Wednesday sees Pattern action over at Leopardstown along with some interesting handicaps and a good maiden at Doncaster. Here are the racing highlights and the main contenders.
4.00 Chepstow (6f Handicap)
Has been running on proper soft ground of late and that may not have been ideal and with a better surface promised here the 6yo can go well.
David Evans’ 4yo has more to come and will like it if it gets quick. A career high may well be on the cards here putting him a couple of pounds ahead of the assessor which is never a bad thing.
The 9yo was odds-on for a seller when winning last time. Even in this form though, his handicap mark is high enough.
The excellent Andrew Balding and his stable jock David Probert are here purely for this horse and the improving 3yo is likely to throw in a career high. He’ll have a few pounds tucked under his belt and will be a tough nut to crack.
A course and distance winner under Josie Gordon, Dane O’Neill takes over this time with no ride for Sheikh Hamdan and should get a good spin. He may yet have a couple of pounds in hand but has Farleigh Mac to beat.
A decent affair for its level, but the standout connections are that of FARLEIGH MAC and that is highlighted by his form and potential. In these conditions it’s easy to see him scoring ahead of C&D winner Showmethewayavrilo and Munfallet.
3.35 Hamilton (1m 5f Handicap)
Irish raider John Patrick Shanahan brings this and three others to the next two days’ racing at Hamilton, though the 4yo has a poor strike-rate and is up against with the Johnston horse in the field.
Mark Johnston’s 3yo has shown huge improvement of late and comes here on the back of two wins at Chester. Although he’ll find this a little different, he still looks to have a few pounds in hand here and must go close in a small race.
Hamilton is a regular hunting ground for Iain Jardine and his Tor has been running admirably consistently of late, though right up to his mark and no better in truth.
Difficult to see the Johnston horse HOCHFELD getting beaten here in truth, and with such little competition prices of 4/6 or above will even represent value.
4.10 Hamilton (1m1f Handicap)
Poor run last time, but before that had been showing up well and if back to his best he may even have a few pounds in hand.
Best run was last time out here over C&D, but also on soft ground. Still though, this improver looks to have half a stone in hand on the handicapper and is sure to go very well indeed.
Had a little break since three good runs in the spring and if April’s reappearance is anything to go by he can go well fresh. If he’s ready to go he has definite place chances here.
Only a 3yo and with surely much more to come, he ran up to a mark of 83 last year as a 2yo (81 now) and has been gelded after two poor runs this season. If his op has done the trick, he can improve to something like 85 which would give him a chance.
Best runs this term were on firm ground and if the weather keeps improving in the west of Scotland, so will the Mark Johnston horse’s chances. A 6lb rise for last time still keeps him ahead of the handicapper I reckon and he must have a strong chance.
I can’t help thinking that X Rated will be a big danger along with Desert Ruler, though both will have to go some to reach rapid improver and course specialist FIVEHUNDREDMILES for the Shanahan yard and he gets the nod.
3.15 Leicester (1m Handicap)
It’s been a busy season for this consistent sort who goes on any ground and another run right up to his handicap mark would seem to be on the cards.
A typical Dubawi improver, at least until he encountered soft ground last time. It’s quicker today and the fact he stays 1m2f may help as the race will be run slowly and wind up gradually. Should have at least 3-4lbs in hand here.
A maiden who seems to have found his level and doesn’t improve. Ryan Moore jocked up but has had the help of Jin Crowley and Pat Dobbs in the past to no avail.
Michael Bell is in good nick and the excellent Oisin Murphy is on board. The horse itself though is a maiden gelding and needs to improve a fair bit to take close order.
This will get tactical and I’m sure the clever Ryan Moore may attempt to steal the race on Mr Tyrrell. It’s imperative that Andrea Atzeni stays close to him and winds his own pace up gradually in order to outclass them on DAIRA PRINCE who should score.
6.10 Doncaster (7f Maiden Fillies’ Stakes)
Sultanaa and Tig Tog have the benefit of experience but don’t set an insurmountable standard to beat, so the regally bred Godolphin newcomer PICCOLA COLLINA is more than a little interesting on racecourse debut.
6.40 Doncaster (6f Fillies’ Nursery)
Miss Bar Beach
In terms of her handicap mark she may pay for her 9th in the Albany at Royal Ascot, though looks set to give another good account of herself.
Rare in these events in that she may have a good 5lbs or so in hand. Those at the top of the weights tend to do well in nurseries and she would make a very worthy favourite.
Miss Mo Brown Bear
Carrying the second colours of Middleham Park Racing, but will appreciate racing on a sounder surface and could have plenty in hand here. If the race is run at a sound pace she’ll finished better than most.
Another who could go well despite a poor run under today’s jockey in a Listed race at Newmarket.
Song Of Summer
Hated the soft ground last time but ran well enough anyway. Qualifies for her handicap mark now and may be very well-in. She’s been consistent for a so-called low grade performer and will appreciate the better ground here. Big chance.
