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Eve Johnson Houghton often introduces some of her better prospects at Ascot – Jumby won on debut at the course last season – and her newcomer DREAMING makes some appeal on paper. Dreaming, a 40,000 guineas purchase as a yearling, is a half-brother to several winners – including a smart sprinter in Maljaa – and he makes his debut at a time when the yard is among the winners.
SAGA has shaped well in second on both starts and can get off the mark at the third attempt. Saga is bred to be useful and offered plenty to work with when runner-up at Newmarket in July. He built on that when filling the same position at the same venue last month. He was unlucky to bump into an exciting prospect, but he pulled a long way clear of the third and stands out as the one to beat on that form.
INVEIGLE boasts a useful pedigree – he is a half-brother to Group 1 winner Dream Castle – and he looked like a talented performer when bolting up at Yarmouth in June. He’s failed to meet expectations twice subsequently but his effort at Yarmouth, where he barely needed to come off the bridle, suggests he could be a notch above this opposition.
LOVE IS GOLDEN was no match for a smart prospect at Hamilton last week, but he arguably posted his best effort yet in defeat, pulling a couple of lengths clear of the remainder. Love Is Golden had previously won at Chester, so is clearly in top form at present. He ought to give another good account from the same mark as when runner-up at Hamilton.
FANTASTIC FOX was well beaten in a mile-and-a-quarter handicap at Royal Asco, but it’s difficult to knock his record over a mile and he can follow up last month’s success at Haydock. Fantastic Fox had little trouble making the most of a good opportunity at Haydock and a 6lbs rise in the weights looks fair enough as he scored with a bit in hand. He is still relatively lightly raced, is going in the right direction and has a likeable profile, so looks the one to beat.
PRONTISSIMO has shaped with plenty of promise on both starts in handicaps and we have yet to see everything the three-year-old has to offer. He looked set to score at Doncaster on his penultimate start, but showed his inexperience under pressure – hanging left before being headed close home.
He was never in a position to challenge the all-the-way winner at Kempton last time, but he made good late headway to grab second, shaping like a well-handicapped horse. The pace he shows suggests the drop back to 6 furlongs on this stiff track won’t pose any problems.
NORTHERN EXPRESS was last of three at Haydock on his most recent outing, but that effort can be overlooked as he was unsuited by how that race developed. He was seen to much better effect when held up off a stronger gallop at York on his previous outing, quickening well to score with a bit in hand. He is better judged on that effort and patient tactics are often seen to good effect on the Ascot straight course.
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