Molinari has been running creditably since the resumption and pulled out a bit more to get off the mark at Windsor last month, well ridden to make the most of the advantage that lay in being on the speed and against the rail.
He ran at least as well in defeat when runner-up at Ascot last time, sticking to his task gamely in a better race than he needed to contest, keeping on well to see off the third but just unable to edge out a progressive sort close home. This represents a step back in grade for William Muir’s charge, who shouldn’t have too many problems getting back to winning ways.
Model Guest ran to a fairly useful level on a few occasions for George Margarson last year, including when fifth in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. She shaped as if amiss on her return to action at Newmarket last month, but she sets a good standard here if all is well.
In fact, she is rated 22 lb higher than next-best Double Or Bubble on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings, and while Double Or Bubble, and many other horses in this field for that matter, remain open to improvement, Model Guest is still likely to prove difficult to get past if in good heart.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s colt showed promise as a juvenile and again this term, including when shaping better than the bare result at Yarmouth last time, staying on when denied a clear run inside the final furlong, ultimately finishing mid-field.
This step up in trip promises to suit and he looks the sort who might be sharpened up by headgear, so the application of first-time cheekpieces should not be overlooked. The shape of this race doesn’t immediately scream each-way angle, six runners, all of whom are relatively closely matched on form, and while there are some improving horses in this field, Bealach’s price looks too big to pass up so he is the value play.
Timeform’s tips for Sandown on Sunday
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