Portland Place Properties July Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (2YO only)
Winner £45,368 – 12 run
Advice: 1 pt each/way Jungle Cat (13/2 general), Mind of Madness (9/1 general)
Angelic Lord: Not that far behind Jungle Cat in the Coventry, a marked step up on his debut effort when he nosed to victory as favourite at Ripon on debut; That form puts him just off the leaders today but does need to take a step forward.
Belardo: Backed like a smart horse at Yarmouth (bred well, being a half brother to the useful Berling), and underlined that confidence with a smooth win that suggested group company wouldn’t be a major issue for him; Likely that he can take the beating here.
Dougal: Promising debut quickly turned into a win when he landed Brighton maiden and then dead heated in conditions race on the Rowley Mile; Horse he shared victory with that day won again since and was then fourth in the Coventry so form clearly not second rate and interesting here although yard and main jockey (Hughes) prefers Ivawood.
George Bowen: Won far better than distance suggested on his debut at Ripon when noisy and green beforehand and then dwelling at the start before being rushed to the front and sticking there late, showing a fine attitude to last out in front when challenged by the runner up; Could really outrun his odds today if settling beforehand.
Ivawood:Bred in the purple, well related to last year’s Chesham winner Berkshire, and backed and then won as if he was a smart, better than average horse on Sandown debut for a yard that has won three of the last four runnings; Should go very well here.
Jungle Cat: vastly improved from his debut when he landed Goodwood contest and then was third in the Coventry Stakes, much closer to The Wow Signal than he was at Ayr first time out; That form gives him a fine chance on the bare figures here and respected.
Lightning Stride: Won Leicester maiden but unplaced in other three starts and this likely to be too much for him.
Mind of Madness: Looked a fine talent when romping to victory on debut in conditions race and then when second in smart conditions event; Disappointment in Windsor Castle Stakes but showed that to be all wrong when a fast finishing second in the Norfolk and step upto 6f should help him greatly in that respect today; Major contender.
Mubtaghaa: Crying out for the extra furlong since debut and showed that when third in the Windsor Castle, where the winner was too strong and too quick for them but he was nearly best of the rest and has to be respected today.
Muhaarar: Didn’t look to win the strongest race at Doncaster but created no small impression when doing so and no back number for Maktoums here and the third’s Royal Ascot run underlines the form; Needs respecting.
The Great War: Very disappointing in the Norfolk stakes having looked a class act in two small contests beforehand when many of yard’s runners were disappointing; Raced a bit close to what was a very hot pace that day and could do better this time around but more needed.
Ustinov: Built on debut promise when he landed Nottingham maiden at odds on and this sort will have more to offer, but needs far more.
VERDICT: The first major test of the Coventry form in the UK since Royal Ascot, with highly rated maiden winners Ivawood and Belardo taking on the likes of JUNGLE CAT and MIND OF MADNESS in a fascinating July Stakes, with the latter two making more appeal at the prices today with many contenders having reasonable claims.