An early start to the weekend as one of my recent eye catchers runs at Salisbury (3:40pm) on Thursday.
Three-year-olds have landed nine of the last 10 renewals of this 0-100 fillies’ handicap so stick with Sir Michael Stoute’s DUBKA w11/8f to compete her hat-trick.
I have already backed MUNTAHAA at big odds (pre Royal Ascot when he finished third to Across the Stars) for the St Leger next month and the mortgage will take a battering if he’s successful in the Doncaster Classic.
The next stepping stone for him is this weekend in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes on Saturday at Newbury and I’ll be gutted if he can’t make waves in that.
Up with the pace
The Group Two Hungerford Stakes at Newbury (4.10) on Saturday is always a solid contest and the last 10 years has attracted a horse capable of a 120+ rating only twice, (Paco Boy in 2008 and the very classy Excelebration (with no Frankel to bother him) in 2011.
Normally the winner is rated around 114+ and many in this year’s field have already shown their hand.
There is likely to be loads of pace on up front with Home of the Brave leading the charge. Hugo Palmer’s runner already has a narrow decision over Convey at Haydock was not suited by the change of tactics when second to Dutch Connection in the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood.
Convey should improve to reverse the Haydock form but he is far from straightforward.
I know from a friend of mine close to the Stoute yard that his trainer still feels he has untapped potential, but is not sure if he will let himself down to fully exploit his natural talent.
Last year’s winner Adaay has been running at a similar level this season, but may not even line up unless the ground eases.
I’ve long believed that 7f on fast ground is exactly what Jeremy Noseda’s NEMORALIA wants. Her below par run in the Prix Jean Prat confirmed that to me but she swerves this now for York next Friday – a track she’s won at.
TOORMORE struck me as the best option each-way now as he ran as well as could be expected behind The Gurkha in the Sussex Stakes.
He’s had very little chance to shine over 7f since his juvenile days (just two runs over the distance in the past year), this could be his sort of race as he’ll be towed along off the pace and delivered late.
Finally, 11 of the 20 entries in the Great St Wilfrid Handicap (Ripon, Saturday 3.55) ran in the Stewards Cup at Goodwood 14 days ago. On that form David Nicholls’ Orion’s Bow is the right favourite for this, going up 3lbs after finishing runner-up to Dancing Star.
However, the value could well be David O’Meara’s LOUIS THE PIOUS who arrives here fit and fresh for only his third start of the season.
Hot to Trot
Fox Trotter has the 3.45pm at Doncaster on Saturday as an easier alternative, but if he turns up at Newbury (3.40pm) on the same day, he could run well at a nice price.
Since his defeat on dead ground at Newmarket on June 17, I have been waiting for FOX TROTTER to run again and it looks like David Barron will let him take his chance this weekend.
The fair weather forecast is right up his street and so get the each-way readies out!