About 110/1, that's plenty value. The Scot plays mainly on the American tour these days, but produced a superb tied 5th at the Scottish open to remind people back home of his quality, and is sure to receive enormous support from the galleries. Tied 21st at the US Open, before that winning the Texas Open with spectacular closing 63, and two other top tens already this year.

SPECIAL MARKETS AND OTHERS: I'll be covering this in he next 24 hours, so do please look back if interested, there are some very tempting bets out there!

Friday, 12 July 2013

July Cup preview

The highlight of the Newmarket July meeting is the time-honoured July Cup, one of the premier sprint races in Europe. Good-to-firm ground, glorious summer weather, a great fiel - what more do you want? Declan Meagher, @declanmeagher76, casts an eye over the field for this G1 contest. Read more of his work on his blog.


Darley July Cup – Tips and Preview – 3.50 Newmarket

The July Cup run over 6 furlongs at Newmarket is one of the top, if not the top sprint in Europe. Horses who have won it over the years have often gone on to be crowned leading sprinter in Europe, and with a strong field assembled there must be a good chance that tradition will be maintained this year. With the first three home from the Golden Jubilee, and the first two from the King Stand lining up, it looks like easily the best sprint of the year thus far.

Shea Shea is currently favourite and he looks the best horse in the race. The doubt, and its quite a big one, is will he prove as effective over six furlongs as he is over five? He has won over seven furlongs in South Africa but that means zilch really, he would have been far better than the horses he beat. In Meydan over 5 furlongs he traveled, and quickened really well over five furlongs, and did the same at Royal Ascot. He got beaten a neck by Sole Power at Ascot, but he hit the front on his side a furlong down, and it was hard to escape the conclusion that had he challenged on the same side of the track as the winner, he probably would have won. He has a good chance tomorrow but the worry about him being as effective over six is enough to put me off backing him.

Sole Power deserved his win at Ascot. Since winning the Nunthorpe in 2010 he has had nine attempts at the top level, and while having a few places, and a few unlucky passages among them, the King Stand was his first top level victory since. Sole Power has always needed a fast pace, on fast ground, over five furlongs, to produce his best. Indeed he has only tried six twice in his last 24 runs, and disappointed both times. His trainer feels he settles better now which will give him more chance of staying six furlongs. The problem is that while Lethal Force is in the race and he made all at Ascot, there isn’t much other pace in this, and Lethal Force could go a stride slower and still lead. If that happens Sole Power could easily pull and even if they go fast its unlikely he’ll prove as effective over six.

Lethal Force made almost all in the Golden Jubilee, defeating Society Rock by 2l. I heard some post race claims that the second was unlucky and had been given to much to do by Kieren Fallon. As is often the case with horses who come home well, punters with limited knowledge of what makes a horse achieve its fastest time, think if they had been ridden closer to the pace, or asked for their effort sooner, they’d have won. Sectionals show that Lethal Force finished out his race at near optimal pace to achieve a fast time, and while Society Rock gained about 2l in the last two furlongs, Simon Rowlands in his blog, suggested this was worth a mark up of only about 1lb over the winner. That would still leave him 1 3/4l to find, and the reality is he wasn’t closing at all the last 100 yards, and the winner was clearly the best horse on the day. Fallon actually gave Society Rock a good ride, aware the pace was on the near side, he switched his horse gradually to track it, costing him no more than a few inches in ground.

Lethal Force has been steadily progressive and if he is equally as effective at Newmarket then I’d expect him to confirm the form with Society Rock. Lethal Force may also get a softish lead in this, as apart from Hamza, who is taking a big step up in class, there isn’t really any other pace threats. Society Rock has also produced most of his best efforts at Ascot so while he ran okay when third in last years July Cup on ground he may not have liked, he was still beaten a long way, and he has to prove he can be as good and consistent here as he clearly is at Ascot.

When I looked at the betting and seen Gale Force Ten as fourth favourite, and a best price of just 13/2 for this, I thought there must be some mistake. Apparently not, although I've no idea were the price comes from. It certainly isn’t anything he’s ever done on the track. Yes he ran well in the French and Irish Guineas, but they were poor races, and while he won the Jersey at Ascot by head, that form wouldn’t be good enough to win here. He also had to battle back after being headed there, and while that’s admirable, it would lead you to believe he needed all of the seven furlongs, and isn’t likely to be as effective over six, when he’ll need to be better if he’s to win. He looks like more of a 14/1 shot to me.

