Not much success on a personal level yesterday only Roxy Star (second at 9/1) and Mississippi (third at 20/1) earned some place money in a disappointing day.
Gretchen won the Park Hill Stakes and looked to relish the trip. She battled well to hold off Melodious and Asyad in a good day for John Gosden and Rab Havlin, who teamed up with California later on in the card.
The Group 3 Sceptre Stakes went to Roger Varian’s Realtra. She was a previous Listed winner and scored a success at 25/1 with Pelerin second (66/1) and Terror third (25/1).
Yesterday was a highly competitive day of racing but today despite the smaller field sizes looks of a higher standard in terms of quality.
13:55 Flying Childers Stakes
This Group 2 race looks to have a worthy favourite in Gutaifan. He’s proved to be a smart colt for Richard Hannon and won the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte beating Ajaya, who won the Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes at York. That form looks strong and considering he is versatile on the ground it looks like it would take an extraordinary amount of improvement from one of his rivals to beat him here. On very soft ground when last seen he was second in the Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville and if running anywhere near to that level of form then he wins this by probably about 2l. A high draw would have been preferred by the way the action so far has unfolded but he could prove too classy. Future entries including two Group 1’s in the Middle Park and Dewhurst Stakes.
Bear Cheek is unbeaten from her two starts and could still be improving. She won her maiden at Naas in good fashion and then went on to win the Group 3 Curragh Stakes beating Independence Day, who re-opposes here. In that Group 3 the race was set up nicely for her as she raced in second allowing Dr Doro to do all the early running before picking her off to assert. The third from that race dropped into a nursery for her next start off a mark of 94 and finished second. She is a player in this contest but would need to find something extra to beat the favourite but does have the better draw of the pair.
Those look the main two to focus on but the trio that ran in the Listed Roses Stakes could prove the value. Ornate was favourite that day and didn’t have the best of runs from two furlongs out and didn’t really respond for pressure only to finish fourth. Shadow Hunter won that race and raced prominently throughout before picking up when getting to the front to hold of Rouleau, who has since won the Group 3 Sirenia Stakes at Kempton. In this race she could be the one to run into third place. It was a well-judged ride from Phillip Makin and could be the one to cause the surprise. Kurland was third for Martyn Meade. She won very takingly on debut before finishing fourth in the Queen Mary. The drying ground is a positive for her. The overnight prices of 14/1 knocking about on Shadow Hunter could be just a little bit too big.
Advice: Gutaifan (15/8 Win)
14:30 Mallard Stakes
A staying handicap over 1m6f where Battersea is joint favourite and for me is worth taking on. Over this trip at Goodwood he was very disappointing finishing eighth and weakened in the closing stages. That possible may have been down to the track and coming to a galloping track like Doncaster could suit. He does have a bit to prove considering he is usually well-backed prior to races and hasn’t shown much to warrant that money in his last three starts. The drying ground for him is a positive and he’s still quite lightly raced, so there may still be some progression left in him.
Not Never has been highly progressive and can reverse the form with Polarisation here. At York in the Melrose the Mark Johnston runner came out on top by a head but he has ran twice since, winning one (beating the Old Borough Cup winner Nakeeta) and placing third behind Wonder Laish. They are both good runs but how much will those races have taken out of him is the question, so the Hugo Palmer gelding gets the vote. He’s improving nicely and beat Hernandoshideaway at Chester, who is rated 96 and here he is running off a mark of 95. Against Polarisation compared to the York run he is also 9lb better off and that pull can reverse the form too. A lightly-race three-year-old, who could still have some improvement left in him looks to be the way to go against some exposed rivals.
Forgotten Voice has been around the block and was second by a neck in the Summer Stakes at Goodwood 45-days ago. That was his best effort in six runs on the flat and he has the back class to trouble the judge here after winning the Group 3 Glorious Stakes at Goodwood in 2013. However the handicapper has put him up another 1lb for that effort and despite being rather long in the tooth as a ten-year-old he should be competitive. Curbyourenthusiasm is interesting attempting this trip for the first time. He recent effort at York can be slightly forgiven because the ground was against him that day. Back on a quicker surface he could go close and improve for the step up in trip. In July at York he ran a good race when second to Wadi Al Hattawi but possibly hit the front too soon and didn’t find too much when getting to the front. Over 1m5f at Newmarket last June he was third beaten by over 5l and kept on to take that position but pedigree doesn’t give much confidence about seeing out this trip.
Advice: Not Never (9/2 Win)
15:05 Doncaster Cup
This is another staying race over 2m2f and is a Group 2 contest but not a vintage renewal. It’s proving tight little betting heat so far with a few of these being prominent in the market.
The first two home in the Ascot Stakes are up towards the front of the betting. That race was won by Willie Mullins with Clondaw Warrior, who followed up that success at the Galway Festival back down in trip to 1m4f. In the Ebor he finished down the field but that can be forgiven as he raced prominently in a race ran at a good gallop for a staying race. He is versatile in trip and ground, so deserves to be the price he is and could take the beating with the hood back on, which he race in at Ascot. Frankie Dettori back in the saddle after York where he teamed up with Mullins to win the Lonsdale Cup with Max Dynamite, so could ride another winner for the trainer.
