Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group1) 6f Royal Ascot Saturday

Trainer Henry Candy has a fine chance landing the spoils for a second consecutive year.

Henry Candy and Ryan Moore teamed up to win this last year with Twilight Son, and they must be entertaining strong hopes of bringing off the double with the talented son of Tagula, Limato, this year. The 5yo started last seasons campaign over a mile at Newbury where he finished fourth. He then returned to his optimum trip of six furlongs in The Group1 July Cup at Newmarket, and he showed what he was capable of. He put up a blinding performance to beat Suedois by 2L, when, taking it up over 1f out, he stormed clear, earning the highest speed rating of any 6f sprinter all season, and leaving four of Saturday’s opponents, Suedois, Washington DC, Magical Memory, and Jungle Cat in his wake. He couldn’t quite get to grips with the speedy Mecca’s Angel in the Group1 5f Nunthorpe Stakes at York, but still put up another very solid performance on the clock when finishing second. He showed what a versatile performer he is when taking the 7f Group1 Prix De La Foret on Arc Day in his next race, but may just have had the one visit to the well too many, when only finishing 6th over a mile at The Breeders Cup in November. He made his seasonal debut nearly five months later in a 6f Meydan Group1, and on ground he wouldn’t have liked, can be excused his poor showing in tenth place. On his two previous course and distance appearances at Ascot, (both on good/firm) he has won a Group3, and finished second in the inaugural running of the Group1 Commonwealth Cup, he’s trained by one of the best handlers of sprinters around, and has the best jockey in the world in the plate, so what’s not to like!

Having won with Society Rock in 2011 James Fanshawe knows what is required and his 5yo, The Tin Man is of definite interest.The son of Equiano made a great start to last year’s campaign winning easily at Windsor and was then sent off a warm order at 7/2 to win last years renewal of the Diamond Jubilee, but could only finish a disappointing eighth. However he subsequently proved the form all wrong by winning his next race, a Newbury Group3, finishing second to the outstanding filly, Quiet Reflection, in Haydock’s Group1 Sprint, and finally, taking the Group1 Champion Sprint over course and distance in October. He made a satisfactory reappearance in a York Group2 where he had to carry a 5lbs penalty for his Group1 success finishing 5th to Saturday’s opponent Tasleet, who had the benefit of a previous outing. While The Tin Man acts on a good/firm surface, (has won three times on it) the suspicion lingers that he prefers softer and is worth particular consideration if there is any rain.

Despite a tardy start in last year’s contest the Charlie Hills trained Magical Memory ran a great race to finish fourth, only 1/2L behind the winner on good/soft ground, and indeed, some observers feel that had he been held onto a little longer might have gone very close to winning. The rest of his season went the wrong way but this impressive winner of The Stewards Cup as a 3yo and the winner of two consecutive group races last year, made an encouraging start to this campaign when finishing second to Tasleet in a York Group2 thirty eight days ago on soft ground. Well suited by a good/firm surface, it looks as if he will have his optimum conditions on Saturday and is one for the shortlist.

Tasleet’s win in that York Group2 was achieved purely on merit in a decent time for the conditions, and represented a step up on any of his previous form. The son of Showcasing is clearly progressive but does seem to need some cut to perform to his best so is another who would like to see the heavens open.

The French have never won the race but have a live contender this year with the 6yo The Right Man. A winner of nine of his seventeen starts he put up the best performance of his career last time when winning a Meydan Group1 where he had Long on Value, Jungle Cat, Washington DC, Limato and Finsbury Square behind. A repeat performance would certainly put the son of Lope De Vega in Saturday’s picture but he is yet another who seems to enjoy some give underfoot.
Selection : Limato

E.W. : Magical Memory

John Gray

32Red Sprint Cup Betting Tips

 

32Red Sprint Cup Betting Tips

The Charlie Hills trained 4yo gelding, Magical Memory is the Oddsguru’s selection for Saturday.

