RAJINSKY was quite progressive at the back end of last season, winning over 10 furlongs at Windsor on heavy ground and at Wolverhampton over 16 furlongs when he really appreciated the step up in trip.
He showed there was plenty more to work on when third on reappearance at Newbury over a mile and a half, when he was staying on strongly at the finish – suggesting he needed a step back up in trip. He ran a fair seventh in the Northumberland Plate when he just got hampered at a crucial point in the race and while he wouldn’t have won or anything, he probably was value for finishing a few lengths closer.
This is a drop in grade and is nowhere near as deep as the Northumberland Plate and this trip could prove to be his optimal for now. He makes each-way appeal in a race where plenty have questions to answer.
This doesn’t look the strongest race in the world, and it is quite possible that the handicapper has let MELNIKOVA in very lightly here off a mark of 83.
She is a half-sister to Davydenko and Marenko and both of them achieved ratings of 103, so she is bred to be very useful indeed. She won on debut at Kempton over 7 furlongs and you always take notice when a Michael Stoute wins first time out with a two-year-old.
The form of that race looks very strong now, the second Stylistique is now rated 104 and the fourth Run Wild is now rated 109.
That win would make a Melnikova to look thrown in off a mark of 83 and while she disappointing when third behind Quadrilateral on her second and final start at two, there was no disgrace that in run and if she is ready to go after the absence, she could prove very difficult to beat.
FINEST SOUND may have let favourite punters down when second in the Britannia at Royal Ascot after being heavily supported in the market, but he just bumped into a really well treated rival and I reckon he can make amends here.
He was four lengths clear of the third at Ascot and while he 7lbs higher here, I believe he is well capable of defying the rise. His win at Haydock was extremely impressive, and the time and sectional he generated suggests he might well end up plying his trade in Group company at some stage this season.
He faces some unexposed types her, but he can continue the recent good form of the Simon & Ed Crisford training combo.
Richard Spencer won this last year with California Love, who came into this race off the back of a fair run in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot and after being found out at Group level as a two-year-old.
One of his runners here, ALABAMA WHITMAN has a very similar profile. She went into last year’s Albany off the back of a second place on debut at Windsor and she ran a cracker when fourth behind Daahyeh.
She followed that run with a victory at Carlisle beating the now 92 rated Tulip Fiels over 7 f.urlongs. She wasn’t disgraced when fifth in a Group 3 sat Deauville and ended the season finding the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes a bit too hot for her.
She never really figured in the Sandringham at Royal Ascot, but the handicapper has dropped her 3lbs to a mark of 90 and the drop to 7 furlongs is massively in her favour. She is at an each-way price too.
Clive Cox has won this twice in the recent past with Harry Angel and Lethal Force and he has a great chance of landing a third win in the July Cup with GOLDEN HORDE.
A top class juvenile last season he won the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, as well as placing in the Group 1 Prix Morny and Middle Park Stakes. He was very impressive when winning the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and now faces older horses for the first time.
He gets the 6lb allowance and it might take a big effort from the older horses to concede weight to him, as the three-year-olds have won four of the past five renewals. It is also interesting that three of those winners were coming here via the Commonwealth Cup and everything points to Golden Horde adding to his maiden Group 1 win.
All eyes will be on Pinatubo to see if he gets back to winning ways now dropped back to 7 furlongs and while he is the one to beat, he is a short price and KINROSS looks worth chancing here at big odds.
An extremely impressive winner on debut at Newmarket, he slammed the likes of Raaeb (now rated 97), Finest Sound (now rated 94) and Vatican City (now rated 112) in what now looks like a very strong maiden.
He was so impressive that day that he went off 13/8 for the Group 1 Vertem Futurity at Newcastle ,but he can be forgiven that run when finishing fifth, as he took a hefty bump early in the race and he never got into the race after that.
He was actually running a really nice race in the 2,000 Guineas when making a move from a similar position as the winner Kameko about two furlongs out, but they both went for a similar gap and Kinross came off the worst for it, losing precious momentum at a crucial point in the race.
I believe he would have finished three of four lengths closer to Kameko but for that interference and that wouldn’t leave him with as much to find with Pinatubo as the market suggests. At the prices he looks worth playing each-way, especially as he looks like he could really benefit for the return to 7 furlongs.
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Saturday 13:30 Ascot – Rajinsky
Saturday 14:05 Ascot – Melnikova
Saturday 13:50 Newmarket – Finest Sound
Saturday 14:25 Newmarket – Alabama Whitman
Saturday 15:35 Newmarket – Golden Horde
Sunday 15:25 Deauville – Kinross
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