We’ve teamed up with BetVictor to preview the day’s racing.
Today’s Group 1 action comes from Newmarket where 13 fillies’ and mares’ will contest the Sun Chariot Stakes over the Rowley Mile.
The market is headed by John Gosden’s Persuasive, who has had just the two starts so far this term but, arguably, ran a career best when third in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown last time. She must go close but the French have a good record in this event, winning five of the last eight renewals, and marginal preference is for Qemah (3.15) who can reward each way support at 7/1 with BetVictor.
The selection has a bit to find with Roly Poly and Persuasive on earlier form but I was impressed with her Duke of Cambridge win at Royal Ascot back in June and things just haven’t panned out for her in recent outings. Fellow Gallic raider Usherette (also 7/1 at BetVictor) disappointed in this corresponding race 12 months ago, but she bounced back to something like her best at Maisons–Lafitte last time and she might have given the selection plenty to think about had she been able to get a clear run at Royal Ascot.
In the opener, Knight To Behold (1.30) is taken to go one better than on debut when runner up in a decent Conditions race at Newbury.
This well-bred son of Sea The Stars would only have to repeat that run to go very close this afternoon and connections have suggested this will be it for the year. They will be keen to go one better and the excellent Richard Kingscote keeps the ride for Harry Dunlop who has not had the best of seasons.
Clearly (4.25) has been raised 5lbs for finishing third at Sandown last time but that doesn’t tell the whole story as she walked out of the stalls and looked a most unfortunate loser.
She had previously been reluctant to load when winning at Kempton and obviously has her quirks, but she has talent in abundance and the hope that her aversion to the starting stalls wanes as she gets more racing experience. William Buick returns to the saddle at Ascot for the first time since suffering a fractured vertebra following a fatal fall by his mount Permian at Arlington Park in mid-August. Buick is entitled to be a bit ring-rusty but he has been back riding out for over a week and Blue Point (3.00) can give him a winner on his comeback ride in the Group 3 Bengough Stakes.
The selection (11/10 at BetVictor) tried to match strides with Harry Angel on ground softer than ideal in the Sprint Cup at Haydock last time and the drying ground at Ascot will suit Charlie Appleby’s colt who can return to winning ways dropped in grade. He has a 3lbs penalty to carry, which doesn’t help matters, but he has only had three starts so far this term and has a good record over today’s C&D. The ground is the only concern but there is no further rain forecast and the hope is the ground is just on the easy side of good.
Godolphin’s Secret Number looks to have been laid out for the Cumberland Lodge Stakes, a race he won back in 2013, but he carries a 5lbs penalty for winning a Gp 2 in Turkey last month. The Charlie Appleby trained 7-year-old must give 11lbs to Andre Fabre’s Waldgeist (2.25) and that might be the key to the race.
Waldgeist has not been seen out since finishing fourth, beaten a couple of lengths, behind subsequent St Leger winner Capri in the Irish Derby and that form stands out in this grade. The French have never won this Group 3 contest but Fabre thinks his colt will make a decent four-year-old next term and this will be his last run of the campaign. The selection is Even money at BetVictor but could be a class apart from today’s rivals.
In the valuable 7f handicap Mojito (3.35) looked a potential group horse when winning at York over a mile last time, but he may have to be as he aims to follow up under a 9lbs rise dropping back a furlong in trip. Jim Crowley keeps the ride and he will be hard to keep out of the frame – he is 9/2 with BetVictor.
At Fontwell, Orbassa (3.40) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time for Paul Nicholls and is taken to take advantage of a slipping handicap mark. The selection has flattered to deceive over fences but has bits of form – runner up to Definitly Red at Ayr from a 7lbs higher mark – that gives him every chance in this grade.
I am looking forward to seeing the reappearance of Double W’s (4.20) at Kelso tomorrow in their valuable handicap chase over two-and-a-quarter-miles. The selection did get beat first time out last season over timber when looking very favourably treated which is a concern, but he will have the race run to suit with a solid pace guaranteed.
Palmers Hill (2.55) won a point-to-point in his native Ireland before being sold for over £300,000 to JP McManus back in March. He makes his hurdles debut for Jonjo O’Neill at Uttoxeter tomorrow and he is an exciting prospect. It is perhaps significant that he is not going down the Bumper route but straight over timber.
At Navan, I feel we might see the real Wonder Laish (5.15) in the Irish Cesarewitch after the five-year-old scored over hurdles last time. He had decent form on the level when trained by William Haggas back in 2015 and may have had his confidence restored with that win over jumps.
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