Over the past few years the Bahrain Trophy has not proved a fruitful trial for the St Leger with the last classic winner of Thursday’s opener at Newmarket (13:50) coming way back in 2011 courtesy of Masked Marvel.
However, this year I fancy we have an above average selection of staying three-year-olds set to line up headed by the exciting Loxley.
The Godolphin charge was rated only second behind Derby hero Masar in their three-year-old ranks at the beginning of the season and went someway to justifying that view when running all over Eclipse Stakes sixth Raymond Tusk over 10 furlongs here last time out.
Of course, he needs to step up radically on that performance to beat the likes of the promising Wells Farhh Go and King Edward VII third Giuseppe Garibaldi, but both his running style and breeding suggest he will absolutely relish this step up in distance.
The feature Princess of Wales’s Stakes at 15:35 looks massively open and it is surprising that there is only one three-year-old, Raa Atoll, taking on seven older horses for this Group Two prize.
If this was being run on genuinely good ground then Algometer would be a fascinating each-way call at double figure odds, but on the prevailing scorched fast turf, Muntahaa has to be the call.
The son of Dansili has kept the highest company all his racing life, going off at 4/1 for the St Leger, but his form since his second season has been very in and out until he was dropped back in trip for the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot and held up from off the pace.
That was by far and away his best run since landing the John Porter Stakes last April and on the fast ground he adores, the five-year-old can see off Mirage Dancer.
The handicaps at the July meeting are always ultra-competitive and the handicap for three-year-olds over six furlongs at 15:00 looks a tough puzzle to solve. However, I think I have stumbled upon a double figure price horse worth investing in, Tadbir.
Because of the stamina on the dams’ side of the blood line I think Brian Meehan has been trying to stretch this gelding out to beyond sprinting trips and he simply hasn’t lasted home.
Back to six furlongs for the first time since landing his maiden at Chelmsford in April, this youngster could excel on this fast ground back over a sprint trip and anything around the 20/1 mark would be a sound each-way investment.
As for the dangers, both Encrypted and Embour have obvious claims.
The July Stakes at 14:25 could be a case of the potential of Legend of War up against the solid Royal Ascot form of Advertise, and the latter gets the vote having been drawn away from the action when second in the Coventry Stakes.
This stiff uphill finish should suit Martyn Meade’s charge and he can power up the final climb to claim compensation here.
I thought that Emaraaty was as much undone by the rattling fast ground as the class of the Jersey Stakes last time out and should go close in the Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at 16:45, but the better value call could well be last year’s Superlative Stakes runner-up Zaman.
Following a fruitful spring in Dubai, he was a huge disappointment when sent off a red-hot favourite for the German 2,000 Guineas.
However, his work since then has reportedly been very good and there will be some long faces at Moulton Paddocks stable is he isn’t involved at the sharp end here.