Slade Power travelled well for a long way in the Golden Jubilee, but didn't really pick up when asked. He looked like five furlongs might suit him better, and again traveled smoothly when dropped to that trip for a Group 3 at The Curragh. While he won the race, he only won by 1/2l, and I was a little disappointed with him. He still has scope to improve but he’ll need to if he’s to prove he’s up to Group 1 standard, and it might be that if he is, it will be over five furlongs.

Hamza has improved throughout last year and this, but this is a big step up from a Beverley conditions race, and he won’t get his own way in front against Lethal Force either. Krypton Factor is very consistent in these top races without looking quite good enough to win one, although he did win at the top level in Meydan. He’s likely to run his race but would look more of a place bet, than a win one.

Shameexpress won over six furlongs at Flemington before running in the Kings Stand, and ran better than his ninth place finish might suggest. Isolated on the same side that Shea Shea was on he briefly challenged at the furlong pole, before fading. Maybe five might be a better trip for him, but his Australian form suggested six was fine. If that’s the case he’d have a chance here. His jockey at Ascot looked pretty ordinary too, and being replaced by a European is an advantage, it would be a much bigger advantage if that jockey wasn’t Mickael Barzalona who makes more mistakes in a race than your average 7lb claimer.

With doubts about the trip for Shea Shea and Sole Power, I think Lethal Force is the most likely winner of this. Society Rock has a chance too, but I don’t see any reason why he should reverse placings with Lethal Force who is probably still progressing. Gale Force Ten’s high position in the market is a mystery, and a place lay of him around 2.6 on Betfair would seem like a good way to take him on. Lethal Force is 9/2 with Paddy Power who will refund your losing win stake on the July Cup if you finish 2nd, and that appeals as the best bet.


2 pt win Lethal Force at 9/2 BOG with Paddy Power

4 pt Place Lay Gale Force Ten at 2.6 on Betfair

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Bahrain Trophy preview

Kicking off the July Festival is a tricky little race for staying 3yos, the Bahrain Trophy. With the task of previewing the opening race is Dan Briden, @DanBriden. Read more of his work at SBBColumns.


Bahrain Trophy preview

The Group 3 Bahrain Trophy is probably the first recognised trial for the St Leger in September, and this year’s renewal brings together a couple of promising maiden winners against a sextet of more proven rivals, albeit one or two arrive here with a bit to prove – notable winners during the past decade include Youmzain, Kite Wood, Masked Marvel and Shantaram.

The John Gosden-trained Feel Like Dancing looked a smart prospect when landing an 11f maiden at Newbury’s Greenham in good style, overcoming obvious signs of inexperience to get up close home for hand riding in the main to see off Boite by a nose. However, he finished last of four behind Ruler Of The World in the Chester Vase next time, and seemed to lack for pace when fifth of six behind Maputo in a 10f handicap here next time. His latest effort was far more encouraging, appearing to improve for the step up to 2m and the fitting of cheekpieces when chasing home Leading Light in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot last month, coming with a good looking challenge over a furlong out but finding his effort flattening out close home. He didn’t appear to see things out fully over the two miles, but he still posted a career best and offered far more than he had on his previous two outings; this drop back in distance will help and ought to go close as he bids to give connections back-to-back wins in this race following Shantaram’s victory 12 months ago.

The Peter Chapple-Hyam-trained Boite attempted to make all when collared in the final stride by Feel Like Dancing in an 11f maiden at Newbury in April (second run), and he duly went one better when landing a 10f maiden at Pontefract a week and a half later (fact the smart Remote finished a soundly-beaten third shouldn’t be taken literally). He failed to make much of an impact in the Italian Derby next time, but bounced back with a better effort in defeat when third in the Queen’s Vase, challenging down the outer along with eventual runner-up Feel Like Dancing but unable to sustain his effort under pressure inside the final furlong. He has been beaten by Feel Like Dancing on both occasions the pair have met, and it is hard to see why this colt will reverse the form with that rival on the third occasion; step back in distance ought to help but not difficult to see him finding one or two too good for him here.

