FOX CHAIRMAN can make up for his Royal Ascot disappointment by landing this nice prize. He was sent off favourite for the Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes and may well have won but for meeting more traffic problems than a trucker on the M25.
He had a full tank crossing the line in second and clearly had no issues stepping up to this distance. He won’t mind the rain that’s been around as it was soft when he won on debut here in Newbury. The others have to improve to beat him.
There was a hard luck story for First Nation too when he had to settle for a close third at Sandown 15 days ago. He was flying at the finish and has plenty of stamina for the trip. He would be happier if the track missed the showers as fast ground suits.
Pondus found the King Edward VII Stakes too hot at the Royal meeting but this is a drop in grade from that. He earlier won a couple of lesser races nicely and is open to improvement.
Set Piece hasn’t been seen since struggling in the 2,000 Guineas when running green down the pack. He has potential and the step up from a mile may help.
Dolphin Vista likes to go from the front and may try to nick it. He hasn’t fired on either start this season but his best form would give him a hope.
WITHHOLD has a good record in these big-field handicaps and is best fresh so don’t worry about his 385 days off. He was all the rage for the Northumberland Plate a couple of weeks ago before a minor setback ruled him out of the contest.
He won’t mind the hustle and bustle given that he won the Pitmen’s Derby 12 months ago and he’d been off for the best part of 10 months then. All ground seems to come the same to him as it was on the fast side when he turned the Cesarewitch into a procession in 2017 but he’s won on slow too.
He has few miles on the clock and is a Group class horse running in a handicap, albeit a very classy one.
The Grand Visir rates the main danger after his impressive victory in the Ascot Stakes over 2m4f last time out. He goes on any ground and a 5lb rise in the weights for that success is more than fair.
Who Dares Wins won the Plate last time with a well-timed run and clearly stays well. He’ll need some luck to pull off those tactics again but can’t be discounted.
Carnwennan won the Plate consolation race over 2m with plenty left in the tank. He is only four so should have plenty of improvement in him and he’s got chances in this hotter contest.
Coeur De Lion finished well behind him latest when asked to make up too much ground. He could be on the premises again, especially if he lies up closer to the early pace.
THE TIN MAN should have too much quality on this drop in class. He has taken a couple of runs to get going this season and wasn’t disgraced when sixth behind Blue Point in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He should find it a little easier to make up ground against these slightly lesser lights and he’s fine on any going.
Snazzy Jazzy has cracking form in more testing conditions and did really well to dead-heat for first at Salisbury last time despite meeting lots of trouble in running. He’s proven in this grade and will be a major player if the ground isn’t too lively.
Projection is another having his sights lowered and he was more than a little unlucky behind The Tin Man latest when the gap just didn’t come. Oxted and Khaadem are two interesting three-year-olds who get a handy weight allowance from their older rivals.
The former went close to landing a Listed contest over course and distance in May and has been sold for £400,000 since.
Khaadem was half a length ahead of him that day before finding the Commonwealth Cup too much last time. Both are capable of improvement.
Donjuan Triumphant can be hard to catch right and has a had a couple of quiet runs this season. He went close in the Champions Sprint at Ascot last season and would go close at his best.
MIGHTY SPIRIT can see off well-backed stablemate Ventura Rebel in another hot Super Sprint. Trainer Richard Fahey has a cracking record in this race with three of the past six winners.
The Yorkshire-based handler runs four here and these two look the pick. Ventura Rebel ran a cracker to finish second in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and deserves to be favourite.
But he is very short at around 6-4 in a race where you usually need a little luck in running. The selection has plenty going for him too and wasn’t far off the pace in the Queen Mary.
After that major effort, she had to settle for second at Beverley which is understandable for a two-year-old but it was still a good run. There should be a lot more to come and she’s a fair price to hit the frame.
Never In Paris caught the eye when winning nicely on her debut at Nottingham earlier this month. This is a much tougher assignment but she zoomed away from her rivals and has lots to build on.
Taxiwala performed with credit in the Windsor Castle Stakes when not getting the breaks. Oisin Murphy rode him when he won at Brighton earlier and gets back on board today.
Emten is having just her third run after winning on debut at Windsor before a good fifth in the Norfolk Stakes. She’s another for the shortlist.
