Those with experience don’t set an exacting standard and Ben Macdui makes most appeal on debut. Ben Macdui, a 55,000 guineas purchase, is trained by Kevin Ryan, who has his string in good form and is well able to ready one first time. Of those with experience, the Mark Johnston-trained Salsoul, who finished fourth on debut, looks the biggest danger.
Groundworker isn’t a horse you can rely on – he has the Timeform squiggle attached to his rating – but he arrives on the back of an encouraging effort and is on a decent mark, so he shades the vote. Groundworker showed good pace over this course and distance on his reappearance, taking the field along until over a furlong out, and he is entitled to come on for that outing. It’s worth noting that his last two victories were both achieved over this course and distance.
Kindly is on a losing run stretching back to July 2018 but her mark has dropped as a consequence and she now looks well treated. Kindly made no impact on her reappearance at Haydock, but she shaped better at Thirsk, looking the winner when taking it up but not seeing things out as strongly as others. The drop back to six furlongs, from seven furlongs, will not be an issue and she may now be at peak fitness.
Meraas failed to meet expectations in a competitive sprint handicap at Newmarket last week but he is well worth another chance to confirm his early promise. He had looked a colt of some potential when getting off the mark at Kempton, producing a dominant performance to win by three lengths, and he had little trouble defying his opening mark at Pontefract, impressing with the speed he showed. He still looks well treated and can quickly put his Newmarket disappointment behind him.
Phoenix Approach made little impact in novice company last season but was gelded over the winter and showed improved form to finish third on his reappearance/handicap debut at Beverley last month. That was an encouraging performance, at a time when the Tim Easterby yard wasn’t firing on all cylinders, and he looks the type to carry on improving. This stiffer test will suit and he can get off the mark.
This is a fascinating contest featuring some unexposed three-year-olds but Subjectivist has the best form on offer and gets the vote. Subjectivist was highly tried at two and didn’t look particularly well treated on his handicap debut in the ultra-competitive King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot, but he clearly did very well over the winter and produced a chunk of improvement to finish third, despite covering plenty of ground out wide.
He then showed even better form to finish runner-up to a promising rival at Haydock, the pair pulling eight lengths clear, and he is the one to beat on those efforts.
Amber Storm shaped with a little encouragement on her debut at Haydock and then took a big step forward when getting off the mark in style at Musselburgh, making good headway from the rear and drawing three lengths clear, scoring with plenty in hand. She was strong at the finish and should appreciate this step up in trip, while an opening mark of 78 could prove lenient. She is a promising filly.
Sir Havelock was gelded over the winter and that has seemingly had a positive effect. He shaped better than the result would suggest on his return at Lingfield, staying on strongly to finish in mid-division after being slowly away, and then showed improved form to finish runner-up at Thirsk last time in a race that has worked out well (winner and third have since won).
He doesn’t look straightforward – he carried his head awkwardly at Thirsk – but is clearly on a fair mark and is worth another chance.
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