Second in the Ascot Stakes was Fun Mac and Hughie Morrison’s runners are coming back to the boil. After Ascot he ran in the Listed March Stakes finishing second to The Twisler where he was unable to quicken up on the soft ground. There are two positives for him here. Firstly the better ground should help to see him quicken late on if necessary. Secondly he was gave Clondaw Warrior 9lbs at Royal Ascot but in this race is getting 4lb in weight, which could make this contest a lot closer and because of that I think this four-year-old can take the glory.
The other on my shortlist was Seamour. Brian Ellison’s four-year-old was sixth in the Northumberland Plate but wasn’t beaten by far from a bad draw and that race seems to be working out. After that he raced at Ascot and beat High Secret where he stayed on quite nicely in the soft ground to steal the victory late on. The way he shaped there would give you some confidence about him seeing out this trip. He would need to find a bit extra stepping into Group company but I think he could be on the premises.
Times Up won this race consecutively in 2012 and 2013 but looks a bit long in the tooth now. Kalann is one to watch after finishing third in this race last year at odds of 80/1. He’s only had one run this season in a Listed race when well-beaten by the likes of Kingfisher and Panama Hat. He’s quite interesting only having had that run so far this season for which he should strip fitter. Taws may be out of her depth her but you’re guaranteed a run for your money and she should prefer this extra test of stamina when compared to her runs at 2m at York and Sandown.
Advice: Fun Mac (6/1 each-way)
15:40 May Hill Stakes
This Group 2 race for the fillies over the straight mile and this looks a really good race of prospects. For me there is two standouts. Firstly Pure Diamond who was very impressive on her second start when she won at Kempton maiden by 6l. The horse she beat Kasseopia has since got off the mark and bolted up at the same venue winning by 9l. Both of them could be worth following and you can see why this Godolphin runner is favourite. She didn’t run too badly for her debut at Goodwood in a maiden that is slowly working itself out. She has to prove herself coming back onto the turf but she is well related being a half-sister to Elite Army and German Listed winner Promesse De L’Aube. Saeed Bin Suroor has won this race twice in the last five years with Ihtimal and White Moonstone; on top of that Godolphin has owned four of the last five winners. She is highly thought of and has been touted as an early contender for the 1000 Guineas.
The other that I think stands out and can follow Pure Diamond home is Turret Rocks. She won on debut beating a Dermot Weld horse, who won by nearly 5l on her next start. In that run despite hanging see showed ability and potential to win a race of this nature. She has since finished third in a Group 3 and fourth in a Group 2 back down over 7f. Her latest effort came in the Debutante Stakes at the Curragh when fourth to Ballydoyle, which is no disgrace. The drying ground should suit her plus the step back up to a mile is one that could see her go well.
Hawksmoor won her maiden on the polytrack at Kempton in good fashion before going into the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes where she only beat one home but wasn’t beaten by too far. She responded by getting the better of Fireglow in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood, which was on soft ground. The run in the Sweet Solera came on quick ground, so it’ll be interesting to see how she goes on this ground. The extra furlong shouldn’t be a problem by the way she finished her race off at Goodwood.
Gypsy Eyes won on her debut and there is likely to be more to come from her. In the maiden she won the third, sixth and eighth have won since while the others to have ran have improved, so that maiden doesn’t look to bad in the formbook. Her dam was a winner over 7f as a two-year-old like she was on debut and is related to a US Grade 3 winner. More to come but will need to improve; market support and paddock appearance could be telling.
Marenko won on her second start beating Light Up Our World. Both from the Richard Hannon yard and both have to show a bit more, especially for stepping up in trip considering neither has yet shown a turn of foot where they’ve been staying on in the finish. Light Up Our World is a half-sister to Light Up My Life, who finished third in this race in 2012 but only ever managed wins at 7f. Marenko’s dam was placed in a Listed race over 7f. This pair need to prove they can cope with the step up in trip.
Advice: Pure Diamond (9/4 Win)
Turret Rocks (6/1 each-way or 7/2 without the fav – Paddy Power)
This handicap isn’t one that really appeals but it does have a nice each-way shape to it with the 11-runners. Toofi heads the market but he could be worth taking on. He has ran in better races than this and finished second to Coulsty in the Listed King Charles II Stakes last May but his best effort of late came over 6f when second to Magical Memory on very quick ground at Goodwood, so drying ground here a plus. Charlie Hills horse has since placed in the Group 1 Sprint Cup adding to that level of form. This race may not take much winning but he doesn’t really appeal off this mark of 102. On paper the higher draw is also a positive.
The two I’m looking at against the favourite are Horsted Keynes and Foxtrot Romeo. Preference is for the latter having his first run for David O’Meara and we know he can turn around and improve a horse. The six-year-old hasn’t been seen since July when finishing eleventh of 16 at Newmarket for Marco Botti. Daniel Tudhope comes back in from suspension yesterday to ride and in the first time visor he could be very well handicapped if things go his way. His win to run ratio isn’t the best but a change of scenery and a new training regime could see him rejuvenated. His last win came at Wolverhampton November last year off 97 and today he runs off 95, so could go close. The draw in nine way another factor too put him up over Horsted Keynes.
