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Chesham Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (2yo) (2.30): Aidan O’Brien has run 25 juveniles so far this year, a light seeming number for many – and only one of them has won. That horse is September, who was sensationally impressive when given the order to go and win her maiden. That performance alone had the feel of a pattern class run to it, but she could well improve as so many of her yard does and her position at the head of the market is justified. However this race often sees giant leaps forward so don’t be afraid to look for some each/way value here at big prices. Less than two lengths separated Westerland, Hey Gama and Match Make at Leicester on their debuts and given that the latter two didn’t have the advantage of experience that Westerland did, that form could be reversed and both are interesting chances here. Hey Gaman was beaten just a nose by Westerland there whilst Match Maker was a running on third who now gets a stiff 7 furlongs over which to improve and he has been overlooked at 20’s.
The form of Masar’s debut win at Goodwood has been boosted twice since and he is a worthy second favourite and major each way player. Nyaleti also looked useful on his debut although the form of that race hasn’t been as well represented.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Hay Gaman (14/1 general), 1 pt each/way Match Maker (20/1 general)
Wolferton Handicap (Listed Race) (Class 1) (4yo+ 0-110) (1m2f): Khiraat’s super win at Chester is entirely deserving of his 13lbs rise and he can probably be better than his mark still in time, although there are plenty of options in this handicap. William Buick and Charlie Appleby have dominated these races this week and their Kidmenever has strong claims on two smart efforts at Meydan. This is just his third run for Appleby and he can take a step forward again which would give him a serious chance.
So can Central Square, whose third at Newmarket on his return was a promising effort with this in mind. He ended last year progressing and whilst jumping didn’t suit him, he looked worth of a mark of 104 ad a 3lbs rise for his recent effort is fair given that he’s likely to take a step forward for that run and also the return to a track with a stiff finish. That form also looks reasonably strong as well and his best efforts from last year would have him involved. Pacify’s best form from 2016 would give him a serious chance and a midfield run in the Spring Cup should have him spot on although the handicapper could cut him a little more slack. That said, he should go very well.
If Mythical Madness is as happy at this trip than he has been when refinding his best form over a mile the past twice, then he ought to be considered a serious danger. A wide draw is no help for Elbreth but no horse has earned his mark more and he can go very nicely. The best of Aryad’s form entitles him to be involved here but he has not been cut much slack by the handicapper either. This is a tough return for topweight Scarlet Dragon, but he improved relentlessly last year and his victory in the old Rowley Cup was that of a tenacious improver.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Central Square (15/2 general)
Hardwicke Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (4yo+) (1m4f): This is an interesting renewal with plenty of questions over the leading contenders. The biggest of them in terms of the market would appear to be whether Dartmouth wants good fast ground but this is not the rocket like surface of Tuesday and is form on fast ground is more than respectable, including a third in the King George and a second in the Canadian International.
Wings of Desire was second in the King George, a fine step up from his Derby fourth, and he then found the Juddmonte too quick for him. If he’s fit and ready for his returns then he ought to take the world of beating and this ground will be perfect for him. Having developed a lot in a short time last year he could be much better as a 4 year old with a winter on his back and he’s technically got the best form of any in the field.
Idaho was third in the Derby and second in the Irish equivalent last year, but since an unseat in the St Leger things have gone south for him and his return in the Coronation Cup was very lacklustre. However, he holds more potential than most to improve for his return there and if at his classic best then he’d be a major player.
Muntahaa was well beaten in the Leger having gone far too fast early and he’s better than that, but he didn’t have much in hand when winning the John Porter at Newbury (when just ahead of Chemical Charge) and he may be swamped early unless everything goes perfectly for him. He’s a quick ground horse so forget his Yorkshire Cup run.
Dal Harralid was a much improved horse last year and carried it on when he won the Grand Cup Stakes at York, upped to 1m6f. The worry for him now is cutting back in trip and going up in grade. My Dream Boat took the Prince of Wales’s Stakes here last year and didn’t do at all badly since; He stayed on well to be second in the John Porter and Hawkbill didn’t do the form any harm with his Coronation Cup third.
