Conditions are drying up all the time at Salisbury and we can expect ground on the fast side of good for today’s feature meeting which is highlighted by the Group 3 Sovereign Stakes over a mile.
There is not much pace in the race which is a concern for Megallan (4.05) who drops back in trip having had no chance from a terrible draw in the French Derby on soft ground last time.
His previous run when beaten less than a length by subsequent dual Group 1 winner Hurricane Lane in the Dante, is the best form on offer but that was over an extended 10f. Palavecino and King Vega have led in the past but if there is not a strong gallop, I hope jockey Rab Havlin goes forward from a good draw in stall four. The 11/4 with Boylesports looks fair.
There is a valuable fillies’ handicap over 12f, and Timeless Soul is a fascinating contender stepped up to this trip for the first time having stayed on strongly over 10f when runner up at Goodwood last time from a 4lbs lower mark. The filly is lightly raced but her best two efforts have come with plenty of cut in the ground.
The vote goes to another lightly raced 3-y-old stepping up in trip Nell Quickly (4.40). The selection was a fluent winner over 10f here last month and a 5lbs rise may not prevent her following up. Her stamina must be taken on trust, and she is not bred to appreciate the trip, but her style of running suggests she will be well served by a-mile-and-a half. The ew recommendation is 9/2 with BetVictor.
Encourage looked ready for a step up in trip when third at Nottingham last month but preference in the concluding 3-y-old handicap is for Stoute’s Zikany (5.10) who has been off the track for a couple of months since finishing a good third at Newbury although he travelled like the best horse in the race. The selection – 5/2 with MansionBet – is 2lb higher this afternoon and Richard Kingscote – who was in the plate when he scored at Windsor on his penultimate start – returns to the saddle.
Six tricky looking handicaps at Lingfield on week three of the Racing League and luck is sure to play its part. In the finale I think Powerful Aggie could be well treated stepping up to 12f for the first time for Joseph O’Brien returning from a three-month lay-off. She has been slowly away on her last couple of starts, however, and cannot afford such a luxury from stall one tonight.
The vote goes to another lightly raced 3-y-old in Onesmoothoperator (8.08) who looked ready for this trip when staying on well over Newcastle’s stiff 10f last time. The colt has only run on tapeta but there is no reason why he should not be as effective on polytrack, and Luke Morris’s mount is well drawn in stall five. There was 6/1 available at the time of posting but he is into 9/2 4 places with William Hill.