It’s a bumper day of action on Friday with ITV bringing us racing form three meetings. We have the two Racebets sponsored events at York which sees the lightly-raced and highly-rated Hamish try to back up his Melrose victory. There are four races to savour at Newmarket with the Fillies’ Mile taking centre stage and finally, there is a treat for jumps fans as the Persian War marks the start of the jumps season.
Racebets Money Back 2nd, 3rd, 4th Handicap
David O’Meara has enjoyed a great campaign and runs five in this. Even though Danny rides Firmament, I think he’s best chance of a winner is Waarif who’s happy a busy season but was as good as ever when beating Kynren at Ayr and just shoulders a two-pound rise.
Stuart Williams’ Alemaratalyoum deservedly got his head in front at Goodwood last month which means he has to cope with a career-high mark but the claim of promising jockey Marco Ghiani should make him competitive.
Zap hasn’t shown a shred of form lately but was placed off 10-pounds higher at York earlier in the season and if returning to last season’s form he’s dangerously handicapped.
Selection: Zap – E/W
This valuable staying handicap sees some quality three-year-olds go head to head.
It’s the William Haggas trained Hamish that looks the standout runner here judging by the betting. He was an impressive course and distance of the Melrose which is the best form on offer and if backing this run-up he’ll prove tough to beat.
Many will be taking the Sir Michael Stoute factor into consideration when backing Deal A Dollar and although he should improve for the extra distance I don’t see him having the class to win his arce off a mark of 97.
Moon King had won five on the bounce before running at Haydock on te back of a small break. He was far from disgraced in that race and I wouldn’t be writing him off yet.
The Racebets sponsored yard of Donald McCain run the improving Navajo Pass in here and he must have a chance. He’s yet to be out of the places in four career starts and duly got his head in front last time out. This imposing type is a horse to follow and could sneak a place before possibly heading over hurdles.
Selection: Navajo Pass – E/W
I’m of the opinion that anything that wins this races doesn’t tend to train on and after having a look at the past winner Quiet Reflection is the only on that bucks the trend. However let’s stop looking at what they can do next year, we need to find the winner first. Platinum Star looks the one to beat based on his Windsor Castle and July Stakes placed runs. He had a confidence-boosting victory in the Two-Year-Old-Trophy at Ripon most recently and is justifiably favourite.
Lazuli only scrambled home in a three-runner conditions race at Doncaster and I can’t see him maintain the unbeaten record. The one I’ll take a chance on at a nice price is Dream Shot who doesn’t hold any aces up his sleeve but has been running consistently all season and ran a fine race when coming out second-best in the Group 2 Flying Childers when last seen.
Selection: Dream Shot – E/W
Oh So Sharp Stakes
Roger Varian is bidding to win this race for the third consecutive year and would appear to have strong claims of doing so with Stylistque. She’s yet to win in five attempts but brings strong form into the race with a narrow defeat in the Rockfel giving her a huge chance.
The main resistance should come from the champion-elect on Final Song who finished third in the Queen Mary earlier in the campaign and then filled the same position in the Duchess Of Cambridge behind Raffle Prize. She’s had a break since and should go close.
The Irish-raider Valeria Messalina can’t be underestimated given the current hot-streak of Jessica Harrington trained two-year-olds. She only just won an average-looking Naas maiden contest on debut but is open to improvement.
Just the five contest this Group 2 affair an let’s start with the likeable Limato who bids for a hat-trick of victories in the race and has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle. Even so, I can’t see him winning again, he was in better form coming into the arce for the past two seasons and I think there are classier horses in the race.
One of which is the top-rated Mustashry who won the Lockinge earlier in the season and wasn’t too far behind Enable in the Coral-Eclipse. The drop back in trip should suit and he’s my idea of the winner.
The other horse of real note here is Shine So Bright for the Andrew Balding team. He won the Free Handicap over course and distance on seasonal debut and also landed the City Of York Stakes during the season. I think he could make up into a real seven-furlong specialist but I think he’s more a horse for next season.
This Group 1 event can be boiled down to just the four fillies’ with the twice-raced Quadrilateral heading the market. The well-bred son of Frankel was very impressive in a conditions race at Newbury and is a nice type.
Jessica Harrington’s Cayenne Pepper has won all three stars to date including a Group 3 at the Curragh back in August. That possibly wasn’t the strongest race but she couldna do any more than win.
Aidan O’Brien has won three of the last five renewals and runs the recent Moyglare winner Love here. This will be her first crack at a mile but given how she stayed the last day, I don’t see it being an issue.
Hugo Plamer’s May Hill winner Powerful Breeze has to be given serious consideration. She saw out the mile well at Doncaster and looks like a classy individual.
Selection: Powerful Breeze
Old Rowley Cup
I could pick any number of possible winners in this staying handicap for three-year-olds. but I’ll narrow it down to three and hope for the best. The first we’ll look at is the favourite Trueshan who was foiled in his hat-trick bid by leading Cesarewitch fancy Ranch Hand most recently. He could give a timely boost to Andrew Balding’s charge and looks open to further progress.
Sir Mark Prescott doesn’t up horses in class unless he thinks they are up to it and it’s taking that he runs the lightly-raced Battle Of Paradise. A mark of 79 looks fair and he could surprise a few of his rivals.
Oisin Murphy takes the ride on Sinjaari who’s only won once in the current campaign but has run some fine races in defeat along the way. He was outpaced the last day and the slight extra yardage couldn’t hurt.
Selection: Battle Of Paradise
Persian War Novices’ Hurdle
Paul Nicholls’ has won four of the last nine runnings of this race, so he’s the logical starting point when trying to pick this year’s winner. The Ditcheat handler is solely represented by Trevelyn’s Corn, who made his hurdles debut in a hot Ascot race and after taking his maiden hurdle easily, he was pitched in a Grade 1 at Aintree. He was ultimately well beaten by Champ but following a break and a win-op he could be a different proposition now.
Recent French-import Echiquier is the highest-rated horse in the race on the basis of graded form in France and an emphatic Brittish debut at Hexham. It’s hard to get a handle on his form but he should run well.
I quite like the chances of the thrice-raced Thyme Hill from the Phillip Hobbs yard which never really got going last season. The son of Kayf Tara finished a close third in the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham and if taking to hurdles could be very exciting.
Of the outsiders, there has been sustained support for Ruthless Article who brings race-fitness into this having already won three races this season. That being said it would be disappointing should he be good enough to win this.
Selection: Thyme Hill