Pomelo routed the opposition on her racecourse debut at Newbury, winning by an easy five lengths. She wouldn’t have learnt a great deal from that though, as she had her nose in the breeze the whole way and never got into any sort of rhythm in the middle of the pack. However, she is out of a Group one winning mare, who won the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, and a triple Group One winning sire, so she’s bred to go a bit and can keep her 100 per cent record intact.
Ventura Rebel had some fantastic juvenile form in the book last season, finishing behind top-class performers, and it’s been a similar story this term. He produced a cracking effort up at the highest level at the Royal meeting in the sprint division, but he’s been giving away a bit of ground at the start. If he can iron out that little blip, he is going to be very competitive.
Lots of these runners have been knocking around on their particular handicap mark for some time. However, Battered looks to be dropping like the proverbial stone and we find him some 12lb adrift of his top rating recently. He had no luck over this course and distance two starts back and we get a positive switch, as far as the jockey is concerned, even though we haven’t been done too many favours with the draw. Let’s just hope he gets a clean crack at it this time.
Le Don De Vie was all dressed up with nowhere to go inside the final two furlongs last time out and it stayed that way until the final 150 yards. Admittedly that may be the way he likes to run his races, but surely if he had got a slice of daylight he would’ve been going back to the winner’s enclosure. It looks like being a big 30 minutes for our excellent jockey, Hollie Doyle.
The other three runners have been racing around this distance or over slightly further and the selection is dramatically stepping up in distance. Celtic Art’s return over much shorter here 30 days ago was a very positive start to his 2020 campaign. He wasn’t given a hard time and once the race was over he looked for all the world as if this step up in distance was the requirement for improvement. If he stays he will have too much finishing kick for this small field.
Extra Elusive did as a favour last time when making all up at Haydock while cementing the relationship of Hollie Doyle and her new retaining owner. She would’ve learnt a lot about his abilities on that occasion and there is no doubting he stays this trip incredibly well and can afford to be ridden much more aggressively than when winning last time if need be. This could cap a big-race double for Hollie Doyle.
Benbatl has been a wonderful performer for connections down the years and the six-year-old still appears to have plenty of miles left on the clock yet. His record when fresh is fantastic so the 182-day absence only adds to the excitement for his return. Regal Reality will make the market for us, but his downfall is that he struggles against a genuine group one performer like the selection. Oisin Murphy can extend his lead in the jockey’s title race.
Jason Weaver’s tips for ITV Racing’s coverage on Saturday
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