Al Saariyah, a 260,000 guineas purchase as a yearling, was too green to do herself justice on debut at Leicester, but she showed improved form to finish runner-up at Haydock last time, despite still showing signs of inexperience. Al Saariyah was slowly away and didn’t settle fully at Haydock, but she kept on nicely, showing enough to suggest she’ll be winning shortly. She sets the standard on form and should launch a bold bid.
This looks like an excellent renewal, featuring a host of exciting, unexposed sorts, including Guru, who created an excellent impression when scoring over course and distance on debut. The well-bred Guru showed his inexperience, running green when first asked for his effort, but he picked up strongly under a hands-and-heels ride, just getting up on the line. Guru and the runner-up, Maximal, pulled three lengths clear of the others in a strong novice, and he looks a smart colt in the making.
Afaak hasn’t won since landing the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot last season, but he has run well in defeat on a number of occasions, including in the Golden Mile at Goodwood last time. Afaak was fitted with first-time blinkers at Goodwood and ran right up to his best to finish third. He is on the same mark as when successful in the Hunt Cup and can make his presence felt.
Alignak identified himself as a horse to follow when scoring at Kempton on his final start last season and he has progressed markedly this term. He did well under the circumstances to win a handicap at Newcastle on his reappearance, coming from a long way back in a race where the pace steadied at halfway. That effort marked him down as a horse capable of developing into better than a handicapper, and he proved as much in a listed race at Haydock last time, only beaten on the nod by a likeable rival.
Threat proved disappointing in the July Cup last time but he showed enough on his reappearance in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot to suggest that he has trained on. He possibly found a mile stretching his stamina at Royal Ascot, but he wasn’t far below the level that saw him land the Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes last season. Seven furlongs could prove to be his optimum trip and, taking a drop in class, he is worth another chance.
Tick Toch hails from a good family and is a half-sister to Tiempo Vuela, who was an impressive winner on debut last season. Tick Toch represents William Haggas, who has his powerful string in good form, and she makes as much appeal as any on debut in a race featuring only two horses with experience.
This is a competitive handicap but Surrey Pride caught the eye when finishing fourth at Sandown last time and should have more to offer, particularly now stepping back up to a mile and a quarter. Surrey Pride failed to make an impact on his return at Haydock last month, but he shaped as if needing the run and took a big step forward at Sandown, doing some good work late on after being short of room to fully open up. He’s not yet the finished article so should continue to progress, and he has a much bigger effort in his locker.
Coconut has made a pleasing start to her career, finishing in the frame here on her first couple of starts before finding only a promising newcomer too good on her first attempt at this trip at Haydock. She still didn’t quite look the finished article at Haydock, edging to her left when asked to make her challenge having travelled well, and she retains the potential to do better.
Gas Monkey enjoyed a productive campaign in 2019, winning on four occasions, including on both starts here. He has returned in good heart this season and ran right up to his best when runner-up at Sandown last month, simply bumping into a progressive rival with far too much in hand. He remains on the same mark and should launch a bold bid.
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