A tricky handicap over the mile to kick things off today.
Weld Al Emarat is likely to be popular on just his second start for Simon Crisford with Ryan Moore taking over in the saddle from Jamie Spencer. This four year old by Dubawi will have to step up on his second to Iconic at Newbury last month but id be surprised if he didn’t have more to offer as that was his first start since last August and he’s the type of horse that his up and coming trainer will do well with.
The top four in the handicap look to have it all to do off their marks against some unexposed types although I wouldn’t be surprised if The Warrior out ran his odds now dropped to 89. His form figures this season are far from inspiring but some of those runs were much better performances than the form figures show and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made the frame at a decent price but looks vulnerable in terms of winning the race.
Fawaareq started the season off by finishing second to the highly progressive Castle Harbour (since went on to win a very competitive handicap at York and finished 6th in the Jersey Stakes at Ascot off 98). He finally got off the mark at Beverley in May when sent off 2/5 in a pretty mediocre maiden and followed that up with a win back at this track just over two weeks ago. Both his victories may not have been in the strongest of races but off a mark of 89 he still looks to be ahead of the handicapper on the pick of his form in maidens. Hopefully he can continue his progression and make it three wins on the bounce.
Godolphin has two decent chances in the shape of Clear Water and Blair House. The latter was very green the last day but once the penny dropped with him he picked up really well and finished his race off very strongly, he’ll have no doubt learned from that and has a real chance.
Clear Water however is the one I fear the most. She’s the only filly in the race and she improved no ends from her debut in April when winning her maiden by four lengths the following month. She certainly looks as though she’ll make her presence felt in this company.
Fawaareq (E/W if 9/2+)
On to York next for the first of two races from there and another handicap, this time over five furlongs.
Top weight Thesme is a good place to start with in form Rachel Richardson claiming a useful five pound. This Exceed and Excel filly is two from three at York and comes here off the back of an excellent second in the Scottish Sprint Cup at Musselburgh. Before that she wasn’t beaten far in a competitive handicap over this C&D and she’s likely to make a bold bid from the front and looks sure to go close again.
Paul Midgley won this with Line Of Reason in 2014 and has three chances here with Silvanus, Gamesome and Related. The last two named are the interesting ones with similar profiles. Both only joined Paul Midgley this season and in truth have been a little disappointing so far, however that has resulted in them both dropping to attractive marks given what they achieved last season. Gamesome went off joint favourite for the Wokingham and wasn’t beaten all that far, that was off a mark of 100 and he runs today off 93. Related finished fourth in that same race as well as the Bunbury Cup and wasn’t beaten far in the Stewards Cup at Goodwood all off a mark of 97 and he runs today off 92. Both would be dangerous if returning to their best.
Celebration is a tough, consistent three year old who is improving all the time and looks the pick of Richard Fahey’s three runners. Excessable is interesting down the bottom of the handicap and isn’t without his chance especially if the money comes for him.
The one I’ve sided with however is Lathom who I thought ran a cracker in the dash at Epsom on his first start for David O’Meara who does well at this course and although this son of Compton Place was a little disappointing last time out this will be the first time he’s encountered a quick surface this season and that will be too his liking. He won the Super Sprint last season and wasn’t beaten far in the Molecomb at Goodwood. He’s another who’s dropped to a handy mark and looks to have plenty in his favour today.
Cheveley Park hold a strong hand in this fillies handicap over seven furlongs with three runners.
Eternally, Sainted and Aristocratic represent Cheveley Park with the latter possibly their best chance. She was second to the runaway Sandringham winner Persuasive on her handicap debut back in May and sneaks in here with bottom weight for Sir Michael Stoute and Joe Fanning. That piece of form alone makes her stand out in this contest but she also has some useful form in maidens and is probably unlucky not to have won a race yet. However you wouldn’t be one bit surprised to see one of the other two past the post in front either.
Alsaaden is another one worth a mention. She’s been running at Chester of late and has had her excuses the last twice. Today’s track and more importantly ground will be more to her liking and she could run well at a price.
Permission is the selection however after an extremely impressive debut here twenty days ago. She didn’t have the best of runs on that occasion but once in the clear showed a serious turn of foot and looked a filly right out of the top drawer. People might question how strong that race was but Ravens Corner who finished second is a decent yardstick (rated 83) and the selection ran right away from that rival. Daniel Muscutt keeps the ride on the James Fanshawe trained filly and he claims a useful three pound which is an added bonus. ‘She could be anything’!
A group two next up for fillies over six furlongs.