Andrew Balding’s Havana Beat won a decent 1m maiden at Sandown on the second of his two outings as a juvenile, and he returned with a solid effort in defeat when third behind Windhoek in a valuable sales contest (10f) at Newmarket’s Craven meeting back in April. He finished one place ahead of the re-opposing Feel Like Dancing in the Chester Vase next time, and his latest effort saw him finish fifth of eight behind Hillstar in the King Edward at Royal Ascot, outpaced once the tempo lifted over two furlongs out and merely plugging on thereafter (beaten 9 lengths). His limitations have seemingly been exposed at this sort of level, but he is worth a try over this extra furlong given he has been battling on at the business end of his races over a mile and a half the last twice; still no surprise to see him find one too good, though.

The David Simcock-trained Ray Ward is a nicely bred son of Galileo who stepped up on his debut ninth at Kempton to land a 10f maiden at Lingfield back in January, and he returned to that venue to land a 10f handicap on grass in May when readily accounting for Of Course Darling. He could only manage fifth behind High Troja in a steadily-run affair at Newbury before chasing home Ennistown in a 12f handicap at Haydock, and his latest effort saw him finish a staying on fifth behind Leading Light in the Queen’s Vase. He was set plenty to do on that occasion, still going well at the top of the straight but last and caught behind runners, switched and keeping on relentlessly to the line; capable of better than he showed there and not to be underestimated, for all improvement will be needed to actually land this prize based on his overall level of form.

David Elsworth’s Dashing Star is a sizable son of Teofilo who improved with each run at two, culminating in victory in a 1m maiden at Nottingham, but he was far too keen when fifth in a 10f handicap at Sandown on his return in April before being outclassed in the Dante at York next time. He got his act together and came from a long way back to land a well-contested 12f handicap at Musselburgh last month (good time), but he turned in a laboured effort when coming home in 11th behind three of these in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot a few weeks later. There is no doubt that this colt is a talented sort on his day, but he has his quirks (hood fitted for all seven starts so far) and has turned in some poor efforts this term; clearly more needed here, but it is not beyond the realms of possibility that the booking of Ryan Moore could persuade this colt to show his very best form.

The Brian Meehan-trained Testudo is a nicely bred son of Duke Of Marmalade who was noted as making eyecatching late progress into sixth behind Remote and Dare To Achieve on debut at Newbury, and he duly showed the benefit for that experience when landing a 10f maiden at Sandown last month, leading approaching the final furlong and staying on well to score by a neck from Ducab. For all the runner-up has won since, the remainder in behind haven’t done a great deal for the form, but this colt ran free early and did well to see things out; upped in trip and grade here and has a fair bit of ground to make up on Dare To Achieve (some 10 lengths), but interesting connections are willing to sacrifice a handicap mark of 88.

The selection, trained by William Haggas, is a well-bred son of Galileo who shaped promisingly over an inadequate trip on his sole outing at two (7f, Newmarket), and he duly built on that promise when chasing home subsequent impressive handicap/Group 3 winner Remote in a 10f maiden at Newbury in May, lacking the winner’s fitness/speed when it mattered most. He went one better when contesting a small-field 12f maiden at Pontefract last month, sent off the 1/4 favourite and justifying those odds with a very easy win, keen enough early but travelling well in behind the leaders on the approach to the straight, soon coming clear under minimal effort to come home 6 lengths clear of Astorgs Galaxy. This represents a steep rise in class for this son of Galileo, but he looks a high-class prospect on the evidence of his two runs so far this term, chasing home a class act before winning easily next time; can take this en route to something like the Great Voltigeur as he bids to confirm himself a St Leger candidate.


July Stakes preview

The July meeting at Newmarket is a great three days of racing, and we're blessed in the UK at the moment with a glorious run of genuine summer weather. So any horse needing a bit of give in the ground probably won't be peaking this week. One of the early features of the meeting is the Group II July Stakes for the two year olds, so who better to draft in for the preview than @twoyearoldtips from the excellent new site Twoyearoldtips.


The July Stakes

A very exciting renewal of the July Stakes with a field full of promising two year olds. Three bring Royal Ascot form to the table and they are taken on by three juveniles whose profiles are without blemish. Could be the finest two year old race of the season so far.

Anjaal- a son of Bahamian Bounty who cost 105,000 guineas as a yearling for owner Sheikh Hamdan and trained by Richard Hannon. Two runs to date have resulted in one win. Finished eighth on debut when favourite in a Newmarket maiden that has been boosted time and again this year. Then made no mistake when bolting up by four lengths at Beverley when heavily backed. That was a weak race in the context of this and will have to improve to win for connections who took this race last year with Alhebayeb.

