There were some winners for the site on Thursday. Aleatricis duly completed his 5 timer and I see he is entered at Kempton on the 30th so he could yet make it 6 on the bounce. Dvinski kept up his good record at Kempton winning at 11/2 under a well judged front running ride from Jimmy Quinn. I was disappointed to have missed out on Dream Lodge though. I have been following him all season and the minute I don’t flag him up he comes in at 20/1! Such is racing.
The big race tomorrow is of course the King George at Ascot (4.20) where Duke of Marmalade may well continue the Group 1 dominance by the Aiden O’Brien team. You can’t knock his 3 wins this season and he has won on both soft and firm so seems to handle any ground. He has never run over 12 furlongs before so it is possible that stamina could be a chink in his armour. I don’t really have any strong views about this race but I was quite taken by Lucarno’s win at Newmarket the other week and he might be able to test out any doubts about Duke of Marmalade’s stamina. Ask was well beaten by Duke of Marmalade when they met in the Prince of Wales Stakes last month but that was over 10 furlongs and the extra distance tomorrow may enable Sir Michael Stoute’s runner to get closer. I see that Ryan Moore has elected to ride Ask rather than Papal Bull which might be a pointer. If we get a strong pace then Youmzain would be interesting as he has a telling finish in him. Lucarno and Youmzain would be my main fancies.
The Totesport International is one of the most competitive handicaps of the season and the winner will take some finding in a field of 29. Redford is a major fancy for the race, having won 2 of his 3 starts this season. He needs to be held up and produced late so Jamie Spencer will have to be at his best in such a big field. William Haggas is having an excellent season and has two fancied runners in King’s Apostle and Musaalem. The latter is unbeaten in 3 starts, all on good to firm, but has risen steeply in the weights as a result. Kings Apostle finished 3rd in the Wokingham and the way he races he may well be able to win over 7 furlongs. He is best on fast ground.
Mastership is owned by the very shrewd Marten Julian. He has what looks like a nice draw in stall one and comes here on the back of a good 4th in the Bunbury Cup. He is another suited by fast ground. Dhaular Dhar has done well for these pages this season winning at 16/1 and then just going down by half a length in the Buckingham Palace Stakes. Zaahid landed the Victoria Cup over course and distance back in May but is now 6 lbs higher, while James Fanshawe’s Artimino, ridden by Johnny Murtagh is another for my ever growing short list!
On the face of it 3 year olds don’t seem to have a good record in the race but in fact only 13 have come to post in the last 5 years and they have produced a winner and a runner up, so from a trends point of view Redford cannot be eliminated. His claims are respected but his price will be short so I will take a chance with Mastership from the in form stable of John Quinn.
The 2.35 at Ascot Rose Diamond takes a big step up in class to Group 3 level after winning a Newmarket maiden. She is a filly whose progress I will watch with interest as her dam, Tante Rose, was a favourite of mine.
There are two runners from my list to follow in the 3.05. Lazy Days certainly takes the eye on looks and might be of interest to a jumps trainer one day. He has put in some decent efforts this season including a 5th behind Redford at Doncaster. It is possible that Jamie Spencer just overdid the waiting tactics on him last time at Newmarket and he could be worth another chance. He has won on good to firm. Navajo Joe has only run 3 times so is a possible improver. He got off the mark on his last run beating Visions of Johanna, who was himself a winner this week. One problem could be the going as his full sister Indian Ink has only shown form with some give in the ground.
Tiger Dream, a winner over a mile on good to firm at Thirsk in May represents my list to follow in the ladies race at 4.55.
Turning to Newcastle and the handicap at 4.30 Hurlingham’s two wins have come on the all weather and he didn’t look at all an easy ride when tried in blinkers for the first time at Ripon last time out. The blinkers stay and although he clearly has ability I am not sure he is one we can rely on. Inspector Clouseau is another with questions to answer. Runner up on his first two starts this season he was a disappointing favourite last time at Redcar. I am going to burden Kaisha Kayleigh with my selection. Brian Ellison’s 5 year old mare has been in grand form this season but as a result has gone up a bit in the weights. She might not be that well handicapped but an apprentice jockey takes off 7 lbs, this is her optimum trip and as long as the ground does not ride too firm she should give us a run for our money.
Missioner got off to a good start to the season with a win at Haydock and a couple of very creditable seconds but things have rather gone wrong since then. If first time blinkers work the oracles then he would have an each way chance in the Newmarket 2.25. In the 2.55 my suggestion is for the unexposed Roaring Forte from William Haggas’ yard.
In the York 3.15, you have to respect the chances of the evergreen Blythe Knight and also the Godolphin runner Campanologist. The two that most appeal to me though are Pipedreamer and Tajaweed. Last year’s Cambridgeshire winner Pipedreamer deserves to win one of these as he has been running most consistently in good company all season. In fact he has been 3rd on all 4 of his starts this season, the last couple at Group 1 level. Tajaweed has only ever raced 4 times so further improvement is possible. He won the Dee Stakes before finishing 8 in the Epsom Derby.
Knot in Wood represents my list to follow in the 3.45. He has gone up 5 lbs for a recent win at Hamilton. I tipped him there but I juts feel that the rise in the weights might prove too much for him here.
Sir Mark Prescott has run up a sequence of wins with Aleatricis and may well be able to do something similar with General Ting. He has only been raised 3 lbs for his win at Nottingham and looks the type to improve. He is my selection in the Salisbury 8.10.
Moving on to Ascot on Sunday Sugar Ray will carry top weight in the competitive handicap at 2.50. His win over course and distance last month has been franked by the runner up, Mad Rush, who went on to win the Old Newton Cup at Haydock with some ease. Pevensey, who finished 4th in that Haydock race runs in a first time visor and is another to consider.
The 2.50 at Ascot is a very open race. Northern Dare and Aegean Dancer have wins in them I feel but I will give Oldjoesaid a tentative selection. He ran well from a nigh on impossible draw at Chester last time out. Ebraam has been running consistently, likes fast ground and may not be far away.
6 unraced 2 year olds line up in the 3.25. John Gosden’s Euston Square is by Oasis Dream and is a half brother to July Cup winner Continent.
Yesterday’s winner Dream Lodge is entered in the 3.50 at Pontefract. Having missed him yesterday I had better tip him this time, although he must be a doubtful starter. Another interesting runner is Calming Influence, who won a listed race at Newmarket earlier in the season beating Stimulation before finishing down the field in the Jersey Stakes at Ascot.
This page features the work of 3 super equine artists. In the order that they appear on the page, my thanks to Jane Dunn, Katy Sodeau and Lisa Miller, for allowing me to use their work.