32Red Sprint Cup Stakes Group1 6f Haydock Saturday – First run in 1966, it was promoted to Group 1 status in 1988, and having bagged nine of the intervening twenty seven renewals, the classic generation have certainly had their fair share of the spoils. They are strongly represented again this year by the three fillies, Dancing Star, Only Mine, and Quiet Reflection. Henry Candy has been the most successful handler with two winners, the 7yo Markab in 2010, and last year with the 3yo, Twilight Son. It hasn’t been a great contest for the Irish with Tom Hogan’s, Gordon Lord Byron in 2013, being their sole winner since Vincent O’Brien collected with Abergwaun in 1972.

The Candy yard runs two with leading chances, last year’s victor, Twilight Son, and the hugely impressive winner of the Group1 6f July Stakes, Limato. This 4yo gelding cruised home over Newmarket’s 6f but couldn’t cope with the speedy Mecca’s Angel when dropped back to 5f in York’s Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes last time. However there was no disgrace in coming second and if he gets his “must have” fast conditions at the weekend will be hard to beat. If the ground softens Twilight Son will be the preferred candidate, and this 4yo colt has strong credentials. Having won this last year by a Shd from Strath Burn, he went on to further Group1 glory when taking the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal Meeting in a Blanket finish, with Saturday’s opponent Magical Memory less than 1/2L further back in 4th. Back on fast ground in the July Cup he finished a disappointing 14th behind stable companion Limato, but given his preferred easy surface at the weekend he could quite possibly add another Group1 to his already burgeoning C.V. enhancing further, his already attractiveness, as a future stallion.

The Charlie Hills trained 4yo gelding, Magical Memory finished third, less than a length behind Twilight Son in this last year, and made a great start to this season, winning the Group 3 Abernant Stakes, and the Group2 Duke of York Stakes in his first two races. He looked a tad unlucky when finishing a close 4th in the Diamond Jubilee, and again didn’t get the best of runs when finishing 7th in the July Cup. A slight setback has given him an enforced eight week holiday, a break from which his trainer thinks he has definitely benefited, and if this impressive winner of last years Stewards Cup turns up with his A game he is going to trouble them all.

This year’s winner of the Goodwood cavalry charge, the3yo filly Dancing Star, also came home in great style and looked a group class filly in the making. However she did have the best of the draw in the Stewards Cup and it remains to be seen how she will cope in this her first run at the top level.

The other 3yo filly Quiet Reflection has already run in two Group 1s, winning the first of them, the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting, and finishing 3rd last time, in the July Cup. This was a particularly meritorious effort as the suspicion lingers that she wasn’t well suited by that her first run on fast ground so if the rain arrives she will make them all go.

The 4yo gelding Strath Burn nearly caused an upset in this last year when going down by a Shd at odds of 33/1. Having disappointed in his next three runs he moved from Charlie Hills to sprint maestro Robert Cowell. His first run for his new yard was disappointing but he showed rather more last time, when a running on 3rd behind veteran, Kingsgate Native over an inadequate 5f. Substantial further progress is required but Cowell may be the man to find it and that blinding performance in last year’s renewal on his only course appearance makes him one to consider.

Four of the last 12 winners of this came from the Group1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deuville and this year’s race saw the Richard Fahey trained Donjuan Triumphant finish 2nd with David O’Meara’s 5yo gelding Suedois a couple of necks further back in 4th. The O’Meara horse had previously run a great race to finish second in The July Cup And meets Donjuan Triumphant on 4lbs better terms. Close up behind Twilight Son in the Diamond Jubilee and only 1/2L behind Magical Memory in the Duke of York he doesn’t have a lot to find and it wouldn’t be a great surprise if his talented trainer found it.

