The ground was given as good to soft at Newbury on Friday morning with further showers forecast ahead of today’s Lockinge Stakes the track’s sole Group 1 of the flat season. Palace Pier looked better than ever when scoring at Sandown on his reappearance, but he makes little appeal from a betting medium and there is little guaranteed pace in the race which is a concern. I have always thought he would get further than a mile and am looking forward to the prospect of him stepping up to 10f later in the year.
Of more interest from a betting perspective is the BetVictor sponsored London Gold Cup and I hope to see King Frankel (3.00) build on his facile win in a three-runner race at Pontefract last time dropping back to ten furlongs. The ew selection – 13/2 with Boylesports – had previously been brushed aside by Trawlerman over an additional quarter of a mile and, while the winner disappointed at Sandown last time, I am convinced that was not his running as he was slowly away and given a very ordinary ride.
Trainer Mark Johnston won the race back in 2018 – no running in 2020 – and this is a race that is invariably won by a lightly raced progressive sort. The selection has bits of juvenile form which suggest he could be well treated from a mark of 82 and any further rain should suit this Frankel colt.
The ground was considered too quick at York midweek for connections of King Ottokar (4.45), but I hope to see the forecast rain arrive for the Charlie Fellowes-trained 5-y-old who has been dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper since disappointing on fast ground in the Lincoln. Oisin Murphy takes over in the plate for the first time and he gets the each way vote ahead of Blue Mist who had a wind operation in March ahead of his seasonal reappearance. There was 6s available with William Hill on Thursday but he was backed off the boards into 6/4 on Friday but is back out to 3s with BetVictor at the time of posting.
At Newmarket Fancy Man (2.05) travelled like the best horse in the race in the Chester Vase earlier in the month but did not get home over that extended 12f and he is a confident selection – 2s with MansionBet – in the listed Fairway Stakes despite carrying a 4lbs for his facile Haydock win over a mile on soft ground last season.
The beautifully bred John Leeper heads the market after his facile Newcastle win in a decent time on his reappearance and Ed Dunlop’s colt is as short as 16s for the Derby. He is potentially very smart but must improve again to beat the Hannon colt despite receiving weight from the selection.
Jumby (3.15) may need another furlong to be seen at his very best but I thought he would have gone very close with a clear passage over C&D on his reappearance and he gets the vote in the 3-y-o sprint handicap for Eve Johnson Houghton and William Buick. The pair combined successfully with HMS President at Windsor on Monday and I will be disappointed if they do not go very close granted a clear passage. The selection is 3/1 with 10Bet.
At Doncaster Invite (7.05) is 3lbs higher than when runner up at Windsor on her reappearance when beaten a length by Save A Forest who franked the form when runner up in the Lingfield Oaks trial last weekend. John Egan takes over in the saddle for Marco Botti who could certainly do with a winner. It is the jockey’s only mount of the evening on the 13/2 shot who gets the each way vote.