Good ground forecast at Newbury for this afternoon’s feature meeting with a dry day expected for their seven-race card.
In the listed Washington Singer Stakes Bayside Boy (1.45) is taken to maintain his unbeaten record having created such a favourable impression when scoring by over 3L over C&D on debut. The selection holds Group entries over 7f and a mile later in the season although he may need good or faster ground to be seen at his best.
While Bayside Boy – 13/8 with William Hill – is stepping up in grade Masekela drops down in class having finished runner up in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket last month. That was his first start on fast ground having won a maiden and finished fifth in the Chesham on soft ground previously. The Andrew Balding trained runner has the form in the book, but I was impressed with the debut of the Roger Varian trained colt, and he gets the vote.
A 3lbs penalty is unlikely to stop Hukum in the BetVictor sponsored Geoffrey Freer Stakes but he has been put in a shade of odds on by the books. Of more interest from a betting medium is the 7f handicap. Sunset Bay is on a hat-trick and looked well ahead of the handicapper when scoring at Sandown last time from a 9lbs lower mark. Oisin Murphy has been in the plate for those successes, but he is missing today, and Hollie Doyle takes over.
I am not convinced it was the strongest Novice event ever staged at Doncaster that Aratus (2.55) won last month but he was visually very impressive. The selection – 9/4 with 10Bet – pulled Adam Kirby’s arms out in the first couple of furlongs and had an awkward head carriage, but he came home clear and promises to be more amenable to restraint with that run – his first in 264 days – under his belt. He would be a confident recommendation were it not for the fact that there is no guaranteed pace in the race.
I am slightly surprised to see Al Suhail drop back to 7f in the BetVictor Hungerford Stakes given a mile is his optimum trip and I was looking forward to seeing him reappear in the Celebration Mile at Goodwood later in the month. He should have the race run to suit with Danyah likely to ensure a decent gallop, but he has not raced at the trip since his juvenile days, and he is reluctantly overlooked.
No 3-y-old has landed this Group 2 prize since 2015 but the filly Sacred (3.30) looks sure to be well served by 7f on fast ground having looked a non stayer when beaten less than 5L in the 1000 Guineas when last seen back in the spring.
The selection has been taken out of races at Royal Ascot and Glorious Goodwood on account of soft ground in recent weeks but there should be no excuses this afternoon. Her victory in the 7f Nell Gwyn Stakes at the beginning of the season marked her down as one to follow this term and she gets the each way vote at 15/2 with the sponsors.
Fast ground at Doncaster and the progressive Motawaajed could easily get a soft lead in the 7f handicap, but I hope he sets the race up for Inveigle (3.00) who disappointed at Newmarket last time in a slowly run race. He is better than that and his previous win at Yarmouth from a 6lbs lower mark was a truer reflection of his ability. Callum Shepherd keeps the ride on the each way recommendation – 13/2 with BetVictor.
Stablemate Presentandcounting has come out of the Novices’ handicap chase at Perth, presumably because of the good to soft ground, and that leaves the way clear for Minella Trump (3.20) to break his duck over the larger obstacles.
The selection – 6/4 with William Hill – is a winning pointer who made a promising chase debut when third on heavy ground at Carlisle behind two rivals who are now both rated over a stone higher in the weights. His jumping went to pot in two subsequent runs over the larger obstacles, but he showed his wellbeing when scoring over timber here when last seen back in May. He is not the biggest, but he is athletic, and he might have too much pace for Juge Et Parti who is better over three miles.
At Market Rasen Fitzroy (5.35) has been placed poorly by Ollie Murphy – does not stay three miles – and reverts to hurdles having come down three out when beaten here last month. The selection will be much happier over the smaller obstacles, and he made all over this evening’s C&D back in April. He is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time today.
If Wynford (7.35) is over Thursday’s flat exertions – got up close home to score at Beverley – then he must go well reverting to hurdles. The selection – 3s with 10Bet – won over tonight’s C&D from a 5lbs lower mark last month and he is clearly flourishing under both codes at present.