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Luigi Vampa was one that was on my radar last season and ran really well in a decent Goodwood handicap off 88. The track wasn’t ideal for him that day but did travel really well. He’s disappointed a little in two starts at Sandown and when fifth behind Mr Carpenter here over 10f.
He appears to have improved over the winter and won on his reappearance at Windsor over just shy of 12f. He was wearing a tongue tie for the first time there and pulled clear with the very well handicapped Goldie Hawk.
He’s only gone up 3lbs but Goldie Hawk is a good thing off a 2lb higher mark and that form might be underestimated. Back up in grade here but there’s plenty of appeal in an each-way punt.
I’m taking a chance that Woven isn’t drawn out of things in 1. He made a lovely debut for Michael Dods when only beaten a neck at Redcar by Embour coming from too far back and comes out best on sectionals.
He was very inconsistent last season but did win his only start at York (albeit a novice race on his second start as a juvenile back in 2018). A little over a year ago he won a 7f handicap at Meydan off 93, so has definite claims off a mark of 90 if building on the stable debut.
Starman is one that I’m very interested in this season and think he is capable of winning a Grade 1 but needs decent ground to be seen to best effect. That was somewhat backed up by his poor effort in the Champions Sprint which was on proper soft ground.
Molatham is very interesting and has been dropped to sprint trips now. He won the Jersey Stakes on soft ground last season and wasn’t disgraced in the Prix Jean Prat at Deauville or the Park Stakes at Doncaster before finding the QEII Stakes too much of a stamina test.
Conditions look perfect for Art Power, with the ground likely to be riding on the soft side. He has won at York over 5f on soft ground in a novice race as a juvenile, so conditions are not an issue. He won his first three last season: a Newcastle novice under penalty, The Palace of Holyroodhouse Stakes – a 5f handicap at Royal Ascot on soft ground – and the Grade 3 Lackan Stakes over 6f on yielding ground at Naas.
He found 5f on good ground in the Nunthorpe but ran flat and maybe it was just a bad day at the office, rather than the conditions. He was beaten 2.5l in fourth in the Sprint Cup at Haydock. He was then beaten just a length in fourth in the Champion Sprint. He strikes me as one that could improve again at four years old, particularly when getting ground with some juice in.
Teona has been all the rage for this and the Oaks itself off the back of two runs at Newcastle, when second to Sea Empress over a mile and when bolting up when 1/3 over 10f. It wasn’t the strongest run race but she clocked a very fast closing sectional and got a big upgrade. The second has won a Chelmsford novice since.
She is a half-sister by Sea The Stars to Al Hilalee who was a Grade 2 winner over a mile-and-half. Mystery Angel won the Pretty Polly in good style and was well backed and will take advantage if the less exposed rivals don’t fire. If they do, she should be outclassed here though.
Noon Star is one that I have had in mind for the Oaks since she crossed the line in front on her second start, which came in a mile maiden at Nottingham on soft ground.
The second from that Nottingham maiden was third beaten less than 2l in the Lingfield Oaks Trial at the weekend. The winner, Sherbert Lemon, was fourth behind Noon Star at Wetherby (the fifth Loving Dream was second to Noon Star at Wetherby). In that Wetherby race, Noon Star was stepping up to 10f for the first time and she won easily under a penalty and Sherbert Lemon was nearly 9l behind.
You get the impression from that run that there is far more to come from Noon Star and she is bred to be exceptional. I think she might well turn out to be.
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