Bahrain Trophy (Group 3) (Class 1) (3YO only)
Winner £45,368 – 7 run
Advice: 1 pt win Windshear (5/2 general), 2 pts Windshear to finish first or second (5/6 Hills)
Forever Now: Comes from John Gosden yard that loves this event, having won it for the last two years, and dramatic improvement upped to 12f on second start when close second to Wonderstruck (sixth in Ribblesdale) and then when striking on from the front to land Doncaster maiden in fine style; No surprise if he’s a group horse today and can go well.
Hartnell: Disappointment on return when not right at Epsom but much better since, second in Lingfield Derby trial and then a winner of Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, going clear with promising sorts to the end (runner up rated 97, third rated 100); Drop back in trip what he’s likely to need and can go well today.
Odeon: Wide margin maiden winner on second start and then fourth in Dante Stakes (form that now looks strong in this context), but disconcertingly keen at Ascot when he faded badly late and hard to trust stamina over this trip with that in mind.
The Corsican: Just two starts, both in 1m4f maidens last night, landing a decent race at Kempton on the AW after third on debut at Sailsbury; Would’ve run at Royal Ascot but for ground being too fast on the day in Queen’s Vase so connections rate him but
Vent De Force: Handicaps looked like they’d been the making of him when keeping on in maidens and has duly obliged upped in trip on two handicap starts, a comprehensive winner both times; Still needs to find significant improvement however and drops back a furlong in trip here.
Windshear: Steadily progressive since starting out in handicaps, second in strong handicap on Rowley Mile to begin year before then romping home at Sandown next time out; Since been second twice but clearly still improving based on the way he was best of the rest behind subsequent Group 3 winner Cannock Chase and then a creditable second in King George V Handicap from wide draw in 18 runner field; That form stands up well here and has looked steadily progressive.
Honour Bound: Middle distances always going to suit her more so no surprise that she broke her duck at Windsor and then landed Lingfield Oaks trial by a nose; Nowhere in Oaks but not worth writing off just yet even if she needs to improve.
VERDICT: The July Festival opens with a fantastically competitive card-taking place on ground that’s seen some rain but nothing too heavy. The impressive maiden winner Forever Now, a brother to 2012 winner Shantaram, comes from a red hot yard that has won the last two runnings, and he deserves significant respect, but so does WINDSHEAR, a close second to the extremely progressive Elite Army at the Royal Ascot from a wide draw. Hartnell should also be close up, having toughed out the Queen’s Vase – he’s sure to enjoy the drop in trip from then.