Prize Money isn’t going to find this any easier than the Coronation Cup but Across The Stars could do better than his return. He obviously needed his return behind Hawkbill but he won the King Edwards in good style last year and could go well at a price.
Advice: No bet.
Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+) (6f): Paul Jacobs may have his own theories about what was behind Limato’s poor run at Meydan in the Al Quoz Sprint but the only thing that really matters to Henry Candy’s five year old is the surface underfoot and he has his ideal conditions today. A miler turned sprinter, he was superb in dominating the July Cup last year and then found only the crack speedster Mecca’s Angel too good over York’s lightning fast five furlongs before taking the Prix Foret in similarly easy fashion and when he gets a fast surface he generally reached standard that others in the field would struggle to reach.
One of those who might be able to do so is Tasleet, who returned to sprinting for the first time when smashing the opposition in the Duke of York Stakes. A fine second on his return behind a very good benchmark in Home Of The Brave, he shot clear of Magical Memory, Comicas, Mobsta and The Tin Man to leave them looking like average sprinters that afternoon and whilst he was fit, healthy and chance the ground that day, he was so far superior that his victory cannot be explained solely on that alone and his form figures over 6 furlongs read 411211. He can make a bold bid.
Magical Memory and The Tin Man will both step forward a great deal from those runs and can be in the shakeup, with Magical Memory perhaps the more appealing on this quick ground although it won’t hurt The Tin Man.
Librisa Breeze was remarkably progressive last year over 7 furlongs, taking the International Stakes and then the Tote Challenge Cup, but he didn’t quite cut the ice when he was sixth here on Champions Day and this is a very tough return for all that he might make up into a top class sprinter over 6.
The Right Man won the Al Quoz when Limato was so disappointing, continuing a theme of progression from this time last year to now. Always in the van, the rain that hit Meydan was a huge boost for him although probably not the runner up Long On Value who came just too late on the flat track and who also is a firm ground winner.
This will be the fastest ground that The Right Man has encountered so that form could be reversed today and Long On Value can turn those placings around.
Suedois is not the horse he was last season when placed in three Group 1’s based on three dull efforts this year. This test could bring a lot out of Acclaim, so it would be unwise to look into his Lockinge return too much and he showed a lot of toe to beat Lumiere at the backend of last season in the Challenge Stakes.
Advice: 2 pts win Limato (5/2 general), 1 pt each/way Tasleet (8/1 Coral, Ladbrokes, Bet365)
Wokingham Stakes (Heritage Handicap) (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-110) (5.50): That Outback Traveller managed to get the verdict in last year’s renewal is impressive (not least given what Brando has managed to do since) but Robert Cowell has managed to get him here just 4lbs higher in the weights and he ought to take the beating.
Raucous bumped into a pair of class acts when third in the Stewards’ Cup last season and his return at Windsor in a listed contest bodes very well for him here.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Outback Traveller (8/1 general), 1 pt each/way Raucous (12/1 general)
Queen Alexandra Stakes (Conditions Race) (Class 2) (4yo+) (5.35): A strong staying race to end the week. Thomas Hobson’s stunning win in the Ascot Stakes was predicted by the market although the manner of it was hugely impressive even for a favourite and a repeat of that would ensure that he takes the beating.
His main form rival is Qewy, fourth in the Melbourne Cup and a very high-class dual purpose performer. He was second in the Ascot Stakes last year off the same mark as Thomas Hobson and he also took the Geelong Cup before his fourth at Flemington. Coming from a yard that has already readied long absent horses and with stamina pretty much guaranteed (or at least as far a 2m4f), he holds huge claims.
Chester Cup winner Montaly is another leading form contender whilst Winning Story’s AW form (on a line through Watersmeet, who ran well in the Chester Cup) has him there or thereabouts.
Advice: 2 pts each/way Qewy (6/1 general)
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