Crossford is reasonably well bred, a Dawn Approach colt whose dam was a winner as a two-year-old, so it was perhaps surprising that he was so weak in the betting on debut at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting earlier this month, but he showed plenty of promise to finish third, just lacking for know-how at a crucial stage. He is likely to improve for that run and can put the experience to good use to get off the mark here.
Bounce The Blues was highly progressive for John Feane in Ireland, following up her maiden victory with success at listed level, winning cosily, and she made a most encouraging start to life for Andrew Balding’s yard when third in the Group 3 Sceptre Stakes at Doncaster last time, finishing better than anything. She remains capable of better and is sure to be of interest now dropped back to listed level.
Katara made no impression over an inadequate trip of seven furlongs on her only start as a juvenile, but she has progressed nicely this term, finishing second on her return to action before twice winning by wide margins, including at listed level last time. She appeals as exactly the type of improver that Sir Michael Stoute excels with, and with further progress anticipated, she looks well worth her place in this higher grade.
Monday is bred to be smart – a Fastnet Rock filly out of Ballydoyle, who won at Group 1 level as a juvenile before finishing runner-up in the 1000 Guineas – and while the Aidan O’Brien trained two-year-old showed a bit on debut, she improved vastly on that effort to get off the mark at the second time of asking, and at listed level no less.
She made all to win at Leopardstown earlier this month, responding well to pressure and looking potentially smart in winning at that level just nine days into her career. She remains open to improvement and gets the vote to take another step forward.
Benbatl is undoubtedly a high-class performer on his day and he has looked as good as ever in his three races in the Middle East this year, winning two Group 2 races at Meydan before finishing third in the Saudi Cup. He hasn’t been seen on the racecourse since February, but he won this race last year after an absence, producing an impressive performance to do so, and he looks the one to beat again.
Laafy hit the buffers a bit last year, but a gelding operation has seen his return a different proposition this term. A winner on his reappearance, Laafy backed that effort up with a good second in the Old Newton Cup at Haydock in July, and after disappointing subsequently, he regained the progressive thread in no uncertain terms at Ascot last time, winning comfortably. He is well worth his place at this level and makes plenty of appeal with even more to come.
Make It Rain broke her maiden in style on her final appearance of 2019, and had excuses for not following that up in her first two appearances of the season, denied a clear run when third at Yarmouth on her reappearance, and not seen to best effect on softer than ideal ground at Redcar in June.
She was then given a 13-week break and ran her best race to bounce back to winning ways at Wolverhampton earlier this month, making headway to lead inside the final furlong before drawing clear to win comfortably. She should go well again and is respected under a penalty.
Timeform’s tips at Newmarket on Friday
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