The Northumberland Plate is the big betting race of the day and connections of Trueshan will be rueing the fact that last week’s rain at Royal Ascot arrived 24 hours too late after they pulled their mudlark out of the Gold Cup on account of Thursday’s fast ground.
The top-weight bids to defy 10st 4lbs – less his jockey’s 5lb claim – this afternoon and seven of the last nine winners of this valuable and prestigious handicap have carried over 9st. Alan King saddled the winner of this corresponding race two years ago and Trueshan is unbeaten on tapeta having won a Novice at Wolverhampton over 12f back in August 2019 when he beat Caravan Of Hope who has not run since landing this race 12 months ago for Hugo Palmer. He must go close.
Australis (3.30) finished second to Caravan Of Hope in this corresponding race last year and he gets the each way vote despite being 10lbs higher this afternoon. The ew selection – 9s with William Hill 6 places – is a different proposition on the all-weather to turf but ran a decent race over an inadequate trip at Epsom over the Derby weekend.
There have been a couple of three-year-old winners of the Group 3 Chipchase Stakes in the last decade and I hope to see Diligent Harry (2.20) land this six furlong sprint for Clive Cox and Hector Crouch. The selection has won three of his four career starts and his sole defeat was by a short head at the hands of Rohaan who landed the Wokingham at the Royal meeting last weekend. The ew selection 10/3 with William Hill – was taken out of the Commonwealth Cup when the ground turned heavy last week, and he is taken to give his yard a welcome winner.
In the consolation race for those balloted out of the Plate East Asia (2.55) has won all three starts on turf since joining the yard of Ian Williams and he can race from a mark 7lbs lower on the all-weather than his current turf mark as a result of some mediocre dirt form when trained in the middle east. There appears no reason why he shouldn’t be as equally effective on tapeta, and he gets the ew vote – 4s with William Hill 4 places – for the admirable Ian Williams. Zeeband who is visored for the first time looks a big danger although his stamina is not guaranteed for this 2m trip.
Hasty Sailor refused to settle when third at Doncaster on his reappearance and this lightly raced polytrack winner must go close from a 2lbs lower mark with that run under his belt. The runner up – Duke Of Condicote – ran a cracker when second at Newbury earlier in the week.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained 4-y-old looks a worthy market leader but my two against the field are The Dancing Poet and Firewater (4.05) with preference for the Richard Fahey-trained 5-y-old who ran a terrific race on his sole previous start over today’s C&D when second to this week’s Carlisle Plate winner Colony Queen 12 months ago. The 9s with BetVictor 4 places looks a fair ew bet.
There was the prospect of light rain at Windsor on Friday and Saturday ahead of today’s card and. in the listed Midsummer Stakes, the more rain the better for Brentford Hope (3.35) who can make the transition to Pattern company if the ground has the word soft in the official description. Regular pilot Jamie Spencer goes to Newcastle to ride Dubious Affair in the Plate and Pat Cosgrave takes over in the saddle. The selection is 11/4 with Boylesports.
At Newmarket, Beheld (1.35) was my selection for the Sandringham at Royal Ascot but missed the race when the ground went against her. Trainer Roger Charlton fits his filly with a first time hood this afternoon and she looks sure to run a big race although I am concerned that she is drawn on the wing in stall one. She likes to race prominently, however, and I hope to see jockey James Doyle in the van throughout although there is likely to be plenty of pace in the race. The 13/8 with MansionBet looks about right.
At Chester I hope to see Royston French make all on Sibaaq (3.20) from his low draw in stall two over seven furlongs. The selection has only won at Beverley’s stiff track, and he is 4lbs higher than when second last time, but the return to good or quicker ground should suit. He is 4lbs better off with Master Zoffany for a 6L defeat he suffered at the hands of that rival at Ripon on good to soft ground over a mile last year, but I believe he can reverse the form this afternoon. The 4s with Boylesports is about right.
There is a cracking summer jumps card at Uttoxeter on Sunday, and I will be disappointed if Starsky (3.00) cannot run a big race in the valuable handicap hurdle. He was well backed on his first start for Dan Skelton at Warwick, and it looked as if he had just joined in when he made his challenge from two out. He has been raised 8lbs for that effort, arguably 15lbs given he was claimer ridden last time, but he still finds himself carrying just 10st 4lbs albeit in what is a much stronger race.
Ray Dawson takes 3lbs off the back of Morooj (4,30) who is taken to go one better than when runner up at Salisbury on good to firm ground on her reappearance. The filly will appreciate this better ground – given as good to soft on Friday morning – and she is bred to be better than her current mark.