* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
MAGICAL LAND looked potentially useful when finishing runner-up in a couple of strong-looking maidens both on this course and the July Course last summer and sets the bar pretty high. He was beaten only by Youth Spirit – who is a strong fancy for the Fielden Stakes later on the card – on his final start and is the type to progress further as a three-year-old.
Lexington Knight and Carolus Magnus both shaped well when placed at Doncaster on their debut 16 days ago and can fill the frame again.
No form to go on here, but ANTIPHON boasts an attractive pedigree, and represents a yard that have made a flying start to the season. The colt could be up to making a winning start under Oisin Murphy, though Ebro River and Magic Warrior are other likely types who need to be monitored closely in the betting also.
DUKE OF MANTUA is a typically well-bred sort for top connections who built on the promise of his debut run last season when landing the odds at Gowran in September. He beat two next-time-out winners on that occasion, so the form has some substance. He left the impression he would come on a fair bit for his recent return in a handicap at the Curragh last month.
Duke of Mantua was easy to back that day, but he shaped with promise, briefly taking up the lead entering the final furlong before tiring in the closing stages. That race has already produced two subsequent winners – including one who won a Group 3 – and there should be plenty more improvement in Duke of Mantua.
A typically competitive renewal of this early-season handicap, and it could be wise to side with the David O’Meara-trained HORTZADAR, who finished an excellent third in the Lincoln at Doncaster on his return to action last month.
He had some solid form last season and looked better than ever under this claimer who gets on well with him, so he looks an obvious choice able to race from the same mark. Michael Bell’s lightly-raced Maxi Boy has better days ahead of him and is feared most.
This looks a cracking renewal of the Fielden Stakes with plenty of potential on show, but at the prices, it could be worth taking a chance on YOUTH SPIRIT. He shaped well to finish fourth behind some useful types in a minor event at Haydock on debut, and duly built on that promise when opening his account at Newmarket in good style in July.
Youth Spirit improved further in defeat when finishing third to 2000 Guineas favourite Battleground in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood on his final start where he did all of his best work at the finish. Therefore, he looks very interesting moving up two furlongs in trip, the extra emphasis on stamina likely to bring about more improvement, and he remains a good prospect.
RIOT seemingly hasn’t been the easiest to train, and he does have the odd quirk, but it is interesting that top connections are persevering with him. He left the impression he has much more to offer when finishing third on his recent return at Chelmsford, very much unlucky not to finish second at least.
That was his first run since undergoing a gelding operation, and he was making good headway before becoming short of room and entering into a barging match with the eventual fourth around a furlong out.
Riot was again keeping on when short of room late on, leaving the impression he will be up to defying this mark soon. The return to turf should suit and he is the type who could land a big handicap this season.
Despite the fact that he’s a six-year-old, REWAAYAT still has few miles on the clock and may well kick on again this year, having improved during a light 2020 campaign. It was the slow start and rain-softened ground which counted against him at Salisbury when last seen (not the drop to 5 furlongs) and he should prove a tough nut to crack if fully tuned-up. Han Solo Berger looks best of the remainder.
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