Sir Michael’s Stoute’s runner showed promise as a juvenile and stepped up plenty despite meeting with defeat on return/handicap debut at Haydock four weeks ago. He is bred to be useful, and went like the best horse at the weights, worn down only late on as the lack of a recent run possibly told.
Crystal Pegasus is entitled to come on for that, and gets the nod to open his account back in maiden company. Sarvan, who went close at Newmarket, is next best ahead of John Quinn’s filly Luck On Sunday.
Sudona did well to finish second when held up in a steadily-run race at Thirsk three weeks ago, disadvantaged by her position given the way the race worked out. The winner that day won with a bit in hand, and has since boosted the form by going in again, so Sudona is worth chancing from what looks a fair mark. The stiff nature of this track will also suit. Aiya, a course and distance scorer from this mark in the autumn, and Ad Libitum feared most.
Jedd O’Keeffe’s runner shaped well back from an eight-month break when fourth to the race-fit Kendred Soul at Beverley. Balancing Act is entitled to come on for that and enjoys a handy pull at the weights with her stablemate here. Manolith, who returned to form when going close at Hamilton recently, looks dangerous, while Reviette is open to improvement, but Araifjan leaves the impression that a stiffer test is needed.
Rayong looked on a stiff enough mark, but returned with a fine run behind a top prospect for his owners in the three-year-old sprint handicap at Royal Ascot last time, shaping really well from a most unfavourable draw/position.
He kicked clear of those he raced with before hanging left over towards the principals. It is therefore surprising that the handicapper has kindly been dropped 2 lb and has cracking claims from stall 1. The danger is Garsman, who is on a roll for new connections and may not have peaked yet.
The race that Billy Roberts was fourth in over this course and distance on his return is turning out to be very strong, with the second, third and seventh all winning on their next start, so he makes plenty of appeal in this slightly weaker affair. Dancin Boy and Harvest Day are drawn inside the selection and are capable of making an impact if the pace is strong enough.
Frankelo landed a gamble when taking advantage of his reduced mark over this course and distance on return, edging out a couple of subsequent winners in the process, and makes the most appeal off only 2 lb higher. Athmad is another who’s potentially well treated and ran his best race for this yard when fifth at Doncaster, while last-time-out winners Angel’s Whisper and Granite City Doc need considering, too.
Scentasia was most progressive in 2019, winning a couple of handicaps at Yarmouth and two listed events on the all-weather at Lingfield. Admittedly, she proved to be a disappointment on her comeback at Kempton last month, but she sets a clear standard here, so is well worth another chance.
Salayel went close in the Silver Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot despite racing freely and looks up to this level on that evidence, so is next best ahead of Audarya and Romola.
A very useful contest and Summerghand, who was better than ever when just failing to get up in the Wokingham at Royal Ascot last time, can gain some compensation here. This isn’t as competitive and he will take some beating if in the same form. Golden Apollo will likely come on for his reappearance at Royal Ascot and can fill the forecast ahead of the trip-dropping Shawaamekh.
Sheepscar Lad can’t be backed with any great confidence given his losing run, but he did shape well enough on his return to suggest wind surgery may have had a positive effect, and he might be worth chancing in an open handicap. Epeius has a lower mark on turf than on the all-weather, and will be a threat if able to build on a decent effort at Ayr last month, while Mutabaahy was narrowly in front of the selection last time and is also shortlisted.
- Grab racing previews from the UK, Ireland and the rest of the globe here
- Horse Racing: How to watch racing for free with Paddy Power
- Placing bets is easier than ever with Paddy Power News’ live odds banners