In a field that cut up badly on the day, last week’s tip, Intilaaq, was returned at a very disappointing S.P, but you have to say that the manner of his victory was most impressive. He looked as if he might have a fight on his hands at the 2f marker when the very talented Master Craftsman ranged up to him, but asked to go about his business he quickened in striking fashion and soon put the race to bed. He is certainly one to keep on the right side of wherever he goes next, and what a prospect he must be for all the top middle distance races next year.
With honours pretty evenly shared between three and four year olds over the past thirty five years, Hugo Palmer’s well named 3yo Starspangledbanner colt, Home of the Brave, looks very interesting in Newbury’s Gp2 7f contest. Having won the 7f Free Handicap at Newmarket in April, he failed to stay in the 2000gns, finishing sixth to Gleneagles. Dropped back to 6f at Royal Ascot, he didn’t have the pace to cope with the principles, and again finished sixth. Back up to what seems to be his optimum trip of 7f in the Gp3 Minstrel Stakes at the Curragh last time, he was very impressive beating that good yardstick Gordon Lord Byron, by 3 1/2L in a very good time for the conditions. Saturday’s 7f contest looks ideal, and this fast improving colt is shortlisted.
If Henry Candy’s 3yo Tagula gelding Limato sees out the 7f trip he will be a danger to all. Exclusively campaigned at 6f, he has won five of his seven starts, but perhaps his best performance was last time, when finishing second, albeit beaten 3 3/4L, by the triple Gp1 winner Muhaarar. There is plenty of encouragement in his pedigree to suggest that the extra furlong will be within his compass, particularly on the distaff. His 79 rated dam won over 10 furlongs, and is half sister to Votary, who won over 11f, and to Authorization who has won a hurdles race over 19f. He does like top of the ground conditions, so any rain would be a negative.
Classic hopes were entertained when John Gosden’s Richard Pankhurst trotted up at Royal Ascot last year on his second appearance. Put away for the rest of the season, he was reportedly working well in the spring when sustaining a stress fracture, and has been given plenty of time to recover. With positive vibes emanating from the Newmarket gallops, it would be no surprise to see this well bred Ravens Pass colt begin to fulfil his potential. It is worth remembering however that his sire’s offspring invariably like top of the ground conditions, so a waiting brief is advised.
Richard Hannon’s Toormore is more likely to take up his French option this weekend, so the yard will be hoping his half brother, Estidhkaar can bring home the bacon. Beaten only a neck in the 7f Greenham Stakes over the course by the superb, subsequent triple Gp1 winning Muhaarar, in April, he went of a 6/1 shot for the 2000gns but didn’t get home. Reverting to 7f on Saturday, a repeat of his Greenham run would see him in with a serious chance.
Having his first run for nearly five months, Charlie Appleby’s 4yo Dubawi colt Safety Check put up a fine performance when finishing 3rd to Toormore and Dutch Connection at Goodwood a fortnight ago. Giving 4lbs to Toormore, and 11lbs to the runner up, the Appelby colt was only beaten a diminishing 3/4L and a head in this Gp2 contest. Only penalised 2lbs for his Gp2 successes at Meydan and likely to have come on for the Goodwood race, he is another for the short list.
If the ground softens at the weekend, Andrew Balding’s 5yo Danehill Dancer gelding, Here Comes When, would be worth a second look. He won a soft ground Gp2 contest at Headquarters last October in impressive style from another of Saturday’s opponents, Cable Bay, to whom he was conceding 6lbs. He avoids a Gp2 penalty for the Hungerford by just thirteen days, so will meet Cable Bay on 6lbs better terms, and his fourth in the Gp1 Sussex stakes last time out is another definite plus, so keep a weather eye out!
Selection: Safety Check.
EW: Home of the Brave