Bletchley is a good place to start. She had me tearing my hair out after her narrow defeat at Royal Ascot last month when I had her backed at 20/1. She’s clearly a filly with a lot of talent and I thought she was a little unlucky in The Albany, not getting the clearest of passages but flying home once in the clear. A repeat of that here would give her an outstanding chance in this and she’s likely to go off favourite for this trappy little affair.
Nasimi looked above average when making a winning debut as did Asidious Alexander and their both feared with further improvement likely. Nations Alexander was behind Nasimi when they met but she has run again since then and won a listed even at this venue in very testing conditions and seems to be improving.
Roly Poly is a little more battle hardened than some of these and she’s a filly I like and I don’t think you’ve seen the best of her yet. The key to her is the ground, she’s a better filly on better ground. Both her defeats have come on soft ground and behind two top class types in Caravaggio and Lady Aurelia so even if she had her conditions on those occasions she still would have struggled to get a look in. She made a winning debut over five and got back to winning ways less than two weeks ago when getting up late to beat Seafront at the Curragh. That was her first try at six furlongs and I’ve no doubt she’s better at six than she is over five. These will be the quickest conditions she’s encountered in her career and she’s sure to love it. She could prove a tough nut to crack.
Roly Poly (E/W if 9/2+)
Back to York now for yet another sprint and another race for fillies this time the group three Summer Stakes.
Divine has to give weight away here after an impressive show in a group three at the Curragh last month. Ronnie Whelan keeps the ride but she looks vulnerable in a competitive little heat and although she may make the frame it would take a very smart performance to collect the first prize.
La Roja has bumped into the top class Quiet Reflection twice this season and wasn’t disgraced when beaten just two and a half lengths in the Commonwealth Cup behind that rival at Royal Ascot last month. This is a bit easier and has a leading chance on just her sixth career start.
Mayfair Lady is two from two at York and was extremely impressive when winning here last time out. That was a handicap and this is a step up in class but she has conditions to suit and will no doubt make a bold bid from the front. She has a serious chance.
Besharah is the one with proven group one form and her fourth in the French 1000 Guineas sets the form standard here. She was also beaten under a length in the group one Cheveley Park last season over this trip and won the Lowther over this C&D also. She’s taking a step back to six furlongs for the first time this season and the drop in class may be enough to see her get the better of Mayfair Lady.
On to the big one of the day the Falmouth Stakes where Usherette will no doubt be short in the betting and should prove tough to beat.
Usherette will likely go off odds on here and that’s no surprise giving what she’s done this season. She was brilliant in winning the Dahlia at this venue earlier in the season and followed that up with an even more impressive performance at Royal Ascot when taking the Duke Of Cambridge. She’s still yet to win a group one but her connections will no doubt be expecting that to change today and she’s the one they’ve all got to beat.
Although Usherette will take all the beating she’s very short in the betting and Amazing Maria last years winner may represent E/W value. She’s already twice a group one winner and has yet to hit top stride this season. She started the season off by finishing third behind Usherette and has over five lengths to find with that rival on that running. She finished sixth behind Tepin at Royal Ascot but I thought she ran a blinder on that occasion. Todays ground will be more to her liking and id be disappointed if she didn’t push the favourite close on this occasion. The big downer for E/W punters is the withdrawel of Euro Charlene which means only two places but I really do think Amazing Maria will give the favourite most to do. Betting without is also an alternative.
Always Smile and Alice Springs will be popular on their Royal Ascot showing and aren’t without a chance.
Amazing Maria (E/W)
The final race of the day is probably the hardest to solve with the selection likely to go off at a big price.
This is one of those races where you can make a case for nearly all of the runners. Last time out winners Banksea and Autocratic will be popular for their highly respected connections. Vivre Pour Vivre, Wild Hacked and Bathos made the shortlist along with top weight High Grounds.
Biodynamic is only a tentative selection and i’m hoping he can out run his odds (25/1 as I type this). He had no chance last time out when contesting the Epsom Derby and was obviously beaten a long way. Before that however he ran a creditable race in defeat when finishing fourth in the Chester Vase, that wasn’t a bad run and the horse that was ten lengths behind him on that occasion was High Grounds. I cant understand why there’s such a difference in price between the two today and I’m hoping Biodynamic can take another step forward here and make the frame at a big price. He certainly wasn’t disgraced on his only visit to this venue when finishing third behind 103 rated Linguistic and Oaks third Harlequeen, 100 rated Landofhopeandglory was behind the selection on that occasion. He has some nice pieces of form and I for one wouldn’t be surprised if he passed the post in front.