Bell Rock failed to make an impact when ambitiously campaigned as a three-year-old, but, having been gelded over the winter, produced a much-improved performance to win here on his handicap debut in June.
Bell Rock took a bit of time to find his stride, but he thundered home to land that mile handicap, making it two from two at this course having also won here on debut as a juvenile.
He wasn’t in the same form when finishing sixth under a penalty in the Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot subsequently, but he got back on the up when third in a mile-and-a-quarter handicap at Goodwood in July, coming home one place in advance of Derevo, who reopposes here.
The lightly-raced Bell Rock clearly goes well here and is likely to be suited by a strongly-run nine furlongs.
Good Birthday shaped well when finishing third in last season’s Cambridgeshire, so he is entitled to respect from an 8 lb lower mark this year.
Good Birthday had no chance against Lord North – a subsequent Group 1 winner – but he may have finished a bit closer to the runner-up, Beringer, had he not been forced to wait for a gap at a crucial stage.
Still, that performance highlighted that he is effective over a strongly-run nine furlongs, and he is clearly on a decent mark having dropped 8 lb in the interim.
Good Birthday has been largely disappointing this season, but he wasn’t far below his best when third at Kempton on his penultimate start and he shaped as if still in form at Newbury last time, getting going too late having been held up. He isn’t a straightforward sort but has the ability to make an impact.
Anythingtoday won twice last season for David O’Meara, including off a 2 lb higher mark than the rating he competes off on Saturday.
He has yet to win since joining Roger Fell but has been in good form of late, shaping better than the bare result when fifth over a mile and a quarter at York (travelled well) and then taking a step forward to finish runner-up over the same course and distance last time.
Anythingtoday fared best of those who raced prominently last time but was just collared by one who made his challenge from further off the strong pace.
He will not be inconvenienced by dropping back in trip and, with Fell firing in the winners in recent days, could give a good account at a big price.
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