Phoenix Of Spain (16/1) did us a favour when running out an impressive winner of the Irish 2000 Guineas at the Curragh on Saturday. Charlie Hills’ colt is the new 2/1 market leader for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot next month with BetVictor although I wouldn’t be in a rush to back him at that price.
Jamie Spencer was able to dictate the race from the front from his plum draw at the weekend and, whilst visually very impressive, I won’t be pressing up my winnings. Indeed, I do feel we may see him in an even better light over 10f in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July.
Battash maintained his perfect record first time out when a fluent winner of the Temple Stakes at Haydock and he was trimmed from 6s to 3/1 at BetVictor for the Kings’ Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting in the immediate aftermath of the race. The scissors have been out again, however, and he is now 9/4f with last year’s winner Blue Point 7/2 with BetVictor for that Grade 1 5f dash on the opening day.
Seven Bank Holiday cards in Britain and Ireland today and we start at Redcar where there are showers forecast for their eight-race card with the feature the Zetland Gold Cup over 10f. William Haggas fits his Al Muffrih (4.10) with a first-time hood this afternoon after his four-year-old pulled his chance away on his reappearance.
The selection was free to post, and commentator Simon Holt described him as “running with the choke out” in the first half of the race. To be beaten less than 2L was an excellent effort and, if the headgear works the oracle, I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a very big race. Note BetVictor are paying each way four places on this 14-runner handicap.
Over at Windsor and the form of the wonderfully named Ivatheengine’s (2.30) second at Chepstow on debut has been franked by the winner Flippa The Strippa who landed the listed National Stakes at Sandown last week. Oisin Murphy keeps the ride on David Evans’ already gelded juvenile who looks sure to appreciate today’s step up to 6f.
He’s Amazing (4.15) has been raised 5lbs for scoring over C&D having his first start for Ed Walker and he is taken to follow up although he may have to make his own running as there is no guaranteed pace in the five-runner race.
At Leicester and Rathbone (2.55) finally broke his maiden tag when winning at Pontefract on his reappearance and looked to have improved for his gelding operation over the winter. He gets the vote for Kevin Ryan in a fascinating 6f sprint for the classic generation.
I wouldn’t want too much rain for Doing Fine (3.50) in the veterans’ Chase at Cartmel although the handicapper has certainly given the selection a chance. I was disappointed with the finishing effort of the 11-year-old at Fakenham last time when he travelled like the winner for much of the contest. Tom Scudamore travels to the Lake District for just the one ride and I hope he comes back with a winner.
Poker School returned to something like his best form when scoring at Wincanton last time from a 5lbs lower mark, but it should be noted that all seven of his career wins have been on right-handed tracks. The vote goes to Eyes Of A Tiger (3.55) who finished second to Double W’s at Perth last time from a 3lbs lower mark. That form has been franked by the subsequent Warwick success of the winner and he gets the vote for Brian Ellison.
At Huntingdon Jack Tudor takes off a valuable 7lbs from the back of Butlergrove King (3.50) and that negates the 5lbs rise for scoring at Fakenham last time when his sound jumping was the key to his success. He remains fairly treated on his best form.
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