With it being Shergar Cup day, an event that divides opinion, I’ll be looking elsewhere for selections. Personally it’s not an event that I am keen on, as a betting prospect, but it does make good viewing.
There are six domestic cards and one over at Kilbeggan. My attention is focussed on the action at Haydock and Newmarket.
Basateen heads the market for the Class 2 Handicap and his 3rd in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes last August is the strongest piece of form in this race. 28 days ago he made his reappearance at York finishing down the field in a 18-runner handicap over a mile but he did stay on in the final furlong to suggest that this step-up in trip should suit yet pedigree suggests it could stretch this son of Teofilo. That race will just freshen him up, so he should come here stronger and fitter, but I think he is worth taking on.
Rembrandt Van Rijn would the one to focus on in this field. He has been seen on course three times this season and has won every time seeing his mark rise from 82 to 96 here. His latest win came at Sandown 57 days ago where he beat Solo Hunter by ½l yet he could have won by further if he had a clear run from the two furlong pole, so that win could have been by further. Despite the 6lb rise for that win I personally feel there could be more to come from him and with David Lanigan being on the ‘Hot Trainers’ list having had two winners from eight runners, he is worth siding with having proved his stamina.
Mark Johnston saddles three runners, all at the top of the weights. The market looks right by how they have priced them up with Master Of Finance being the most fancied after a good 2nd at Ascot when last seen. He’ll need a career best effort of this mark of 98. If Sennockian Star gets an uncontested lead then he could be difficult to peg back here. We saw him at Royal Ascot nearly make all, only to be caught by Mahsoob, so expect Franny Norton to try and dictate the pace. From that point of view there is only Mica Mika that can go from the front, so expect them both to try to make all but in the end they could go off to fast and set it up for a closer.
Festive Fare is one of the more interesting runners. He drops in class after his last three efforts have been in Listed and Group company respectively but he still needs to find something here. The better ground should help him after his disappointing effort on soft at Hamilton when last seen. Plus another positive would be the drop in trip to this 1m2f, which on pedigree.
Advice: Rembrandt Van Rijn (5/1 each-way)
A competitive 7f Handicap is the next race on the agenda where there are 15 runners set to go to post.
Rene Mathis won this race last year for Richard Fahey. However his mark is now 8lb higher compared to his win here in 2014 meaning he’ll need a career best. Two starts ago he was successful over course and distance when winning the Bunbury Cup, so can’t be dismissed considering he has won three times from five starts on the July course.
Buckstay is fairly prominent in the betting after two solid runs here, which he placed on both occasions meaning he is another to be in the mix. The most recent was when he was closing 2nd to Mr Win in the Silver Bunbury Cup. Expect him to be staying on strongly in the closing strongly but he’s more of a placer than a winner.
The one that I’m most interested in is Jacob Black. Keith Dalgleish had a double up at Musselburgh, so his horses are going well and the trainer doesn’t tend to have runners here; in the last five years he has had five runners on the July course. This four-year-old has strong claims to be going close here. He made all to win at Sandown three starts ago, in a race that the form looks very strong with plenty of winners coming out of that race. He tried similar tactics two starts ago at the same track and was only beaten by a neck. The horse that beat him is now rated 105 and was 4th at Glorious Goodwood. The tactics are obvious, get out and dictate from the front. That is something that does work here on the July course, so at a price he can hit the frame.
Burn The Boats is quite an interesting runner. The six-year-old is having his first run for Mike Murphy after coming over from Ger Lyons in Ireland. His handicap mark is now at 92, coincidentally that is his last winning mark when he won over a mile at Navan. Two of his three wins have come at a mile, so he has some extra stamina. This stiff 7f at a fast pace is something that should suit him, so he is one to watch in the market. Mambo Paradise went close at Glorious Goodwood last week when she finished 2nd to stablemate Enlace. She was keen earl on but here there should be more of an out and out gallop to suit her and as a three-year-old there could be more to come. We know Mark Johnston horses are quickly turned out and are always good looking in the paddock. If she runs like she did last week then she’ll go close.