Selection: Magical Memory

E.W.  :  Suedois

Darley July Cup Betting Tips

Darley July Cup Betting Tips

Darley July Cup Group1 6f Newmarket Saturday – Nine 3yo’s have lifted the July Cup since 1990 and two of this year’s classic generation have the potential to make it ten. Of serious interest are the Aidan O’Brien trained Air Force Blue, and Karl Burke’s flying filly, Quiet Reflection. The former, winner of three Group1 races at two (one at 6f), ended the season as the top rated 2yo, but so far this season has been disappointing. He was sent off the 4/5 favourite for the 2000gns but trailed in second last, 15L behind the winner, and did even worse in the Irish equivalent finishing nearly 20L out the back. However plenty of winners of the July Cup in the 1970s and 1980s, having failed to stay the mile, found their true metier in the sprinting game, and indeed two of Aidan’s previous three winners, Stravinsky 1999 and Mozart 2001, fit this profile. By War Front, Air Force Blue needs good ground, so with the forecast for a dry weekend, he is well worth considering.

Karl Burke’s daughter of Showcasing, Quiet Reflection, changed hands as a 2yo for £44,000, and having banked over £400,000  from her six victories, including two Group3s, a Group2, and last time, that scintillating win in the Group1 Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting, she has proved a rare bargain. Always travelling comfortably within herself, she quickened impressively inside the final furlong to win in the style of a really high class filly. Two slight reservations about her prospects on Saturday would be, that she seems to need a little ease in the ground and secondly, that no 3yo filly has won since Habibti in 1983. However Burke’s filly looks a really exceptional animal and given any cut in the ground has to be on the short list.

Clive Cox has supplemented his Kings Stand winner, Profitable, (tipped by Oddsguru) at a cost of £40,000 for Saturday’s contest, and if getting the extra furlong, the son of Invincible Spirit would be a danger to all. He certainly wasn’t stopping at Ascot, and considering his shrewd trainers decision to spend connections cash so lavishly, they must be pretty confident that the tough Profitable will last home. However the stats are against him as no winner of the Kings Stand has doubled up in the last twenty years and winning form at the trip has been a must.(The Cox horse was unplaced in his only attempt at 6f).

Since 1970, thirteen winners have come from the 6f Diamond Jubilee Stakes and the winner, fourth and fifth of this year’s renewal are of definite interest. The winner, Henry Candy’s 4yo colt Twilight Son won on merit, turning around  4 1/2L deficit on previous York running with Magical Memory, but he did have conditions to suit. Soft ground is ideal and with the barometer rising may find the going too fast. However this winner of six of his eight races, two at the top level, is clearly improving at a rate of knots, and does have a victory on Gd/Fm over 6f at Headquarters, (Rowley) on his c.v.

Fourth in the Diamond Jubilee, Magical Memory was less than 1/2L behind Twilight son on the unsuitably sticky surface, and as he also wasn’t the recipient of one of Frankie Dettori’s better rides, hopes are high, that given good ground, placings can be reversed. He showed he can handle the undulations of the course when taking the valuable 3yo handicap on the card last year, so a repeat of his excellent York performance when beating Suedois and Danzeno should see him go close.

Another who will appreciate faster conditions is Henry Candy’s second string, Limato.

This 4yo gelding returns to 6f for the first time since finishing second in last year’s Group1 Commonwealth Cup and is actually rated 2lbs higher than Twilight Son. There has been plenty of interest in the him in the market so given fast ground must be worth considering.

Cotai Glory took everyone by surprise when running such a fine race in the Kings Stand on what was considered unsuitably soft ground. A 33/1 shot, he closed over 1f out and ran on strongly to get within a neck of Profitable. He has only raced over 6f twice, finishing second to Limato in a listed race at Newbury as a 2yo. Hailing from the same yard as Magical Memory, trainer Hills is quite bullish about his prospects, noting how well he was staying on all the way up the hill at Ascot. Given fast ground at the weekend, another to consider!