Astaire- was a very impressive winner on his only start to date, when making all in a maiden at York. That wasn't a great race for the track but he showed good speed and won cosily. The performance can be upgraded by the lack of stable form in the two year old department, and whilst they are still not banging in the level of winners they usually do, things have improved a touch recently. Could well fly under the radar here and has the potential to run a bring race at rewarding odds.

Bahamian Heights- another son of Bahamian Bounty, who is having a fine season with his juveniles. This one looks to lack the class of some of these although he showed a fine attitude when winning last time out under a good ride from today's jockey. Would appear to be another example of Clive Brittain over facing one of his charges. Not for mine on this occasion.

Brown Sugar- ran an incredible race on debut, when an unconsidered 40/1 shot in a Newmarket maiden won by the reopposing Jallota. Was slowly away that day and drifted across the track before finishing like a train to be beaten only just over a length. Made no mistake next time when odds on at Salisbury winning easily by five lengths. Will be interesting to see how he fares in the market in relation to Anjaal. Another one to take very seriously.

Canyari- seen only once just under two months ago when bolting up by five lengths on debut from the useful Legend Rising, twice a winner since. The third that day who was ten lengths behind has also won a maiden at Ripon. Will be intriguing to find out why he has been off the track since debut, as his bare form merited a trip to Royal meeting. If he has been targetted for this race then must have a massive chance of making it worth the wait.

Figure of Speech- impressive winner on debut when slamming Whaleweigh Station by four lengths over course and distance. No reason why that one should turn the form around and the trainer and jockey combination are always to be feared on the July course. However they don't always improve as much as expected from first run to second but if this one does then he is another fascinating player.

Intermath- From the David Evans yard and Tom Queally rides. Perhaps a fortunate winner on debut at Salisbury, favourite veered violently hampering the second and third, but very unfortunate when returning to the Wiltshire venue for his second start. Was cantering just off the pace when he fly jumped the path unseating today's jockey. May well have won that day but will have to improve to trouble the principals here.

Jallota- consistent sort who has form lines with Astaire and Brown Sugar who ran his best race to date when fifth to the hugely impressive War Command in the Coventry. Finished only 2.25 lengths of the second that day and that form gives him a chance here. However is more exposed than many in this field and it would be a surprise if he finished top of the pile.

Master Carpenter- a colt by first season sire Mastercraftsman who has won two of his four races to date for trainer Rod Millman. Finished well down the field when quietly fancied for the Chesham last time and the suspicion is this is a stronger race. Back down to the trip where he showed his best form but i can't see him having the class to take a hand at the finish here.

Sir John Hawkins- Regally bred juvenile, 2nd foal of multiple group one winner Peeping Fawn by Henrythenavigotor, from the Ballydoyle team. Perhaps surprising given his pedigree that he has proved so precocious, beating a useful yardstick of Jim Bolger's on debut before running a fine race when third behind his stablemate War Command in the Coventry. Trainer won this with Ivan Denisovich in 2005, and has had only one runner since when Gale Force Ten was a beaten favourite last year. Has the best form in the field, but its fair to say this wouldn't be a target for the stable's absolute top notch juveniles. Likely to be well found in the market and opposable for mine in this.

Whaleweigh Station- Evidently well thought of by his trainer, won this in 2006, who was well backed when a good second on debut. Was expected to put this experience to good use next time over course and distance, when sent off at 6/4. Ran a solid race but was firmly put in his place by debutant Figure of Speech and no real reason why he will reverse the form with that rival.

A fascinating renewal, with plenty of unexposed sorts taking on those with Ascot form. Obviously the market will tell us more but at this stage it is fair to assume that Sir John Hawkins will be a pretty warm order. He brings the strongest form to the table but I feel may be vulnerable at the potential prices with plenty of likely improver's lurking in the field. Whilst it is a bit unsettling he hasn't been seen for two months Canyari's debut form, when thrashing a useful sort by five lengths, looks very good and he is taken to graduate to group class in style here. Of the many dangers Astaire looks one who could be overpriced whilst Brown Sugar is another who could run a big race.

1 Canyari
2 Astaire
3 Brown Sugar