Despite there being a four-runner affair this looks to be a decent race and with tactics likely to come in to play a chance would have to be given to each of the quartet. Breton Rock steps back to Listed level for the first time since May 2014 when he won The Spring Trophy. The concern I would have is that he has raced nine times without success over a mile so despite this looking easier than recent Group races contested I fear he will come up short again.
Oh This Is Us is proven over the trip and has two close seconds to his name over course and distance but will need to improve on his run when returning to turf at Sandown last month, finishing sixth of seven. Ralph Becketts’ Mitchum Swagger finished almost three lengths clear of the Richard Hannon runner in that race at Sandown and with both trainer and jockey in excellent recent form it is Mitchum Swagger who looks the more capable of the two.
For the winner we turn to Bye Bye Hong Kong who is a prior winner at the course and proved he stays a mile when winning at Chelmsford last month. He finished last season with a solid second in a Group 3 race and at three years old he is capable of further progression this season so it is the King Power runner who is taken to visit the winners’ enclosure today.
BYE BYE HONG KONG (WIN)
20:20 Windsor We have to wait until the last race of the day on British soil to see today’s selection step foot on to the turf. A 1 mile 2 furlong contest where I can’t see past two of the main protagonists. One horse has a recent win to their name and the other is a course and distance winner who now resides on a very attractive handicap mark. Balmoral Castle has a good record here at the unique figure of eight course and with a very eye-catching 10lbs less weight to carry than his last success. If you take into consideration the apprentice jockey taking a further 7lbs off the ten year olds back then he’s sure to go close. The downside however is that age isn’t on his side and although he isn’t adverse to winning after a long break I feel I’d rather side with a horse who’s fitness isn’t in doubt. Trainer Andrew Balding has rattled off 8 winners in recent weeks and jockey Oisin Murphy (who is everyone’s fancy to claim his first jockeys championship) has ridden 14 winners in as many days. The duo team up with Simoon who claimed success at Chelmsford last month. He was making his seasonal reappearance that day and should be even fitter for his return to grass. A step up in trip, based on previous outings at this distance, shouldn’t be an issue either and he gets the vote to make it back to back victories. SIMOON (WIN)
The Cambridge News – PicksfromthePaddock.co.uk:
18:55 Windsor – BYE BYE HONG KONG (WIN)
The Jersey Evening Post – Rory Paddock:
20:20 Windsor – SIMOON (WIN)
East Anglian Daily Times – Dean Kilbryde:
17:20 Windsor – LOVE AND BE LOVED (WIN)
Norwich Evening News – Chris Connolly:
14:20 Wolverhampton – ENERGIA FLAVIO (WIN)
Ipswich Star – Matt Polley:
16:10 Musselburgh – CHRISTMAS NIGHT (WIN)