Selection:  Magical Memory

E.W. : Cotai Glory

Diamond Jubilee Stakes Betting Tips

The Diamond Jubilee Stakes 6f Group 1 Royal Ascot Saturday – What a good ride Adam Kirby gave Oddsguru’s selection, Profitable, in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes. Always travelling supremely well within himself, the 4/1 winner was the last to come off the bridle. However Adam had to get down to some serious riding inside the final furlong as the son of Invincible Spirit had to battle hard in the testing conditions. A tearful Kirby was hugely complimentary about the horse afterwards and he could well end the season as champion sprinter. The performance of the 33/1 runner up, Cotai Glory, must have come as a pleasant surprise to trainer Charlie Hills who always thought the horse needed fast conditions, and will surely have boosted his confidence that another of his top sprinters, Magical Memory will get his head in front where it matters in Saturday’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

The 4yo gelding by Zebedee has won won six of his fifteen starts and has shown a most progressive profile. He won his first handicap (May 2015) off a mark of 87 and three months later saw him winning a very competitive Goodwood affair off 102. Thrown in at the deep end the following month, he ran a great race in a Group 1 at Haydock. Starting at 14/1 he belied those odds when finishing third, beaten a short head and three quarters of a length by Twilight Son and stablemate, Strath Burn. Put away for the season he made a winning reappearance in a Group 3 at Headquarters with Dettori in the plate (Gd/Sft) in April, and followed up in a Group 2 at York twenty five days later. He had his Haydock conquerer, Twilight Son, 4 1/2L back in fifth and if we can believe the form, the Hills horse has taken a major step forward over the Winter. Magical Memory can handle most conditions and with Frankie again taking the ride he looks a worthy favourite.

James Fanshawe runs his 4yo gelding, The Tin Man, and is another who has made serious progress from the ranks of handicap sprinters. Rated only 79 last July, he hosed up in a course and distance handicap off a mark of 91 in October and connections were so impressed they supplemented him for the Group1 Champions Sprint fifteen days later. They retrieved their late entry fee when he finished fourth, 3 3/4L behind the impressive winner Mukaarar. Twilight Son was 1 3/4L in front of him in second and The Tin Man does seem to have it all to do to reverse the form. However it’s worth noting that this very lightly raced animal is a half brother, (by Compton Place) to his trainers Wokingham, and Group1 Champions sprint winner (2011) Deacon Blues, and we are very unlikely to have seen the best of him yet. There was certainly plenty to like about his reappearance win at Windsor twenty four days ago when he had Strath Burn three lengths back in fourth.

Last year’s winner, the US trained 6yo gelding, Undrafted, has had a very quiet twelve months since his victory, and has clearly been trained with a repeat on the Royal stage in mind. On only his third outing since Ascot he showed his wellbeing when taking a Grade2 at Keenland (April 9th) but the concern for him must surely be the ground as all his turf victories have been gained when the word firm has been in the going description. Unless there is a dramatic improvement in conditions at the Berkshire venue he is hard to fancy.

Already a Group 1 winner, and in view of his fine second over course and distance in last years Champions Sprint, Henry Candy’s 4yo son of Kyllachy, Twilight Son has to enter calculations. His reappearance run behind Magical Memory in that Group2 at York was perfectly respectable, but the fact remains that he has 4 1/2L to find on the winner, so perhaps the Candy yard has a better chance with their other 4yo, Limato. Always held in very high regard, he was sent off the 3/1 favourite for the 1m Group1 Lockinge Stakes in May but didn’t seem to get home. He did win a slowly run Group2 7f race at Doncaster but it’s worth remembering that five of his six victories have been achieved over 6f, (including a course and distance win), so the drop back in trip may well suit. If the ground improves to good by the weekend he would be worth considering.

The prize money in Hong Kong must be phenomenal because the 7yo ex Irish gelding Gold-Fun has managed to accumulate the eye watering sum of £3,721,460 in prize money, despite never winning at the top level. However he has put in plenty of good performances in Group1s, including last time, (May 6) when finishing fourth. Trained in Ireland until 2012 where he won a maiden over the stiff mile at Naas, he may be well suited by Ascot’s testing uphill straight 6f and a reproduction of his close second, (beaten 1/2l) in a Sha-Tin Group 1 last December would make him interesting.

