With three feature cards today there’s not enough time for anything close to a horse-by-horse preview so here are the horses I like and why from the three meetings.
John Smith’s Racing Handicap (1.40) – A fantastic betting card with any amount of contenders in each of the races but Bronze Angel makes very strong appeal. Having gone far too hard in a classy 7f handicap at Newbury after finishing seventh in the Spring Cup, he was a fine fourth in the Buckingham Palace at Royal Ascot when shaping as if the step back upto a mile would be of great benefit and he has to be respected with headgear looking as if it’s been working to great effect, and off the same mark the former Cambridgeshire winner has to be respected.
Navajo Chief always goes well here although Braidley would be next best, having bumped into Pretzel last time who then went onto all but head heat in a good listed contest at the July Meeting this week. Alfred Hutchinson may get the luck in running and Dusky Queen is another strong contender too, with Ryan Moore’s booking a massive plus.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Bronze Angel (8/1 general)
John Smith’s Silver Cup Stakes (2.20) – Shwaiman was exposed in a fine renewal of the Gold Cup but beforehand he had closed with purpose in the Chester Cup (sixth) and in a listed event behind Ralston Road and Clever Clookie here when a lack of room close to the finish may have denied him a winning chance. He’s 7lbs higher today but maybe dropping back to this trip will help and he deserves consideration.
Al Saham has improved for a step upto 1m4f this season, holding out to beat Hamelin at Ascot in May and then being given a fine ride by Kieren Fallon (on today) to win at Windsor. He’s progressive and may enjoy this step up in trip but the worry is that his pulling will cost him badly over today’s two extra furlongs. Walia is dropping in the handicap but that’s thanks to some poor showings before her listed second last time and at the price it’s a worry despite the fact that 1m6f should be right up her street.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Shwaiman (15/2 general)
John Smith’s Cup (2.55) – Bold Sniper gets to run off the same mark that he was when second in the Wolferton at Royal Ascot but this looks a lot more competitive and his attitude and quirks are offputting for a horse who’s become very short in the market.
Clever Cookie has been a horse who it has paid to follow over the flat, and the form and style of his win in a competitive handicap at the Ebor meeting mark him out as an ideal type for this race – he may well have shaded the verdict in the Grand Cup if he’d gotten a clearer run towards the finish – although the worry is that this is a tough task up 11lbs dropped back to this trip. He is not deserted, however.
Tahira was six lengths behind him that day when making a seasonal and yard debut, having failed to get a clear run when making some steady progress late on. Having since finished second at Chester when again staying on late, having not got the best of runs again, he looks primed for a bigger effort again today and with more to give for the yard – and maybe a decent surface given that he was seventh on soft behind Clever Cookie first time out.
Chancery has to be respected after his Listed third two weeks ago although his best efforts have all come at 1m4f and he shared a very poor draw in this bid field with Farraj, although the form of his win at Epsom (the first two were 7 lengths clear) is hard to resist. Tarikhi has more to give and is respected, although it’s interesting to see a 3lbs claimer on Red Avenger following his Hunt Cup disappointment.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Tahira (11/1 Skybet), 1 pt each/way Clever Cookie (8/1 Skybet, Coral)
3.30 John Smith’s City Walls Stakes (Listed) – G Force and Kingsate Native share market favouritism but both can be pushed close by Take Force, who paid for spending so much time on the lead when eight in the King Gorge but who had looked progressive over 5 furlongs on decent ground beforehand. It was a fine reappearance effort considering the class of race he was in and if able to repeat that form on a track that should really suit better then he holds a cracking chance.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Take Cover (13/2 general)
Superlative Stakes (2.40) – It’s so hard to get away from how impressive Gleneagles was, and even more important was the maiden he won given that Ballydoyle have used that same maiden to blood Roderic O’Connor, Rip Van Winkle, Duke of Marmalade and Horatio Nelson in the past few years. Ballydoyle’s juveniles have had better seasons upto this point but it is clear that he’s highly rated and should take the beating here if those signs are anything to go by.
That’s enough to put me of Mister Universe, Aktabantay, Archie, Smaih and Estidhkaar, with the Hannon pairing especially impressive in different fashions when winning last time out in a race that’s worth watching closely.
Bunbury Cup (3.15) – Absolutely So was backed as if defeat was out of the question in the Wokingham but the hectic 6 furlongs was all too much for him and slower ground and the step back upto the trip that saw him win so impressively at Goodwood the time before. We should see better from him today.
Horsted Kenyes was possibly unlucky not to catch Louis The Pious at Ascot in the Buckingham Palace and can reverse that form today – the winner that day has a 6lbs penalty – and he is marginally preferred to Abseil, who may enjoy a strongly run 7f but was poor in the Hunt Cup. Glen Moss was a clear first in his group in the Wokingham, but had been doing all his work at 7 furlongs beforehand and might be able to gain compensation here. He had previously beaten Louis the Pious at Haydock and was also second in the Victoria Cup, when ahead of Ayaar, and he would likely have been involved at the finish of the Wokingham. Professor, a major fancy of mine, was close up at the finish there that day and can be involved again today with just as much pace on the front and the hill to suit him late on.