SPARKLE ROLL can shine on this drop in class. John Gosden’s Kingman filly was last seen running a good third in the prestigious Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last time.
She relished the step up to this distance there and did well to place having been held up for probably too long. The quality of opposition today doesn’t look as strong and she has plenty of scope for improvement.
At a big price, Alexana is worth forgiving a modest comeback run in a York Group 3 last time when she may have found the 1m6f trip on the testing side. Her efforts over this distance last season were solid and William Haggas continues in excellent form.
Gosden has another chance with Kesia who didn’t have to get out of first gear to win on debut at Ascot in May. She hasn’t been seen since which is a slight concern but she should step forward from that bright start.
Love So Deep is another taking a step down from the Ribblesdale where she finished a fair fifth. She kept on well from the back and has solid place claims.
Blue Gardenia was far from disgraced in the Oaks last time where she tackled this trip for the first time. She needs to improve on that but David O’Meara has his horses in great nick.
CHEF can cook up a big victory in this hot hurdle. CHEF DE TROUPE showed plenty of quality when winning by 10 lengths at Uttoxeter last month. He travelled like a quality performer there and it could have been further.
That was over a similar distance and he sneaks in at the bottom of the weights. Longhouse Sale is a rising star of the hurdling game and deserves this step up in class after a comfortable success at Ffos Las.
That was his seventh win on the spin and he looks capable of making his mark at this level. The only slight concern is that he’s not raced against more than six rivals before but he can overcome that.
St Gallen is another nice prospect who has scored on both his runs over timber. The first of those victories came over this course and distance where he travelled well. A 5lb rise in the weight for winning at Kelso last time shouldn’t put the brakes on.
John Constable often places in big races like this as he did in the Swinton Hurdle in May. He has since run a stinker at Cartmel but many horses don’t take to that track. He’s on a long losing run now but won this race in 2017 from 15lb higher in the weights and is capable of making the frame on a going day.
3.20 MARKET RASEN
MORE BUCK’S has been aimed at this race by canny trainer Peter Bowen ever since winning it 12 months ago. It’s interesting that his last two runs have been on the Flat and over hurdles to make sure he comes here off a fair handicap mark — and he does.
He’s just 1lb higher than when hosing up at Ludlow in January. Bowen has a brilliant record in this contest with six wins so knows exactly what it takes to score.
Ronava catches and looks the pick of the Dr Newland runners ahead of Trigger Nichol. The yard are past masters at bringing horses over from Ireland and making the most of their talents.
It’s been a similar story with this lightly raced 11-year-old who has won two of his three runs for the stable, including an impressive success at Hexham last time.
He’s gone up the weights for that but could have more improvement in him. Casablanca Mix likes a flat track like Rasen and won with a bit up her sleeve at Aintree last time.
Fellow Nicky Henderson runner Pacific De Baune has a lot of weight to carry but is in great form as he showed when winning easily at Newton Abbot latest. It would be no surprise to see him involved in the finish.
At a big price, Get Out The Gate looked a nice prospect when winning his first two chase runs and his saddle slipped at Cartmel last time so ignore that. He stays well and is coming down the weights.
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NUMBERS GAMEWhy sectional timings are vital to the future of horse racing
1.50 Fox Chairman
3.00 The Tin Man
3.40 Mighty Spirit
4.10 Hello Baileys
4.45 Listen To The Wind
2.10 Chef De Troupe
3.20 More Buck’s
5.05 Witness In Court
2.40 Sparkle Roll
3.15 CARTMELL CLEAVE (NAP)
3.50 Global Gift
4.25 King Ademar
5.35 Deep Intrigue
2.20 Interrupted Dream
2.55 Dutch Uncle
3.30 Charles Kingsley
4.05 Smile A Mile
1.55 Decor Irlandais
3.05 Melody Of Scotland
3.45 Mac Cennetig
4.50 Damiens Dilemma
5.25 Millie The Minx
5.40 Bashiba (treble)
7.15 One Hart
8.15 Autumn War
8.45 Funny Man
6.00 Military Tactic (nb)
7.00 Miss Sheridan
8.00 Quench Dolly
8.30 Compton Poppy