Soft ground at Newmarket for today’s eight-race card with the ITV (3) cameras in attendance. There is the prospect of further showers during racing.
Saffron Beach is the only unbeaten filly in the line-up for the 7f Oh So Sharp Stakes having scored readily over C&D last month. She was well on top in the end, but those in behind her had only shown a moderate level of form previously and it may not have been a vintage renewal of what is often a good maiden.
Aidan O’Brien has only saddled the winner of this Group 3 juvenile contest once previously and that was fifteen years ago, but I feel Thinking Of You (2.25) can take this for Ballydoyle as long as Ryan Moore makes plenty of use of his American Pharaoh filly who didn’t get the clearest of passages in a similar contest when third at the Curragh last time.
The selection – 3/1 with 10bet – will get further in time, but she can fend off the challenge of Roger Varian’s Nazuna who was no match for Isabella Giles in the Rockfel Stakes last time with Ballydoyle’s Monday a beaten market leader. O’Brien should know where he stands regarding Nazuna.
The feature race is the Gp 1 Fillies’ Mile and there is a strong Irish challenge with Aidan O’Brien doubly represented and his son’s Joseph and Donnacha also having leading claims. Note Ryan Moore rides Shale for Donnacha although on today’s forecast ground, I feel Pretty Gorgeous might be the best of the Irish and reverse Moyglare Stakes form with Shale.
I cannot desert the unbeaten Indigo Girl (2.35) who did us a favour when easily landing the Gp 2 May Hill Stakes at Doncaster last time when she came from last to first under Frankie Dettori. The Italian is unable to take the mount this afternoon having ridden in Paris at the weekend on the filly who is 10/3 with Boylesports. Rab Havlin – who was in the plate at Yarmouth on her debut- takes over in the saddle.
The Old Rowley Cup shortlist is long and the early money has been for Surrey Pride who is 9/2 from 10/1 but is unproven at the trip. My two against the field are Doubling Dice and Brilliant Light (4.10) with preference for the latter who is 5lbs higher for scoring at Sandown last time over 10f when he hinted that a return to this afternoon’s mile-and-a-half would see him in an even better light.The ew recommendation is 8s with William Hill who are betting five places.
A terrific jumps card at Chepstow and in the Veterans’ Chase I feel there are more races to be won with 10-y-old Strong Pursuit (4.55) who is lightly-raced for one of his age and looks well handicapped for his seasonal reappearance. The Hobbs yard have not yet hit their straps this term, but first time out might be the time to catch this inmate who has run well fresh in the past. The ew selection is 7/1 with Boylesports who are betting four places.
Joe Farrell failed to get home in the Midlands National when last seen back in March and finished third in this corresponding race 12 months ago when he was just behind On Tour who is 1lb worse off this afternoon. They are considered big dangers.
Soaring Glory (4.25) has been off the track since finishing runner up in a listed Ascot Bumper back in December. The selection – Evens with Unibet – had won his two previous starts and is a novice hurdler of some potential. I thought he would go off a shade of odds on.
The Fergal O’Brien yard continue to go from strength to strength and I am looking forward to the chase debut of Ask Dillon (5.25) in a Novice Chase that wouldn’t look out of place in one of Cheltenham’s autumn meetings. The selection -m 4s with William Hill – is a winning pointer who has always promised to leave behind his decent hurdles form when he tackles fences. Conor Brace – who takes over in the saddle today – last rode the selection at this corresponding meeting two years ago when he finished runner up to McFabulous in a Bumper.