Fast ground at Haydock for today’s seven-race card and the two previous winners in the opening 12f Novice Stakes look vulnerable under their respective penalties.
Princess Nadia shaped with promise over 10f on soft ground at Salisbury on debut and this daughter of Sea The Stars looks sure to appreciate this step up in trip under today’s underfoot conditions. She is a sure-fire future winner but the other filly in the contest Mellow Magic (1.25) is taken to break her duck at the fourth time of asking.
The selection – 7/4 with 10Bet – has finished in the places in all three career starts and finished runner up to Masar’s half-sister Sayyida at Newmarket last time. Regular pilot David Probert has a couple of days off and Ryan Moore, who had another frustrating weekend, takes over on the filly who runs in the famous Mill Reef silks. Do note this is likely to be the fastest ground this daughter of Nathaniel has faced and her ability to handle such conditions is a slight concern.
The 10f handicap is a cracker but the waters are muddied by the lack of pace in the race which is a real concern for Highwaygrey (3.10) who ran a tremendous race in the Zetland Gold Cup last time. Tim Easterby’s progressive 5-y-old had to switch to the back of the field from a poor draw on Teesside and met trouble in running before finishing best of all. He finished half a length behind Chichester who meets the selection on the same terms this afternoon but the latter had the run of the race last time. Under normal circumstances Highwaygrey would be a confident selection, but the prospect of a falsely run race is a real concern for this confirmed hold up performer.The 3s on Tuesday looked about a shade too big but he is a best price of 2/1 with BetVictor on Wednesday morning.
The ten furlong handicap for the classic generation is another belter and I feel Sir Rumi faced a near impossible task at Lingfield last time when readily brushed aside by Alfaadhel. The winner is Group class, and I shall be supporting in whatever race he contests next time but Sir Rumi may struggle to give 9lbs to King Of Tsavo (3.45) who dotted up in a Kempton handicap in a fast time over a mile when last seen back in December. The selection – 5/2 with MansionBet – has been gelded in the interim period but is bred to appreciate today’s step up in distance and trainer Roger Charlton has his team in very good form.
At Yarmouth Critique (3.00) remains a maiden after 13 starts – 11 on the AW – but I hope to see him break his duck with Tom Marquand keeping the ride on Ed Walker’s 4-y-o who was beaten a length at Wolverhampton last time. The selection – 7/2 with Boylesports – has never raced on fast ground with his two turf runs coming on soft, but his half-brother Garbanzo won under similar underfoot conditions and he gets the vote for a stable in fine form with Starman likely to fly the flag for the yard at Royal Ascot next week.
Zuraig improved on his promising debut to score at Windsor over 10f last time and today’s additional furlong will suit at Kempton this evening, but I wonder if he will be able to concede 7lbs to the once raced Frankel colt Moshaawar (6.00). Roger Varian’s grey – 8/13 with William Hill – went into many notebooks when third at Newbury over 7f on his sole juvenile start. It is possible that he will come on for today’s first start in over 220 days, but he is bred to be smart and he gets the vote in what should be a most informative novice contest.