1.50 – Shalaa Carnarvon Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (3yo): If Juliet Capulet is ready to run to her best then she’s be of serious interest and John Gosden has carried all before him so far this season. The form of her fine win in the Rockfel, along with a stiff 6 furlongs at Newbury promising to suit her a lot, and if anything, it’s a surprise that this hasn’t been tried earlier.
This drop back to 6 on fast ground ought to see an improvement from Murillo, who was third in the Coventry last season before not getting the surface he needed, and with his pace making duties fulfilled in the 2,000 Guineas he should take the beating and he edges out Eqtidaar, a half-brother to 2,000 Guineas second Massaat who made a good reappearance at Ascot recently.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Juliet Capulet (8/1 general)
2.25 – Al Rayyan Stakes (Registered As The Aston Park Stakes) (Group 3) (Class 1) (4yo+): The return of Crystal Ocean in the Gordon Richards was very impressive and he’s even better at 12 furlongs, probably his best trip. Defeat would surprise here. Second Step and Raheen House can fight it out for second ahead of Scarlet Dragon and Buildmeupbuttercup.
Advice: No bet.
3.00 – Al Zubarah London Gold Cup Handicap (Class 2) (3yo): The way that He’s Amazing fought so hard to take a first handicap when upped to this trip for the first time at Newmarket was very taking. The runner-up disappointed when favourite next time but he was ahead of Dukhan (reopposes, and wears cheekpieces for the first time today) and that form also gives him the technical beating of Mekong, albeit with the provision that all three really ought to improve again tomorrow and throughout the season.
The favourite was second here over a mile before in a decent maiden, when the reopposing Chief Ironside was two lengths behind before winning a Chester maiden so his claims are strong and he makes each/way appeal.
Masaarr – no, not that one – is a worthy favourite after a Doncaster Mile win which screamed plenty of improvement for stepping up in trip. He was hit with an 8lbs rise from the handicapper for that but really ought to have that much in hand and should take the beating.
Advice: 1 pt each/way He’s Amazing (8/1 general)
3.40 – Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Class 1) (4yo+): A fascinating 16-strong field including nine rivals rated between 115 and 119 and a big step up for Addeybb, although he is the most progressive of them and fancied to arrive at the top table. He was incredibly impressive in the Bet365 Mile when leaving the useful Stormy Antarctic in the dust in a matter of strides, confirming that his Lincoln win was no fluke. He will need to step forward again and handle good to firm ground but there’s no suggestion that he shouldn’t and he appears nearly guaranteed to run his race whilst several others have question marks over them.
The fast ground ought to be suitable for a number of these, but none more so than Lancaster Bomber who is a big contender if the ground stays dry. Last season he was fourth in the 2,000 Guineas, second in the St James’s Palace, then second in both the Woodbine and Breeders’ Cup Mile before finishing a fine fifth in the Hong Kong Vase. He was disappointing on his return at Meydan but all of his stablemates have improved a great deal for their opening runs and he is worth forgiving.
Rhododendron’s Guineas second would give her a decent chance in this but she takes a step back from racing over long trips and appears a bit short, having finished second in the Oaks at one time last year. There’s no doubting her talent but it is a slight surprise to see her here compared to the Tattersalls Gold Cup. An extremely strong gallop is needed for her chances.
Limato is worth another try at this trip, having got no run when last trying it, and he was deeply impressive in the Challenge Stakes when last seen. He should be on the scenes if he’s fit whilst it would be unwise to rule out Beat The Bank on the basis of a poor effort in the QEII when last seen.
Deauville is an honest horse although he’s not run to the level of his third in the Queen Anne Stakes in two runs this year. That said an honest gallop and straight mile should bring out plenty in him and he’s got more speed than War Decree, the last of the O’Brien four.
Librisa Breeze is interesting. A winner over 10 furlongs earlier in his career, he’s blessed with speed as readers will know and perhaps this will suit more than last time. The really interesting of the bigger priced ones is Suedois. He was fourth at the Breeders’ Cup and before that he had previously won the Shadwell Turf Mile in fine style for David O’Meara. He looks genuinely overpriced for those trying to land a shock result.
Zabeel Prince is taking a big step up from listed company and has potential whatever happens although he might find more suitable targets than this.
Lightning Spear, Zonderland, and Alexios Komnenos, are all lightly raced enough but they might be seen to better effect later in the year.
Advice: 1 pt each/way Addeybb (13/2 Paddy Power), 1 pt each/way Lancaster Bomber (12/1 Coral, Bet365)
4.15 – Olympic Glory Conditions Stakes (Plus 10 Race) (Class 2) (2yo): If The Irish Rover had jumped out of the stalls at Ascot he would have won and done so with a degree of comfort. That experience ought to have brought him on a good deal, but he will improve for a sixth furlong at Newbury and on debut, he caught the eye when just behind leading Coventry contender Sergei Prokofiev on debut at Dundalk. Dave Dexter won a maiden here on debut a month ago and was then third at Ascot, but if anything, that was a better effort and he has wanted this sixth furlong since debut.
Barbill impressed when winning a Five Furlong Novice Stakes at Bath whilst it is a vote of confidence from Richard Hannon that he sends It’s the Only Way here after Brighton and Kempton wins. Marie’s Diamond was well on top in the final furlong at Bath when well backed. This much faster ground will be a big change but she’s clearly useful.
So too is Almufti, an interesting newcomer who cost connections 120,000gns as a yearling. The son of Toronado is well related and connections have owned the winner of this for the last two years running, suggestions that he has taken high rank at home.
Advice: 2 pts win The Irish Rover (15/8 general)
4.50 – Haras De Bouquetot Fillies’ Trial Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (3yo): Crystal Hope was dominant at the end of her fine return in a Sandown Novice Stakes, and the second and third home from that race were first and fourth in the Musidora Stakes this week at York, suggesting that the form at the very least is solid. The Musidora didn’t appear to be the strongest renewal beforehand but even then, a basic repeat of that form gives her the beating of this field and she looks really quite promising.
Sea Of Class was plenty green when beaten a neck by Ceilidhs Dream on her Newmarket debut and improvement can be expected although a direct line through Ceilidhs Dream leaves her with a lot of ground to make up on the favourite and attitude issues are also a potential concern.
Stream Song was a game winner of a Windsor handicap on her seasonal return and only her fourth start, and she can improve plenty for that here and Athena, an interesting representative of Ballydoyle, finally gets onto some fast ground too.
Advice: 4 pts win Crystal Hope (11/10 general)
5.25 – Toronado Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105): Pouvoir Magique ended up as a non-runner in the Victoria Cup that Ripp Orf won with such a brilliant ride from Hayley Turner but such is the promise of John Gosden’s charge that he can justify favouritism here. The booking of Ryan Moore on Surrey Hope is notable whilst if Dean Ivory can get the best out of Flaming Spear.
Advice: 1 pt win Pouvoir Magique (7/2 general)