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With the weather forecast so mixed, up and down the country, it really is hard to evaluate what the ground is going to be precisely at the big meetings at York, Newmarket, Ascot and Chester. But, what we can conclude already is that the Knavesmire turf will at least have some kind of dig in it. That and any more forecast heavy showers will definitely suit the likes of topweight Young Fire and the very well handicapped Ebury.
The lightly raced Ajyaall also merits consideration being totally unexposed sort coming from the William Haggas yard that traditionally does well with its handicappers here. The son of Kingman just seemed in need of the outing on his seasonal debut here at the backend of May, when he looked big enough in the paddock and just ran around green when first coming under pressure from his partner.
That run could have brought him on enough to defy a rating of 90, but he has been found in the market place here, so a much better value bet is the seasoned campaigner from the Richard Fahey camp.
CROWNTHORPE hasn’t visited the winner’s enclosure since triumphing on the Fibresand at Southwell in January off 87, meanwhile his last victory on the turf came way back in May 2019 over this course and distance off 88. The selection now gets to race off just 84, and any more of the forecast heavy showers will definitely play in his favour.
This looks a cracking renewal of this Group Three event, with some really promising stayers set to line up over the Ebor trip. A horse I really like is Roberto Escobarr and I am sure that he could well become a genuine Cup contender in the future. But, it is undisputable that a faster surface suits him so much better. He simply bounced off the quick ground to win a Listed race over the course and distance last time out, but this slower going seems to blunt his turn of foot.
In contrast, the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes winner Quickthorn will relish any more rain, as his round action seems so well suited to the mud. If we do get a deluge, then he could well take this step up in trip in his stride and is rightly feared promoted to graded level. He certainly has the size and scope to take another step forward which he must do.
However, the Ismail Mohammed-trained AWAY HE GOES may well have been overlooked in the market place. Staying power is definitely the biggest asset for this son of Farhh and all ground comes alike to him as well. He was beaten 6 lengths into third spot by Subjectivist in the Group Two Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan, once again staying on late in the day over 2m.
Being unraced since that day in March, shouldn’t prove a problem with his record fresh, he looks the forgotten horse in the betting and I can see him staying on late to grab some of the prize money, if not landing the gold medal. Ilaraab was found out in the Group One Hardwicke Stakes last time out at Royal Ascot and down in grade back at his beloved York, he looks yet another danger in a wide open event.
Just a maximum of nine will go to post for this extended mile-and-three-quarters handicap, but most of them are exposed, so we know exactly where we stand with them. Spanish Kiss remains one of a few that are open to improvement following wins off marks 75 and 84 this season, and he has improved as his stamina has been tested more.
I was particularly taken by his first win at York over a mile-and-a-half on soft ground when he looked in trouble at one point, but then once he engaged top gear and with that asset brought into play, the son of Lope de Vega won a shade cosily. Another 8lbs hike requires a career best performance, but this will be only his second run over this kind of trip and I make him a clear danger to Roger Varian’s ISPAHAN, who incidentally is by the same sire.
This will be just the eighth career start for this four-year-old and his last run at Goodwood can safely be discounted as he seemed all at sea on that undulating track and after messing up the start, he had little chance off a soft pace of picking up the prominent runners.
This bigger field, with several pressers set to line up, should ensure a much better pace on from the start. The combination with this stiffer and more conventional track should play massively in his favour. It is worth noting that the selection is also entered at York on Friday, and if taking up that engagement then Spanish Kiss would be the call.
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I thought that the July Cup looked a really tricky betting proposition, although if I am going to have a wager I may well have a speculative each-way play on Garrus – who is not rated too far behind the rest of the highest rated speedsters and yet is a huge price. But, the Bunbury Cup is a handicap I have managed to do well in over the past 20 odd years, and I am particularly sweet on the claims of one of only two three-year-old’s in the race.
PEROTTO was kept to 5 and 6 furlongs for the majority of his two-year-old and even at the start of his three-year-old career until he ran in a Class Three handicap at Goodwood in June. He gobbled up the ground there in the closing stages from the back of the pack to score by a short head, and this kind of cavalry charge looks his perfect set-up.
Further stepped up to a mile for the Britannia Stakes, the youngster came from way back on the stands’ side and, once set alight by Oisin Murphy, he absolutely tore through his field to land that ultra competitive handicap by a cosy half-a-length. Of course, back over 7 furlongs and out of his age group this will require a good deal more, but I fancy that this is not the best renewal of this famous old contest with little strength in depth.
Kimifive should run well, but he could have stronger claims in the Steward’s Cup at Goodwood in three weeks time, and the biggest dangers could come from fellow three-year-old Fundamental and last year’s hero Motakhayyel. The last named is only 4lbs higher this term, and takes a drop in class after running well in the Criterion Stakes over the course and distance.
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