Flat racing’s golden couple Tom Marquand and Hollie Doyle stole the show at Ascot on Champions Day, but I felt their respective doubles masked what I felt was an underwhelming day with a number of the equine stars on show palpably failing to give their running on desperate ground. At least the Revenant made sure it was a profitable day.
The ground is likely to be soft at Pontefract and in the mile nursery Koul Cat (1.15) is taken to go one better than when runner up at Nottingham last week under similar underfoot conditions. The selection – 9/4 with William Hill – refused to settle on that occasion but still finished his race off well and has now finished in the first two in all four starts in nurseries.
The feature race on the card is the listed Silver Tankard Stakes for juveniles over a mile. The Rosstafarian (1.45) was well on top at the end of his Salisbury debut success. Despite being a son of Starspangledbanner he relished that stiff mile and James Doyle keeps the ride on Hugo Palmer’s colt. The filly Mystery Angel finished third over 10f in the Zetland Stakes last time, but she was beaten the best part of 10 lengths, and I would be surprised if she were good enough. The unbeaten colt is 6/4 from 2s with Boylesports.
Hollie Doyle is likely to try and make all on the progressive stayer Stag Horn in the Phil Bull Conditions Stakes over two-and-a-quarter miles. Archie Watson’s three-year-old has won his last couple up to 2m in handicaps of late and those successes have coincided with the application of cheekpieces. I hope he helps set the race up however for the former Royal Ascot winner Le Grand Visir (2.20) who is lightly raced this term but should have the race run to suit and he is taken to outstay the younger horse. The recommendation is 6/4 at Unibet.
The novices’ handicap chase at Plumpton is a belter and the form of Gateway To Europe’s (3.40) second on chase debut at Fontwell – albeit in a three-runner race – has been franked by the subsequent wins of the first and third. The selection – 5/2 with 10bet from 4s – at is a course winner here over timber and today’s forecast good ground is ideal. Bryony Frost keeps the ride.
Constancio should ensure a decent gallop in the 2m handicap hurdle and that should suit Gary Moore’s Vision Clear (4.10) who is taken to go one better that when runner up here last month. The winner of that race – Get Back Get Back – looked an unlucky loser at Wincanton from a 4lbs higher mark last week and the selection – 11/4 woth Unibet – is only 1lb higher this afternoon. The mare Sorbet remains a maiden after 10 starts but she ran well at Warwick last time and looks the chief threat.
I thought Commit Or Quit (4.40) ran a good race on his chase debut in a better race than todays at Ffos Las when he gave the impression a step up to this extended 3m 1f trip would suit. Charlie Mann’s 5-y-o has the size to cope with his big weight and he faces a number of rivals who are not guaranteed to appreciate today’s distance.
Likely market leader Speedy Cargo jumped well at Cartmel last time and a 5lbs rise is fair, but I do feel there are races to be won with the selection who finished runner up in his sole point in his native Ireland.