Fast ground the order of the day at Sandown where I expect to see Politics (12.35) go one better than when runner up on debut at Pontefract for Andrew Balding. The selection was slowly away from a moderate draw on that occasion, but was well backed, finished his race well and looked a sure-fire future winner.
That is the best form on offer although a market move for Clive Cox’s well-bred newcomer First Edition would be significant given the strength of the stable’s juveniles this term.
Charlie Appleby has saddled the winner of the mile maiden twice in the last three years and he has declared newcomer Symbolic Power (2.35) for this afternoon’s renewal. The Kingman colt – 11/8 at Unibet – cost 2.3m gns as a yearling and is out of a sister to Fame And Glory. Balding’s Recovery Run has finished second in a couple of all-weather contests over 7f and gives the impression this step up in trip will suit for his turf debut. He sets the standard, but the Godolphin newcomer gets the vote in what promises to be an informative contest.
The 3-y-old 10f handicap is the best race on the card and, in the absence of stablemate Nova Roma, the vote goes to John Gosden’s top-weight Enemy (3.30) who did not get the clearest of runs when runner up here last month on his first start over this trip – a 2lbs rise looks fair. The colt had previously finished fourth in the Britannia at Royal Ascot and deserves to get his head in front.
In the 7f fillies handicap the twice-raced Arabic Charm (4.35) drops back in trip having travelled well for a long way when third over a mile at Windsor last time. Jim Crowley takes over in the saddle on the daughter of Exceed And Excel and she is taken to make a bold bid from the front. The ew selection – 11/2 at Boylesports – has the plum draw in stall one.
The ground was described as soft at Cartmel at noon on Thursday and conditions are likely to be quite tacky and holding for today’s card.
Finisk River (12.50) didn’t treat his hurdles with much respect on his rules debut at Bangor-on-Dee last month but he ran a cracking race in third. The selection – well supported into 5/6 with bet365 – finished second in a point-to-point on soft ground and I will be disappointed if he doesn’t run a big race although the drop back in trip is less than ideal. That said I hope to see Brian Hughes make it a true test and run the finishing kick out of the obvious danger Now Children. The latter was rated in the 90s on the level but finished weakly when fifth on his first start for Oliver Greenall. Today’s softer ground is a plus, but I favour the Donald McCain runner.
Tom George has a couple of fascinating runners in the handicap chases including Seddon in the 2m 5f novice handicap. He gave the outside up to nobody at Stratford on his first chase start and it will be interesting to see what the market says about his chances with that run under his belt.
George also saddles Stop The World in the 3m 1f handicap chase and this seven-year-old will have few better opportunities to break his maiden tag. The yard are struggling for winners but have been hitting the bar of late and preference for Rising Marienbard (3.10) is marginal. The selection – 10/3 at Boylesports – has had a wind operation since his last start back in the spring and receives 24lbs – including jockey’s allowance – from the top-weight. The selection is another long-standing maiden although he did win between the flags in his native Ireland.
Neil Mulholland’s Deputy Jones has been all the rage in the opening salvos for the 2m 6f handicap hurdle but I am keen on the hat-trick seeking Talkingpicturestv (4.20) who has won her last couple under Millie Wonnacott and carries a 7lbs penalty for a fluent success at Market Rasen last month. The handicapper has raised her 11lbs for that effort so the selection would be carrying another 4lbs if this race were staged tomorrow.