The 6f handicap on Friday has a mix of established horses and a few four-year-olds who are hoping to break through and it’s no surprise that that age group head the market. Dazzling Dan is a really likeable sort who races on the front end, while Swindler is likely to come from off the pace as he did when winning snugly at Ascot.
Summerghand has been running in Dubai where his season was cut short and was only narrowly beaten when unlucky in running last year at this track, With no fitness doubts about him he could be the answer at a decent price.
Brando is a dual winner of this race and even finished a close third last year when Keystroke pulled off a shock, he is bound to be ready for this again. Oxted won the Portland handicap at Doncaster last season on quick ground but has to race his elders off level weights now, because there is no allowance for three-year-olds anymore.
I have no doubt he will be a player over sprint distances this season. It’s just whether he can make the step up from handicaps to group races. Brando for me.
Sangarius will be a warm order and for good reason. He was a very easy winner of the Hampton Court at Royal Ascot last season but got beaten first time out in the Heron Stakes at Sandown in what was a muddling race, Sir Michael was confident we would see a different horse at Ascot and as usual – he was right!
Mythical Magic could be the each-way play though at rewarding odds. The winner of a Group 2 race in Dubai last season, he ran some good races there again this year. While he mightn’t be good enough to beat the favourite – he’s a decent price to hit the frame.
The feature race of the day is the Coronation Cup and it looks a cracker! Stradivarius adds some real spice to this, but you would think that connections have their eye on the main prize of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot in a fortnight’s time, so he should improve for whatever he does here now brought back in trip.
The favourite Ghaiyyath has always looked really good in lesser races, but has come up short when stepping into top-class company. He’s top rated by the handicapper after some jaw-dropping performances and make take some pegging back.
I like Broome at the prices to hit the frame at least and Paddy’s doing us a favour by paying three places with just the seven runners declared.
Edinburgh Castle runs for the first time since being gelded and while he was a slow starter last season and made life difficult for himself at Chelmsford, this step up in trip should suit and his trainer Andrew Balding has made a bright start to the season.
A lot of these should have improved for a winter break, but I am taking a punt on a James Fanshawe’s Durrell won nicely at Chelmsford early last season and also finished second over 10f on the July course at HQ last season. Durrell each-way for me in a race where Paddy is paying the first four home.
A 6f handicap where Silent Echo is among the market leaders for an old ally of mine in Peter Hedger who does brilliantly with his Flat horses. Silent Echo normally takes a run to get him fully fit though so I am siding with Richard Fahey’s George Bowen.
He has good form off much higher marks than today’s 90 rating, has a good record fresh and is a tasty price. That combination is right up my street.
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