Good ground forecast at Salisbury for the first day of their two-day August meeting – one of the highlights of their season.

The feature contest is the listed Upavon Stakes for fillies and mares over a trip just shy of ten furlongs. Lady Hayes finished runner up in the Group 2 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock last month and the winner – Alpinista – has subsequently followed up in Group 1 company in Germany at the weekend. That excellent run was gained on soft ground over an additional quarter of a mile, however, and she may lack the pace back on decent ground and down in trip.

Lilac Road (4.15) has been off the track the best part of seven weeks since finishing last at Newcastle on their tapeta surface last time. It is better to judge the filly on her previous half length defeat at the hands of Godolphin’s Creative Flair at Newbury in this grade back in June. The filly looks sure to be freshened up by William Haggas during her break and, if the ground is genuinely no worse than good, she can run a big race under the excellent Tom Marquand.

Three-year-olds have won three of the last four renewals of the race and I would be surprised if they did not again hold sway today. Technique – fourth in the Nassau last time – looks a big danger. The ew recommendation is 15/2 with Boylesports.

I am looking forward to seeing Dartington step up to 10f for the first time this season having been readily brushed aside over a mile at Nottingham last time when he gave every indication that he was worth another try at 10f. Oisin Murphy takes over in the saddle for the first time and he looks sure to go close but I feel there are at least a couple of 3-y-olds who might improve past the Marcus Tregoning-trained gelding.

Modestus (4.50) is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time on his handicap debut and, after just three career starts, is open to significant improvement with Ryan Moore a significant jockey booking. The colt – 11/4 with 10Bet – has gone off no bigger than 5/1 in three maidens over 10/12f so he must show some ability at home, and he is certainly bred to win races given he is out of the Group 1 winner Passage Of Time.  

At Beverley Mark Johnston’s Shadwell owned gelding Sibaaq has a course record of 113 and it is possible that his defeat could be put down to soft ground rather than having reached the ceiling of his ability. He is 4lbs higher this afternoon than for that loss, however, and he will certainly not get a soft lead today despite the plum draw in stall one.

Ugo Gregory has been in tremendous form of late and is 2lbs “well-in” following his second at Musselburgh on Friday. He is another course specialist, but I am hopeful that Proud Archi (4.00) can overcome a poor draw in stall nine and reward each way support.

The ew selection – 15/2 with BetVictor – is another Beverley specialist having scored four times over C&D and I think he will have the race run to suit given there appears plenty of pace in the race. I was impressed with his recent C&D success and, despite a rise of 6lbs in the weights, he can remain competitive. He has won from higher marks in the past.

In the last at Kempton Heath Rise (8.25) can go one better than when second at Windsor last week with William Buick taking over from Jamie Spencer who – lo and behold – gave his mount plenty to do last time. The selection – 11/10 from 6/4 with William Hill – has been raised 3lbs for that effort but that does not come in effect until the weekend.

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