Royal Ascot begins a week today and Ribchester (Evens at BetVictor) and Churchill (8/11) are the opening day bankers for many. They look good things on paper but racing is rarely, if ever, that simple!
There is a competitive card at Salisbury this afternoon and in the second division of the Novice Auction Stakes I hope to see Aquadabra (2.30) break her maiden tag at the fourth time of asking. The selection finished third to the Royal Ascot bound Main Desire at Nottingham when last seen at the beginning of May and this additional furlong should see her in an even better light following a six-week break.
There is a valuable fillies’ handicap over 10f and Dubara (4.00) suggested at Newmarket on her reappearance that a step up in trip would suit and she returns to the track – after a near two-month absence – at a time when the Luca Cumani stable are in very good form. This well-bred filly will not have things all her own way with last time out winners Hidden Charms and Harebell both open to significant improvement.
At Yarmouth Hawkerland (2.45) suggested at Windsor last time that he might improve for the step up in trip when finishing a never nearer fourth at Windsor over 10 furlongs and this additional quarter mile should suit on his handicap debut. Ryan Moore takes over in the saddle this afternoon and classic winner trainer Marcus Tregoning has his stable in very good form.
Only four go to post for the fillies’ 10f handicap but they all have every chance and Jim Crowley replaces Jamie Spencer on Ms Gillard (3.15) the 9/2 outsider of the field on the tissue with BetVictor. I just feel there is a possibility that the combination of champion jockey and first time visor might be the key to this long-standing 14-race maiden who was not placed to challenge at Doncaster last time.
Over the jumps at Southwell this evening and Polly’s Pursuit (7.00 jumped well on her hurdles debut when beaten half a length by the talented Irish Roe over C&D last month. She is unlikely to bump into a mare of that quality this evening and is likely to go one better.
Captainofindustry (7.30) steps up to 3m for the first time and can defy a 3lb rise for scoring at Huntingdon last time over an extended 2m 4f. Noel Fehily keeps the ride on a horse who has the scope to jump a fence but trainer Mark Pitman keeps his over timber for now.
At Lingfield this evening Sporting Times is interesting stepping up in trip but he will get further than tonight’s nine furlongs and Creek Walk (5.50) shaped with promise at Newcastle on debut when runner up back in November and this step up in trip really should suit.
Notice is often slowly away, and is 4lbs higher than when third at Goodwood on her reappearance and preference is for Saumur (6.50) who travelled well but found little on soft ground at Newbury last time. The 5-year-old has run well off this mark in the past and James Doyle is in the saddle this evening.
Doyle also keeps the ride on Elizabeth Bennet (8.20) who shaped with considerable promise when third at Goodwood last month on her debut. Do note this event is on the polytrack surface and that should not inconvenience this well-bred juvenile.
For all your racing odds check out BetVictor.com.