Selection:    Magical Memory

E.W.    :   Gold-Fun

St Leger Stakes 1m6f 132yds Saturday

Aidan O'Brien

Aidan O’Brien’s contender, Order Of St George, wouldn’t have impressed as a potential Leger winner when finishing second to Parish Boy at Leopardstown last October, but has really come into his own as a three year old.

Our E.W. Selection, Magical Memory, certainly belied his odds of 14/1 when finishing third in last week’s Gp1 Sprint Cup at Haydock Park. Always travelling very well within himself, he looked the most likely winner for most of the race, but probably got to the front just too soon. If he goes to Longchamp for the Prix de L’Abbe on Arc day his style of racing would be well suited to the furlong shorter trip, and is one to keep in mind. Saturday’s final English classic, the St Leger provides a test at the other end of the distance spectrum, and looks a fairly open contest.

Aidan O’Brien who has already bagged four St Leger victories (but has someway to go to match the nineteenth century handler, John Scott, who trained an amazing sixteen winners between 1827 and 1862) is triple handed, and all three go there with chances. Interestingly all three are by the outstanding Coolmore stallion, Galileo, and two of them, Bondi Beach and Fields of Athenry, boast an even closer relationship, both being out of Danehill mares. All three have won over 1m6f at either listed or group level so stamina shouldn’t be an issue.

Despite being drawn out with the washing, Fields of Athenry ran a decent race in the Ebor handicap. Drawn 22 and racing off an eye watering mark of 118, he finished a respectable fifth, despite not getting the greatest of rides from his 5lbs claiming pilot. He did have a hard race on the Knavesmire, but a reproduction of the form he showed the previous time he tackled the distance, at Leopardstown in July, when coasting to victory over the useful four year old Silwana would certainly put him firmly in the picture.

A winner of two of his four races, Bondi Beach is showing the benefit of his patient handling by the master of Ballydoyle. Unraced as a 2yo he made his racecourse debut at Leopardstown in May and under a hands and heels ride from Seamie Heffernan, won by a short head from the hot favourite Bantry Bay. He was a slightly unlucky second over 1m4f four weeks later, but upped to 1m6f next time he won a Gp3 by a short head from stable companion Order Of St George. Reverting to 1m4f in the Gp2 Great Voltigeur seven weeks later he looked an unlucky looser. Backed in to 11/4 favourite he was making steady progress over the last three furlongs when taking a bump one hundred and fifty yards out from Storm The Stars, who then carried him continuously to the left. He went down by 1/2L and in the subsequent controversial stewards inquiry, despite the jockey being stood down for three days the Haggas horse was allowed to keep the race. To this observer the best horse was second, and with an extra two and a half furlongs to travel at the weekend has excellent prospects of reversing the placings.

The third O’Brien contender, Order Of St George, wouldn’t have impressed as a potential Leger winner when finishing second to Parish Boy at Leopardstown last October, but has really come into his own as a three year old. On his reappearance, he ran stable companion Bondi Beach, who had the benefit of two previous runs to a shd, and then had little more than an exercise canter when winning at Down Royal four weeks later. On his latest appearance, Gp3 1m6f sft at the Curragh, he looked most impressive, winning by 7L and 8L from Seamoon and Kingfisher. He has clearly thrived since upped in trip and looks the one to beat on Saturday.

Storm The Stars who has accumulated £535,000 in win and place money must be a lovely animal to own. He ran two marvellous races when coming third in The Derby, and second in the Irish Equivalent. He demonstrated his toughness when coming third in a Longchamp Gp1, only seventeen days after his Irish Exertions and showed no signs of tiredness when collecting at York. He is a thoroughly genuine and likeable horse, but has had a very demanding season, and with some stamina doubts on the distaff, is passed over.