Ertijaal now has the blinkers on, having found the Guineas too much for him. He remains a horse of promise but he has nothing in this year’s form from his races apart from American Hope’s Britannia sixth and an awful lot to prove even off just 100 today.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Glen Moss (12/1 Betway, 11/1 general), 1 pt each/way Professor (9/1 general)
July Cup (3.50) – I’ve been waiting an awful long time for Nooznooh Canarias to drop down in trip back to sprinting and today’s the day. One of the stories of last season, Enrique Leon’s flyer carried out his speed impressively when second in the Jean Luc at Longchamp last season and was then teed up for the Guineas off the back of that. Leading the far side at a scoring pace, he faded late to finish sixth but was headed only a furlong home and time has shown that to be a top effort – Australia and Kingston Hill had the Derby between them while Kingman trashed his opposition in the Irish Guineas and St James’s Palace, and Charm Sprit has won a Group 3 in France – and dropped back in trip he looks to have a fine chance here, with his extra stamina also being a big plus if he is taken on for the lead from an early stage. He’s a fairly priced 5/1 now but if you were alert there’s been 7’s and 8’s and he may be taken on again in the leadup to the race.
Slade Power is favourite and holds obvious claims, having won the Diamond Jubilee in the style of a horse with far more to give at the top level even though he was only fulfilling the promise he’d been showing for the last two season beforehand. All ground comes alike to him, although the lack of zip compared to Ascot is sure to help his cause today even if the ground won’t ride soft. In any case, he raced extremely close to a pace that burned out the far side leaders at the Royal Meeting and still won fairly well, and is the one they all have to beat here. Stan James are going out on a limb with their 11/4 happy hour special that should be taken as soon as possible.
Due Diligence can be marked up as better than his effort that day, having been cuahgt out on the wrong group before then being forced to make his effort on the far side with very little company before then being made to snatch up on the run to the line. Those factors didn’t cost him victory, but having had such little racing it would be amazing if there wasn’t more to come and he can go close to reversing the form.
Aljamaheer will love this stiff finish but has twice been dropped back to sprinting and twice gotten going too late to threaten for victory, making him more of an each/way bet than a winning chance, and the same may apply to Greatwood. Hot Streak and Sole Power, third and first in the King’s Stand, add more depth to a fantastic race with Sole Power a giant price at 16’s but not seen at his best the handful of times he’s raced over 6 furlongs, including when fifth in this last year. Astaire went too fast in the Jubilee and did well to finish so close; He’s a winner over Hot Streak and would be a big price if he was to be given a conservative ride compared to last time; The sprinter is Cougar Mountain, a wide margin winner on debut at Naas when backed like a group horse but is this too much too soon? The temptation is to say yes.
Advice: 2 pts each/way Nooznooh Canarias (6/1 general)
Already Advised: 1 pt each/way Nooznoh Canarias, 22nd June (8/1 general)
Totepool Heritage Handicap (1.55) – The worry is that Demora will have too much competition on and be burnt out going for the lead, but the way she beat Masamah on his return at Musselburgh was irresistible and a near side draw may hive her a plum tow into the race, and if getting that, she will take some catching today with that and her previous form standing up very well. Robot Boy is a very worthy favourite, but more interesting at the foot of the weights is Speed Hawk, my second against the field. If you ignore his sixth at Chester when the draw killed his chances he has been second to G Force and subsequent Group 3 winner Extortionist and runs off a mark just 1lb higher than when he was second at Newmarket last time out.
Lancelot Du Lac would have been one of my own selections but his price has collapsed while this was being written and there were doubts over him – this is his first crack at the trip and he’s been out of form and stuck on around 100 for a while. Barnet Fair is a C&D winner for the last two seasons in this month and gets the services of Cam Hardie as a plus – Discussiontofollow’s draw is a horrible one but his form stacks up extremely well.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Speed Hawk (9/1 general), 1 pt each/way Demora (9/1 general)
Fred Cowley MBE Memorial Summer Mile Stakes (Group 2) (2.30) – Many can get involved here but Producer might be the best of them. A good fifth in the Queen Anne on his reappearance, this is no easy target but a viable one with his proximity to Tullius, now a non runner, giving his form a strong look here. Guest Of Honour was unlucky not to get closer in this last year, and having won last time out, he should be going well again
Long John’s Australian form would make him a major player but he didn’t show that last time and the form of his UAE Guineas win looks woeful; His derby effort doesn’t offer much encouragement. A mile is his trip, but he has something to prove to my eye. Mull of Killough should be given respect dropped down to something that’s more his level; The rest have some ground to make up.
Advice: 2 pts win Producer (3/1 general)