According to good old Wikipedia, the “shock value of a charge attack has been especially exploited in cavalry tactics, both of armoured knights and lighter mounted troops”. Sir Michael Stoute, Knight of the Newmarket round table, is more Barbadian than Barbarian, but he does have a live contender in Saturday’s Charge at Sandown, a fast and furious (not that kind, Vin) event that kicks off terrestrial TV coverage at 12:20.
Dream of Dreams should be approaching peak form after two runs this term, and it’s worth noting that he won on his third start last season. However, he may have to play second-fiddle to Muthmir, who was fourth in both the King’s Stand and this race in 2017, and took advantage of a drop in class when winning a listed race at Haydock (by a short head from Alpha Delphini) last time. Judicial courted our favour when winning at Beverley last month and is feared most of the remainder.
Daira Prince (no relation to a pungent childhood friend of mine, ‘Dairy’ Lee) is one of several potential improvers in the Challenge Handicap at 12:55, but he looks one to follow after winning with far more in hand than the bare margin suggested at Ripon last time. He’s now won four of his last six and has taken his form up a notch since fitted with the blinkers. Rather than the nose, Escobar caught the eye during his recent defeat at Royal Ascot and also sits high up on a lengthy shortlist.
Former Royal Ascot winner Atty Persse may prove to be very well-treated off a mark of 99 in Haydock’s Old Newton Cup at 13:45, but the same applied to Godolphin’s Wokingham loser Dreamfield, and it might be worth taking a chance on the aptly-named Wingingit at a big price. She has run well on all five starts for Andrew Balding, including when third at Pontefract last time, and looks the type to improve again if granted a stronger gallop here.
Eight runners are set to go to post for the Eclipse (14:10 – is there a football match on or something?) and it looks a much more intriguing renewal than first appeared likely, mainly thanks to the participation of Saxon Warrior just seven days on from his less-than-convincing third in the Irish Derby.
As Bonnie Tyler once wheezed: Once upon a time I was falling in love/But now I’m only falling apart/And there’s nothing I can do/A total eclipse of the heart. That’s the feeling with Saxon Warrior at the moment, and he clearly has quite a bit to do with Derby winner Masar and Roaring Lion (third) on their Epsom running. The latter gave the impression there that he would be best suited to a top-level campaign over this trip, and the impressive Dante Stakes winner can follow in the footsteps of the same yard’s Golden Horn, who went on to win this race after victory at York.