The French colt Vengeur Masque is bred to stay all day and ran a decent race last time at Deauville, 1m4 1/2f, finishing 4th. Unless the step up in distance elicits abnormal improvement it’s hard to see him being involved,

Selection: Order Of St George

Danger. : Bondi Beach

Rose of Lancaster Stakes Gp3 1m 2 1/2 f Haydock Saturday

Roger Varian

Roger Varian’s progressive looking Dynaformer colt Intilaaq could well Saturday’s big race at Haydock.

I hope you were on last week’s selection, Magical Memory, the very tidy winner of The Stewards Cup. Returned at 6/1, he was available at the time of writing at a very tasty 14/1, so let’s hope we can keep the ball rolling this week in Saturday’s Rose of Lancaster Stakes.

Three year olds have won fifteen of the twenty eight renewals of this 1m 2 1/2 f contest since its inception in 1986, and Roger Varian’s progressive looking Dynaformer colt Intilaaq could well improve on their record. Having won his maiden at Newbury in April, he disappointed in the 2000gns, finishing fifteenth behind Gleneagles, but came good last time on his first attempt at the distance when winning a listed race at Newbury in very taking fashion. Now stepped up to pattern company for the first time this very well bred colt, (his dam won the French 1000gns) is of definite interest at the weekend. The only caveat would be the weather as his trainer feels that he would be unsuited by anything worse than good, so a waiting brief is advised.

The John Gosden trained Mahsoob is in the same ownership as Intilaaq, and based on his win in the 1m2f Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot off a mark of 106 is of interest. He disappointed last time in the 1m4f Gp2 Prince of Wales stakes at Newmarket when sent off favourite. He clearly didn’t get the trip and finished 6th, 6L behind the subsequent Goodwood Cup winner Big Orange. Returned to his optimum trip, (has won three times over 1m2f) at the weekend he is well worth considering.

Mostly campaigned at shorter, the Rod Millman trained 4yo Master Craftsman, conclusively proved his stamina credentials, when winning the hugely valuable, and highly competitive, John Smith handicap at York. Run over 1m 2 1/2 f he held on bravely to win by a neck, off a mark of 104. The ground at York was good, but he does like to get his toe in, (he won a Gp3 on gd/sft at Chantilly last year) so may well have his ideal conditions on Saturday. Having had a nice break since his York win, he does seem to have a lot in his favour at the weekend and is shortlisted.

In typical Mark Johnston fashion, the tough Fire Fighting’s nose has been kept close to the grindstone for the last two months, but he showed no signs of staleness when running another fine race at Goodwood last week. He was beaten less than 1 1/2L when running on resolutely behind the talented Mount Logan, to whom he was conceding 8lbs (1m2f gd/sft), and although seemingly held on some collateral lines of form, it would be no surprise to see him involved at the business end on Saturday.

Saeed Bin Suroor’s 6yo Clon Brulee ran well in a group3 over an inadequate 1m1f on soft ground at Newmarket last October, where he finished a running on 4th of 13 beaten 3L. He does like an easy surface, and back over a more suitable trip he could get involved.

Sir Michael Stoute, who has won the race three times, is represented by the relatively lightly raced 4yo Munaaser. He had been mostly campaigned at around a mile, but in his last race at Goodwood, one week ago, he looked as if he would be well suited by further. Held up towards the rear in a Cl2 handicap over a mile, he ran on strongly to get within 4 1/2 L of the winner. By the Derby winner New Approach, out of a mare who stayed a mile there is plenty of encouragement in his pedigree to suggest that Saturday’s trip should suit, so coming from this stable is worth keeping an eye on.

Selection : Intilaaq. (if absent : Master Craftsman)

E.W. : Clon Brulee.

