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Newbury 13.45 Masekela
Andrew Balding’s runner managed to get his head in front despite running green on his racecourse debut. Despite a blip on his second of three races, he bounced back to form with an excellent effort at Newmarket last time when second in the Superlative Stakes. He hit a little bit of a flat spot – mainly through immaturity – and looks to be learning his job all the time. Masekela would’ve won at HQ in another stride or two and looks comfortably the best in here against admittedly, some unexposed types.
Newmarket 14:00 Makawee
David O’Meara’s runner normally operates at a higher level than this Class 2 handicap and will appreciate the drop-in grade to gain a little confidence. All her runs this season have been at Listed or Grade 2 level, so hopefully she can get back to the winners enclosure. There are a couple of recent winners in the field, but they have been mopping up much smaller races either on the all-weather or a few grades below what they are faced with now. Jockey Ben Curtis has a good book of mounts on the July course and Makawee can be a winning ride.
Newbury 14:20 Hukum
He is bidding to go back-to-back in this contest having won it last season as a three-year-old when he was improving up through the grades. Hukum took his form to another level at the back end of last season rounding off with a fantastic effort in the St Leger at Doncaster when fifth to Galileo Chrome.
Owen Burrows’ runner has won on two of his four starts in 2021 and although saddled with top weight under a penalty for that success last time – it should really only be a lap of honour for him.
Newmarket 14.35 – My Style
The five-year-old does have to turn the form around with Devil’s Angel, but that looks entirely possible given how slowly away he was from the starting stalls last time. Hopefully, My Style is not rushed up in the same manner again and our rider Georgia Dobie is more patient with pressing the excellerator early on. Given the way he hit the line strongly last time over the course and distance, he has a lot in his favour, provided he gets a clean start.
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Newbury 14:55 – Starshiba
He looked as if he was well prepped to run a big race for a massive pot at Ascot last time in the International Stakes but just proved a bit of a handful in the early stages for his inexperienced pilot. A change of hands to the red-hot David Egan should work and he’s already got placed form behind a Royal Ascot winner in Perotto. Starshiba still looks on a very attractive mark of 85 for a horse blessed with his natural ability. The straight 7f looks ideal and he’s a nice price.
Ripon 15:10 – I am a Dreamer
This is the consolation race for the feature event on the card, the Great St Wilifrid Handicap. I Am A Dreamer went very close in that contest last season when sixth to Staxton off a mark of 86 and returns to a track that quite clearly suits him down to the ground.
He looks to have been prepped for this after a nice pipe-opener at Doncaster last time where they made too much use of him in the early stages. He returns on a mark of just 80 and looks very well handicapped. A middle stall position in 12 looks ideal as jockey P J McDonald can decide where he needs to be as the race unfolds.
Newbury 15:30 – Laneqash
Roger Varian’s runner makes his seasonal debut but obviously has a massive amount of natural ability which he showed is on two of his three racecourse appearances last season. He disappointed on his final start, but provided the rain stays away, should have no problems with conditions. It’s interesting that the team start him off in Group 2 company and he has another Group 2 entry at Doncaster next month. This suggests the signs at home are positive for Laneqash.
He looks like Shadwell Estate’s third string as retained rider Jim Crowley rides Danyah in the owner’s first colours. However, it wouldn’t be the first time that a jockey picked the wrong one!
Ripon 15:45 – Lampang
Andrew Balding’s runner can prove a little frustrating, as he sometimes can get agitated at the start. He did just that at Goodwood last time and completely fluffed his lines with a very slow start losing any opportunity of winning. He could well make up into a Group-class sprinter in time and I’m not too concerned about him carrying a big weight in this line-up. Lampang has a big turnaround in the weights with his Goodwood conqueror Commanche Falls and provided he gets away on the ‘B’ of the bang, he’s going to go very well in Ripon’s signature race.
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