Advice: Jacob Black (10/1 each-way)
Tom Dascombe’s Crowley’s Law has been knocking on the door and has finished 2nd on her last three runs. At Goodwood back in May she was beaten by Don’t Be, in what proved to be a little contentious as Luke Morris overused the whip on the winner, which proved to help her first past the post.
In June she ran in the Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes finishing 2nd beaten by 4l by Arabian Queen, who was 3rd in the Group 1 Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. She was well beaten but was able to reverse the form with Don’t Be and was ahead of Bold Lass too. She was last seen 55 days ago over in Germany. Again she was 2nd at Cologne in a Listed race but she did too much early on by being keen. Running off her mark of 99, which has remained unchanged for her efforts gives her a great chance to finally get her head back in-front.
Roxy Star is unbeaten having won all three starts. She’ll need to improve stepping up into this grade after winning a Class 3 Handicap at Ascot last month, albeit she did win well. She is unexposed and comes a yard in really good form at the moment so it is hard to discount her from the considerations.
Yasmeen is quite interesting. She has only won her debut maiden so far but she did it takingly. Her second run was in a Listed race finishing a close 2nd to Sperry, who could prove a useful filly. She was pitched into Group 1 compnay for her third start and she was out of her depth, so you can forgive her that run plus when last seen the conditions were against her on the soft ground when finishing fourth of six at Ascot. The return to quick ground is a positive and in this company should go close.
Advice: Crowley’s Law (7/1 each-way)
The final pick today comes in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes where seven fillies are entered.
Blue Bayou makes most of the appeal of she won on debut at Haydock quite well. For a Brian Meehan runner to win on their first start suggests they are clearly smart and he reckons she is one of the better fillies he has trained. When last seen she ran here in the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes finishing 3rd by a short head behind Illuminate and Besharah, with the latter more recently winning the Group 3 Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes at Ascot. In that race 29 days she had pulled 2l clear of Rah Rah back in 4th. Based on form she has an exceptional chance to win some black type.
‘The Boys in Blue’ have had lots of success in this race having won it with Long Lashes back in 2009 all the way through to Ihtimal in 2013. Last year Mark Johnston’s Muraaqaba spoiled that record but Bint Al Reem is their charge here to try and claim it back. She has only been seen once and she was a winner over course and distance. This daughter of Elusive Quality beat John Gosden’s Heroic Heart, who was 2nd on debut, while Notary finished 3rd won at Glorious Goodwood. The little evidence to the form suggests it could be quite a hot race in terms of winners. It’s also worth pointing that most of Charlie Appleby’s debutants have required the run but this filly didn’t, so could be useful. It’s worth noting that she was slow away and needed pushing along in the early stages, on top of that she showed greenness. When they met the rising ground she responded to pressure and quickened well in the last 200 yards to get on top. She is the main danger to the selection.
Mark Johnston won this race last year and he saddles Fireglow here. She won on her debut and then stepped up in trip to finish 4th in the Group 3 Albany Stakes, won by Illuminate. She went up to this 7f trip when last seen at Sandown when claiming a Listed race where she had to come of the pace to win, which isn’t something you usually see at that track, so it was a taking performance, especially as she won going away. Those three starts have given her a mark of 96, which seems fair but the two opponents mentioned above are likely 100+ fillies, so she’ll have to use her experience.
One final filly to mention is Hugo Palmer’s Hawksmoor. She won her debut on the all-weather at Kempton and despite showing signs of greenness; she won by over 3l. The second was Sir Mark Prescott’s Dutch Heiress, who has won twice since at Ayr and then Musselburgh yesterday in a Nursery. The yard’s two-year-old’s are going well plus Harry Bentley takes the ride and has a 27% strike rate in the last 14 days. Despite this race being more difficult than what she faced on debut I think she could be the one that will improve the most for that debut and should go well on turf for the first time.
When looking back at the last ten renewals of this race six of the winners have gone off favourite or joint-favourite with the other four winners at 7/2 (twice), 4/1 and 7/1, which suggests it pays to look towards the head of the market.
Advice: Blue Bayou (7/4 win)