Cookie Hobnobbing In Group Company, At Ascot
As it did yesterday, the card at Punchestown massively overshadows most of today’s UK action. It’s a big day at Ascot too, though, with black-type encounters scheduled. There are 4 other British meetings and they are being held at Pontefract, Wolverhampton, Brighton and Cheltenham.
The 3.20 at Ascot is the G3 Sagaro Stakes and we’ll take the biscuit to leave his rivals fighting over crumbs. Clever Cookie has the class to see off both Flying Officer and Mizzou. He was runner-up in the G2 British Champions Long Distance Cup (here at Ascot) and impressed when again finishing ahead of all but one in the Listed Further Flight Stakes.
Next up is the G3 Pavilion Stakes (3.55), which was won by Limato in 2015. The partnership of Ryan Moore and Washington DC looks irresistible, given that Aidan O’Brien’s inmate has won 2 of his last 3 races (both Listed) and finished 2nd in the other (the G1 Phoenix Stakes) behind Air Force Blue. Of the rest, C Note appeals most but victory requires a sizeable leap of faith.
Moore is on-board GM Hopkins, but may not have things his own way in the Listed Paradise Stakes (4.30). Arod would probably prefer a slightly faster surface, but he’s terrific over a mile and remains unpenalised for his brace of Group victories. Finding Solow just half a length too quick, in the G1 Sussex Stakes, did not disgrace Peter Chapple-Hyam’s horse one bit.
Not a great deal stands out, in the 4 remaining UK meetings. Zumran, a Rock Of Gibraltar filly, looks to shed her maiden tag in the 2.00 at Pontefract. Harry Holland can grab a 3rd consecutive win, in the 5.10 at Wolverhampton and leave connections of Capo Rosso with the blues. The evening racing is at Brighton and also Cheltenham, where Dicky Bob looks well-priced for an each-way tickle in the 6.25.
Bellshill To Enter Punchestown Parade Ring
Today’s Punchestown card is simply sensational, with 3 G1 contests to spice up Wednesday! Willie Mullins will hope that Bellshill can wipe away the frustration he endured yesterday and win the Novice Hurdle (4.55). The King’s Theatre gelding finished just a neck behind Ballyoptic, in the G1 Sefton Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree. Stablemate, Gangster, pulled up in that race but should not be ruled out.
Tizzard Gelding Hold All The Cards
The usual suspects will line-up for the Gold Cup (5.30), but Cue Card is now very short in the market following an emphatic win at Aintree. What a pity that we never saw this resurgent 10-year-old get around the course at Cheltenham. Colin Tizzard’s inmate looked ready to strike for home, before an awful leap 3 out ended his hopes. Djakadam and Don Poli are expected to go reasonably close, but it’s hard to see either of Willie Mullins’ runners winning if Cue Card stays on his hooves. Road To Riches also looks held.
Opposing Moon Racer Looks Lunar-cy
David Pipe’s Moon Racer can confirm himself as the leading bumper racer, by winning the Champion I.N.H. Flat Race at 6.05. Unbeaten in all 3 outings, he first beat Sir Scorpion by over 7 lengths to win the 2014 George Mernagh Memorial Sales Bumper. A routine victory in a low-grade Cheltenham flat race was the only other time he was seen on track, during that campaign.
He certainly lives a charmed life, having just once been called upon to earn his oats in 2015. That win came in the G1 Cheltenham Champion Bumper, where only the rank-outsider Modus was able to get close. Bacardys and Battleford look the principal threats. There’s also the Grade A Handicap Chase (6.40) and the Listed Mares Flat Race (7.15) to enjoy.
Listed Action At Auteuil
Over in France, there’s Listed action at Auteuil. Guillaume Macaire’s Storm Of Saintly just can’t stop winning and will be fancied by many to land the Prix William Head. South Africa’s action takes place at Vaal, with 9 races on the card.
Don’t forget that Guineas weekend is coming up, in just 3 days time. Check our ante-post section, for the latest available prices.