It’s never easy landing on a winner in these competitive sprints so racing’s boffins break down Saturday’s feature race – runner-by-runner.
Goken (Kevin Ryan): Third in King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot (1¼ lengths behind Profitable) in June, and better than result when 10th of 18 in July Cup after that (not clear run 2f out). Well below form in King George and Nunthorpe Stakes at York last time, however. Needs much more here.
Gordon Lord Byron (Tom Hogan): Very smart performer in his day but just smart these days. Back in the groove this season, however, winning minor event at Tipperary in June and Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh in July. Not disgraced when 2½ lengths fourth of 8 to Spirit Quartz in listed race at Tipperary last time over 5f (inadequate test). Return to 6f a plus but this may be beyond him these days.
Limato (Henry Candy): Better than ever when winning July Cup at Newmarket (by 2 lengths from Suedois) in July and enhanced his reputation with an excellent 2 lengths second of 19 to Mecca’s Angel in Nunthorpe Stakes at York last time, clear of the rest. Return to 6f in his favour and the one to beat on form, though does face the quickest turnaround of his career to date.
Magical Memory (Charles Hills): Third in this race last season as a three-year-old and made more progress this year, won Abernant Stakes at Newmarket in April and Duke of York Stakes at York (by ½ length from Suedois) in May. Excuses on his last two starts in Group 1 company (made big move into contention in Diamond Jubilee Stakes and had to wait for a gap in July Cup last time) and a major player here.
Sole Power (Edward Lynam): More known for his exploits at 5f but does stay this trip. Has a CV to be proud of but as a nine-year-old his Group 1-winning days are behind him.
Strath Burn (Robert Cowell): Stand-out effort remains his short-head second in this race last season behind Twilight Son. Yet to get going this season, but did find the drop back to 5f against him last time on his second start for this yard. Place claims if replicating last year’s second, but something to prove at present.
Suedois (David O’Meara): Thriving on racing for his new yard this season, in frame four of five starts, including when 2 lengths second to Limato in July Cup at Newmarket and 1¾ lengths fourth of 15 to Signs of Blessing in Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville (lost second place in final ½f) on last 2 starts. Place claims once again.
The Tin Man (James Fanshaw): Successful three times in 2015, and fourth to Muhaarar in Champions Sprint at Ascot final start. Looked better than ever when winning listed race at Windsor on return in May, and shaped well when also winning 12-runner Hackwood Stakes at Newbury last time, cosily by a head from Divine. Still lightly raced and could be capable of more given profile.
Donjuan Triumphant (Richard Fahey): Second this year over C&D in Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock (3¾ lengths behind Quiet Reflection) and Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville (best effort, 1¼ lengths behind Signs of Blessing). Needs to take another step forward to get involved here.
Kachy (Tom Dascombe):Won handicap at Chester (by 1¼ lengths from El Astronaute) in May and posted good length second of 10 to Quiet Reflection in Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June. Below form when 4 lengths tenth of 17 to Take Cover in King George Stakes at Goodwood last time though and needs to bounce back.
Mr Lupton (Richard Fahey) Deserves plenty of credit for being only horse to beat Dancing Star this season in valuable handicap at York in June. Below that form in two starts since but looked back in form when ¾-length fifth of 10 to Alpha Delphini in listed race at Beverley last time, not ideally placed. This much tougher, however.
Divine (Mick Channon) Smart mare who won Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh (by 3½ lengths from Fort Del Oro) in June and finished a good second in Hackwood Stakes at Newbury (head behind The Tin Man) in July. Below form last two starts, however, and plenty on her plate in this company.
Jane’s Memory (Rae Guest) Won listed race at Haydock (by ½ length from Ridge Ranger) in May and five lengths third of 12 to Brando in Sprint Stakes at Sandown last time. Out of her depth here.
Mehronissa (Ed Vaughan) Won handicaps at Haydock in May and Newmarket (by neck from Solar Flair) and followed up in seven-runner listed race at Pontefract last time by ¾ length from Ridge Ranger. Takes a big step up in class here, however.
Dancing Star (Andrew Balding) Absolutely thriving this year, successful four of five starts (runner-up on other occasion), at Salisbury, Newbury and twice at Goodwood. Yet more improvement when winning 27-runner Stewards’ Cup last time, travelling smoothly and driven on top final furlong. Already at group-race standard and probably more progress to come, big player.
Only Mine (Joseph Murphy) Won Lacken Stakes at Naas (by 2¾ lengths from Washington DC) in May and was off just six days before finishing 4 lengths third of 9 to Divine in Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh last time. Not seen since and something to prove, especially at this level.
Quiet Reflection (Karl Burke) Progressive this season, winning Prix Sigy at Chantilly in April, Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock in May (over C&D) and Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot (readily, by length from Kachy) in June. No excuses with good two lengths third of 18 to Limato in July Cup at Newmarket last time, and something to find with that rival again based on that. Returning to the scene of her best effort (in Sandy Lane Stakes) may see her pull out more, however.
Timeform Sprint Cup 1-2-3
- Dancing Star
- Magical Memory
Timeform Analyst’s Verdict:
DANCING STAR is one of the most improved sprinters around and was deeply impressive when landing the Stewards’ Cup. She looks every bit a Group 1 filly and can take this step up in class in her stride. Magical Memory is another Stewards’ Cup winner and could well improve on his third in this last year, while the extremely likeable and versatile Limato is a worthy favourite.