The had the unique Shergar Cup last week and there is another one a year contest with the Grey Horse handicap being run at Newmarket on Saturday. There are four quality races to savour at Newmarket where Sir Dancealot bids to win the feature Hungerford Stakes for the second consecutive season. Elsewhere on the card, Morando is the clear form horse in the Geoffrey Freer and Ripp Orf could give David Elsworth a much-needed big-race double.
Ripon plays host to the Great St Wilfrid where David O’Meara’s Intisaab could be a nice price winner.
All six runners have a winning bracket next to their name in this listed event, with Juan Elcano looking likely to jump off favourite. Kevin Ryan’s charge got up late on debut at Haydock and then ran a big race to finish second in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at HQ. That form gives him a huge chance and a reproduction of that form should suffice here.
The most experienced in the field is Sun Power who backed up a good run in the Chesham by just missing out in a listed race back at Ascot. He’s a solid type but may come up short again.
Mark Johnston’s runners just keep on winning and Thunderous fills that criteria as he’s won both starts to date for connections at Doncaster and Redcar. I think he’ll need to improve again to feature but that’s very plausible.
Selection: Juan Elcano
Geoffrey Freer Stakes
Morando is the standout runner on ratings here being rated 10 pounds higher than his closest rival. He was a runaway winner of the Ormonde earlier on the year on his favoured soft going and although he was out of his depth behind Enable most recently, he brings strong form and is the one to beat.
The Queen’s Sextant has won three of his four starts in handicap company this season and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares in this better company.
I think that Technician is the best of the classic generation and even though he was well beaten at Goodwood, he could run into a place.
I was firmly in the Ripp Orf camp at Ascot at the end of last month where he ran well to finish fourth. The handicapper has dropped him a pound for that run and I think he could be the answer under Jason Watson.
The well-bred and pretty unexposed Breath Of Air returns to the scene of his one and only victory. I think he’s on a workable mark and has the assistance of Ryan Moore which can’t hurt.
Graphite Storm was a course and distance winner as a juvenile and has only gone up three pounds for a recent victory at Newmarket which gives him claims.
Of the others, I think Pattie is dropping down to a winnable mark and is worth following going forward.
Selection: Ripp Orf
Sir Dancealot took this twelve months ago and has a big chance of repeating the feat now having shown his well-being at Goodwood when winning the Lennox. He had Hey Gaman in behind that do and although James Tate thinks he can reverse the form I’m not convinced.
John Quinn’s Safe Voyage has only been beaten once in four starts this season and that came behind Romanised at the Curragh and obviously that form is looking string now following Ken Condon’s charge winning a Group 1 last weekend.
Space Traveller is the only three-year-old in the race and produced a career-best when taking the Jersey at Royal Ascot. He ran well when coming up short in the Lennox and I can’t see him troubling the principals.
Selection: Sir Dancealot
Tim Easterby runs four in here with Flying Pursuit looking the best of his chances. He was sixth in the Great St Wilfrid off 100 last season and runs off just 89 now in this lesser contest. He ran disappointingly at Thirsk earlier in the month but if you can put a line through that run he should run well.
Paddy Power was fourth in this contest last year and runs off a four-pound lower mark this time around. I think the two-pound drop he got for his Goodwood run was generous and shouldn’t be underestimated.
Stuart Williams’ has his string in top form of late and Alaadel just missed out on his first run after a break at Nottingham. He eas to contend with a career-high mark but is still quite exposed for his age.
Selection: Flying Pursuit
Great St Wilfrid
Dakota Gold has only run twice this season and was a good winner of “The Dash” at York last month off just a three-pound lower mark. The only worry is that I think this mark is at the top of his ability and in such a competitive handicap, I’ll look elsewhere.
Ruth Carr’s Poyle Vinne ran two excellent races at Goodwood, winning the second of them. He’s got five-pounds more to shoulder now, which might be enough to stop him even though he’s clearly in fine fettle.
Ralph Beckett’s string hasn’t been in great form this season but Richenza won well two starts back and wasn’t beaten ar by Snazzy Jazzy in a listed when last seen. That being said I think she will come up short.
I’ll take a chance on Intisaab who’s been contesting top handicaps all season and is now four-pounds lower than his last mark.
Grey Horse Handicap
Many times when you can’t pick the winner you’ll just pick a horse colour but that won’t work in this unique contest as all the horses are grey. Richard Hannon seems to hold strong in this with Chatham House and Aim Power. Of those Chatham House would appear to be the better fancied. The son of Dark Angel won well at Newbury most recently but will need to improve off a seven pound higher mark.
Aim Power has been disappointing on all three starts to date this season but if rediscovering some of her juvenile form, then she’d be of interest.
Lethal Angel has been frustrating to follow this season but has been placed on all starts and has only gone up three-pounds for those efforts. She looks sure to given her running again.
The final horse of note is Zumurud who won nicely at Catterick when last seen and is one of the few recent winners in the field.
Selection: Chatham House