David Simcock’s runner was second in the Buckingham Palace Stakes last June off a mark of 100 and today runs off 97. He maybe on that likes and end-to-end gallop to aim at. He’s been off the course for 62-days, which should freshen him up and this son of Giant’s Causeway should like the drying ground. The drop to this sort of trip could help considering he hasn’t been seeing out his races on his last few starts.
Of the rest then Chookie Royale made some appeal of a falling mark of 95 however most of his best form comes on the all-weather. His last win came at Chelmsford but his last three turf runs he has shown very little. He’s had a break of 104-days plus he has a good course record, which make you feel he could be a little overpriced. Shore Step last won at this meeting last year off a mark of 89. He has raced well off this mark previously and hasn’t been beaten by far. The question is if he’ll see out this extended 6f trip.
Advice: Foxtrot Romeo (6/1 each-way)
16:50 Scotsman Stakes
A Listed race for the two-year-old’s over 7f but only six runners set to take their chance.
Wall Of Fire looked to be quite a useful prospect on debut when making all to beat Justice Law at Ascot. The second has since reappeared and won well in a maiden at Newbury before finishing second in a Novice Stakes race franking the form. A likely improver for only having one start this son of Canford Cliffs should also enjoy the step up in trip. This expensive yearling showed a good attitude on to win at Ascot on good to soft ground and the better ground here could see him go well again.
Haalick showed quite a bit of potential at Haydock on debut. He didn’t win by far but he travelled smoothly throughout and didn’t have the easiest passage through but when the gap opened he flew home. It was quite an eye-catching debut beating Jayjinski, a horse that had already had a run finishing second on debut. It was noted he was rather coltish in the paddock so it’ll be interesting to see how he goes in the preliminaries. He has entries for some Group races later in the year and did look smart on debut.
Tashweeq was another that hinted at ability on debut when second to Justice Law. He followed that up with success at Newmarket beating Tabarrak in a race he finished very strongly suggesting his run did him the world of good. Trip isn’t a problem but his two starts have been on softer ground, which leaves a question mark of him handling this surface. The better ground would be a positive for Mohab, who didn’t see out the trip on good to soft ground in the Acomb. That race looked a strong piece of form with Recorder and Bing Bang Bong finishing first and second. Won readily at Catterick on his second start and has plenty of entries for connections to decide where to go. He would need to find a bit more to matched some of the horses mentioned before him.
Welford is the likely pace angle into this race and if Wall Of Fire does go forward, he’s the one I’d fear could try and turn it into a dual up front meaning it is set up perfectly for one in behind.
Advice: Wall Of Fire (9/2 Win)
17:25 Classified Stakes
Overnight and early this morning this race has already seen four runners taken out taking the field down to eight runners. One of them to come out was going to be the selection in Michael Bell’s Berland but we’ll have to go elsewhere.
American Artist sets a fair standard on recent form. He won coming from off the pace at Sandown and usually you have to upgrade a performance of that nature at the track, which tends to be a front-runners paradise. He followed that up with a win at Windsor again coming off the pace to stay on well in the closing stages. His mark has gone up 2lb for a second at Leicester. All three runs have been at a mile or the extended mile and he’s shaped like he’d stay the extra couple of furlongs here. His price does look a bit on the skinny side.
The one to possibly take a chance on is Peterhouse. Jason Ward’s runner is a consistent type and won well at Beverley two starts ago. When he last ran he ran against some nice types in Laurence, Sealife and Rib Ranger, so finishing fourth to them isn’t a disgrace. Following that effort the handicapper has given him 1lb back. He’ll need a career best off this mark but has a high draw and his trainer is confident he is “a proper ten furlong horse.” He could offer some value in this cut-up contest.
Super Kid looks short in the betting for a horse that has only won a maiden on turf. He ran nine days ago finishing second at Lingfield but was given a bit too much to do late on. He comes here off the same mark but for me still has to prove himself on turf. Darrington is one that was on the shortlist. Not too much was expected of him at York when he went off a 33/1 chance but his two previous runs at Newmarket suggested the step-up in trip could see him in a better light. He won a three-runner race and was eased down in the closing stages, so that is hard to judge. However when third at the same venue he was keeping on in the closing stages but the winner of that race was behind him at York.
Sheriff Of Nawton was the other one to look at. He has been well-beaten on his last three starts but returns to Doncaster where he won over 1m4f under Josh Doyle in May. Doyle can claim 7lb, which takes his mark down to 77 meaning he should be thereabouts in the finish. With that win over 1m4f it shows he stays and if these go off at a quick tempo then it could play into his hands with the extra stamina. Two wins from three starts at this track and won here over this distance in March. There are plenty of ticks in boxes for this David O’Meara runner.
Advice: Peterhouse (15/2 each-way)