Stewards Cup Betting Tips 6f Goodwood Saturday

Magical Memory

Magical Memory is a sprinter going places, and it would be no surprise if he becomes the first of his generation since Danetime in 1997 to lift the cup.

I hope you were on last week’s E.W. selection in the King George V1 and Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Postponed. What a great ride from Andrea Atzeni, undoubtedly one of the most talented pilots riding at the moment. He exploited the Cumani colt’s reserves of stamina and courage to get back up in the shadow of the post and won by the proverbial nose. Speed rather than stamina is the prerequisite for Saturday’s test, and Charlie Hills’ yard which is doing so well with its sprinters this year is the first port of call.

His 4yo Tanzeel, who won with such authority on the Knavesmire last week is of obvious interest with a 6lbs penalty, but is not a definite runner, so perhaps the one to concentrate on is his 3yo Zebedee gelding, Magical Memory. While 3yo winners of the Stewards Cup are something of a rarity in recent years, this can be put down to the paucity of qualifiers in this age group, something that is not a problem for the very progressive Hills 3yo. He was hugely impressive in his last race, a £100,000 Cl2 handicap at Newmarket, which he took in very taking fashion by 2L, earning him a rating of 102, and comfortably qualifying him for Saturday’s contest. Magical Memory is a sprinter going places, and it would be no surprise if he becomes the first of his generation since Danetime in 1997 to lift the cup. One slight caveat would be that all his wins have come on tracks with a stiff uphill finish and it remains to be seen how he copes with Goodwood’s downhill helter skelter course, ( he finished 6th of 12 behind Son of Africa on his only course appearance ). However he seemed to cope well on the Newmarket July course, the early part of which is downhill, so perhaps any concern is misplaced and he is shortlisted.

Roger Charlton has won the race three times, so certainly knows what is required. Two of his three winners have been with 5yo’s, and he is represented by another of that generation, Huntsmans Close on Saturday. Unfortunately he got loose before the Wokingham Stakes, for which he had been strongly fancied, at Royal Ascot, and had to be withdrawn, but did redeem himself a week later when comfortably winning a competitive affair at Windsor. A winner of the Ayr Silver Cup he is very much at home in the hurly burly of these big handicaps and is another for the short list with his nice racing weight of 9st2lbs.

If getting into the race, Peter Chapple-Hyam’s 4yo, Direct Times, would be of considerable interest. Very lightly campaigned, he has only run five times, and has won three of them, last time under Saturday’s pilot, the very promising apprentice Tom Marquand. They easily won a Cl4 Newmarket handicap six weeks ago, carrying the steadier of 9st9lbs. With just 8st2lbs, (including Marquand’s 5lbs claim) on his back, Direct Times will think he’s loose, so although Saturday’s contest represents a huge step up in class, he is seriously considered.

Beaten less than 2L in a class2 5f Ascot handicap last time, and a similar distance in a very competitive 5f heat at the Curragh prior to that, Mike Murphy’s 5yo Discussiontofollow now returns to what is probably his optimum trip in a race that he finished 6th in last year, so is of definite interest.

Richard Fahey’s Tatlisu was backed in to 8/1 for the Wokingham, but disappointed badly, finishing 24th of 25. He ran much better last time off the same Mark (97) as Ascot, finishing 2nd in a Cl2 handicap at Hamilton. Racing off the same mark again at the weekend, and at a course where on his only other appearance he performed well, it would be no surprise at all to see his uber shrewd trainer taking another trophy back to Malton.

Dean Ivory’s 7yo gelding Tropics has been plying his trade at the top level, and indeed went as close to winning in this grade as you can without actually doing so in the July Cup last time. However his rating of 113 gives him a burden of 9st13lbs to carry on Saturday. As no animal, apart from Hoof It, who managed to win with the welter burden of 10st in 2011, has carried more than 9st10lbs in the past thirty seven years, the super game Ivory gelding is reluctantly passed over.

Selection : Magical Memory

E.W. : Huntsmans Close