We’ve teamed up with BetVictor’s Charlie McCann to preview the day’s racing.
It was hard not to be impressed by Cracksman’s win in the Group 1 Prix Ganay at new-look Longchamp on Sunday and he and stablemate Enable are likely to be kept apart this flat season until a return to France on the first Sunday of October for the Arc.
The pair are the 3/1 joint favourites for the Paris showpiece with BetVictor, but the classic generation – who receive far too big a weight concession at that stage of the season - have won 11 of the last 15 renewals of the great race. I would not be rushing to back either of the Gosden four-year-olds at this stage. Note Derby favourite Saxon Warrior is the leading three-year-old in the lists with BetVictor at 20/1.
The ground is likely to be soft come post time at Ascot this afternoon with rain forecast on Wednesday morning on top of ground described as good to soft at the time of writing.
Connections have dispensed with the hood that Dathanna (2.35) has worn in five of her six career starts so you would hope that the filly is not as headstrong as was the case as an early season two-year old.
The daughter of Dubawi has two soft ground wins to her name so underfoot conditions should not be an inconvenience. She was backed as if she had improved from two-to-three when easily winning at Kempton last month and she can give the 3lbs to Newbury two-year-old scorer Red Starlight.
The first of two Group 3 races on the card is the 2m Sagaro Stakes and conditions should be ideal for Irish raider Torcedor (3.10) who ran a career best when runner up to Order Of St George over C&D on Champions Day back in October.
There was something clearly amiss with the selection when he was virtually pulled up at Meydan just a month ago, but soft ground suits and Jessica Harrington would not bring him over if she didn’t feel he was over what ailed him in Dubai.
Andrew Balding’s Montaly won the Chester Cup first time out last season and is respected, as is Mark Johnston’s Time To Study who looks an out-and-out stayer who found two miles around Musselburgh too sharp on his reappearance.
Invincible Army (3.45) was a juvenile I had a lot of time for last season and the form of his second to James Garfield in the Mill Reef back in September is the best form on offer. The selection has run well with plenty of cut last term and I hope he can enhance his Commonwealth Cup claims in a terrific three-year-old sprint.
Victory Bond was a fluent winner at Lingfield on Good Friday over 10f and he is a fascinating contender dropping back to a straight mile in the listed Paradise Stakes. Accidental Agent and Century Dream (4.20) both progressed at a rate of knots last season, however, and preference for the Simon Crisford trained four-year-old is marginal.
I am prepared to put a line through the selection’s poor reappearance when he was tailed off on heavy ground at Longchamp over ten furlongs last month. The horse was backed off the boards for a handicap over today’s C&D back in July but disappointed - although he showed improved form back on soft ground to win at Haydock and Newbury last back end. Granted soft ground he must go close although he will need an end-to-end gallop back at a mile.
At Wolverhampton, I hope to see Sea Youmzain (2.25) break her duck at the third time of asking for Mark Johnston and Joe Fanning.
The filly was 20/1 on debut when finishing runner up over the straight mile at Leicester and seemed to get bogged down when subsequently beaten 6l at Redcar. She may have most to fear from the once-raced Sarvi who shaped with considerable promise at Lingfield on debut and a market move would be worth noting.
The nap is Geetanjali (3.35) who is just 1lb higher than when not getting the rub of the green at Lingfield last time. Cameron Noble again takes the ride on the filly and this C&D scorer can return to winning ways.
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