I was not particularly impressed with either of the Newbury Guineas’ trials winners (Dan’s Dream/Fred Darling and James Garfield Greenham) and if we saw a classic winner at Newbury at their two-day meeting, it was likely to be John Gosden’s debutante Lah Ti Dar. The beautifully bred filly was cut to 16/1 with BetVictor for the Oaks (from 25s) in the immediate aftermath of her fluent 6L success but has been well supported since and is now 10/1 to win the Epsom fillies’ classic.
Six fixtures in Britain and Ireland today and we begin our preview at Pontefract where I hope to see Dawaleeb (2.40) build on his Newcastle win – when pulling hard but beating a Gosden odds on favourite on the tapeta surface. The runner up has been well beaten since, but Les Eyre’s runner is open to more improvement and gets the each way vote.
This stiff mile should suit Starboy (5.45) with Silvestre De Sousa taking over in the saddle. The selection made a satisfactory reappearance when a staying on third at Newcastle last month. His draw in stall 11 (of 16) could have been better but, if in the mix with a couple of furlongs to go, I expect him to be finishing better than most. He is another each way recommendation.
At Hexham Randy Pike (3.20) has been in good form of late and this return to 2m 4f on soft ground should help having run well in defeat at Newcastle over an additional couple of furlongs.
There is a cracking handicap chase at Newton Abbot and Icing On The Cake is surely better than he showed at Leicester last time where he didn’t appear to be in love with the heavy ground. He was well supported on that occasion, is 3lbs lower this afternoon.
He must go close but I am hopeful that the ground will dry out enough for Some Buckle (2.30) to put his best hoof forward. The selection goes well fresh but wants decent ground. There is no rain forecast for the area since Saturday and the forecast suggests there will be sunny intervals and a decent drying breeze.
Conditions were beautiful for the London Marathon yesterday and Windsor Castle was bathed in warm sunshine when Her Majesty started the great race. I cannot imagine that Windsor’s ground will be any worse than good to soft for this evening’s card – although it was described as soft on Sunday afternoon.
The lightly raced Rebecca Rocks (5.50) put up a career best when winning at Goodwood for Henry Candy on her last start of her three-year-old campaign, and I hope to see her maintain that improvement and make all under the stands’ rail.
The selection is out of a Pivotal mare but her Goodwood win was gained on good ground. One note of caution the Candy yard have not had many runners so far this season and those that have run have pulled up few trees.
The form of Stream Song’s (6.20) Newmarket maiden win over a mile was given a boost when the runner up Sheikha Reika dotted up in a 7f maiden at the Craven meeting. The grey holds an entry in both the Epsom and Irish Oaks and is potentially a bit better than her current handicap mark. She has the worst of the draw to overcome in stall seven, but gets a narrow vote in what she be a most informative 10f fillies’ handicap.
Fajjaj (6.50) is not certain to appreciate the step up to ten furlongs but he holds a number of entries in big races later in the season and I felt he ran much better than his finishing position suggests at Newmarket on his second and final start as a juvenile. He must give 7lbs to the majority of his fifteen rivals as a result of his Ascot debut success.
I’m not surprised to see Amuletum (7.20) step up to 12f for the first time having looked one-paced when brushed aside on the all-weather (10f) at Newcastle last time. This is the filly’s first turf start having run exclusively on the all-weather to date, but I am convinced there is a race in her. Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle and she has a good draw in stall four.
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