SONG OF SUMMER looks very well in to me on the ground and has a really nice racing weight. Archie Watson’s speedy sort is better than her mark and looks terrific value. Song Of Summer heads the numerous chasers in a competitive little event.
7.50 Doncaster (7f Handicap)
Won easily last time, but that course (Chester) and softer going has brought about big performances from him before and he won’t be as good today.
Backed overnight as though he’s about to get back to near his best. A repeat of how he finished last back end would get him to around his current mark but still with more to find to win.
David Evans travels north to attempt to win this, but although admittedly in good form his yard may be expecting too much of Athassel.
Has been slipping down the weights this season without running too badly. Hasn’t won for over two years though and no real signs that today is the day.
Jeremy Noseda relies entirely on this one at Doncaster and he’ll have plenty of help in the saddle from William Buick. He goes very well here indeed and should be a few pounds well-in.
Like Noseda, Charlie Hills has just the one runner on the card and this is it. Champion-elect Silvestre De Sousa is on board but this one would appear to want it much softer according to his profile.
A boring selection, but frankly FIREFIGHT is lacking serious competition in this race with most not well handicapped and others preferring rain soaked ground.
8.20 Doncaster (1m2f Handicap)
Charlie Appleby arrives with a couple of really good chances on the card, this being one. This one was ready to go and well fancied when unseating William Buick last time and is ready to put in a much improved performance. Favourite’s chance.
Fair enough form but regressing of late and still a maiden.
Doing very well this season but in fact has to improve a fair amount to get past the Godolphin horse.
Very reliable form, but unfortunately it only shows that he is likely to once again run very close to his handicap mark but not significantly above it.
Has been disappointing, but coming down the weights sharply and capable of running to a mark of around 80-82 here which shows up well against his official rating of 78. Big place chances at a big price.
No reason why he shouldn’t go well and fight it out for the minor placings.
Charlie Appleby is first class and really has found an excellent opportunity for FIRST VOYAGE to score with so much in the improver’s favour. Parish Boy is a reasonable shout for the places at a big price.
8.00 Leopardstown (Meld Stakes, 1m1f Group 3)
Likes the fast going; ran really well in Group One company but it can be the case that they get dragged along slightly by better horses. His former rating of 114 is a much more accurate representation of his ability.
Won well here in early June but would not be liking fast ground too much.
Hard to quantify, but a run of somewhere between 110-114 would be about right which means he has a chance, but could not be confidently backed.
The Grey Gatsby
Formerly very high class when with Kevin Ryan in England and a winner here of the Irish Champion Stakes back in 2014. Made an ordinary stable debut last time out but was very tenderly ridden and will do better today, backed to do so too.
Purely on the grounds of value, a chance is taken on THE GREY GATSBY to get past Deauville who has a 3lb penalty to carry.
8.30 Leopardstown (Stanerra Stakes, 1m6f Listed Race)
A Group 3 winner already, but not a particularly strong one and a 3lb penalty here means a lot of improvement is needed in a competitive field.
Charlie Hills is responsible for the one English raider in the field who ran horribly at Ascot but previously had run an OK seasonal debut. She’s never won on turf before but was improving steadily last season and looks capable of reaching a level of 100 or so now.
Really should be outclassed here, all things being equal.
May improve past fellow live outsider Tara Dylan, but should not trouble the principals.
Improvement seems to have stopped short of what is required here.
Wild Irish Rose
Not one of Coolmore’s leading lights and may even be flattered by her mark of 89.
Although very progressive, it’s hard to believe she can win this having started the season on a mark of 63.
Charlie Hills, Khalid Abdullah and Pat Smullen are hardly a shabby combo and the Lambourn raider MOORSIDE seems the only one capable of reaching the 100 mark, at least potentially. She looks great value to notch the win here.
7.00 Epsom (7f Handicap)
Won over an extended 5 last time out on firm ground, a far cry from the good-to-soft on an undulating track he faces today.
Both wins came on slower ground and this trip looks right now. Even in these conditions, may run just ahead of his handicap mark.
Thrives on the undulations of Brighton and Epsom, is in good form and still improving. The ground should hold no worries and a solid run is expected.
May struggle at the weights and won’t have it his own way up front this time.
Not that many like Epsom, but there are no such worries for FRANK BRIDGE and he may be the value in a race that has cut up badly.
8.10 Epsom (1m2f Handicap)
Getting better all the time and likes it round here, though he is still a maiden and one who is unproven on softer ground. His debut last year offers some encouragement on that front though and he could be quite well handicapped here.
Recently gelded having looked to be going backwards, he’s run close to some very reasonable types and if the op has done the trick for him then he may have a few pounds in hand. Ground would be the worry.
War At Sea
This maiden has stellar connections and after only two turf runs, he has plenty more to come. May rather enjoy the ground.
Standout run was on fast ground and shown little otherwise.
There’s no doubt Thundering Blue is a solid enough favourite but at these prices, a chance is taken on WAR AT SEA to improve again.