This could prove to be the race of the meeting with Caravaggio, Blue Point and Harry Angel all signalling that they have the raw talent to go to the top in the sprinting division.
CARAVAGGIO (EVENS Bet365, Paddy Power, Stan James) was being touted as one of Aidan O’Brien’s best two year olds last season even before he’d set foot on a racecourse. Although somewhat over-shadowed in the end by his stablemate Churchill he nevertheless lived up to his billing as a star by taking the Coventry here and following up in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
He started this campaign with a very easy win at Naas. He remains unbeaten and has won all his races with some ease and is impossible to oppose.
Harry Angel raised a few eyebrows when romping away with the Sandy Lane Stakes. He’d been beaten by Blue Point the time before but the Godolphin runner was in receipt of 4lbs and I think Harry Angel will reverse the form here. I always listen when Clive Cox is bullish about one and he really likes this horse But Caravaggio will provide the sternest test by some way that Harry Angel has faced and I think the O’Brien horse may be out of the very top drawer.
Blue Point is a horse I like but he seems to be just that little bit short in top company
Wesley Ward has been making encouraging noises about Bound For Nowhere who has run twice and won twice. Wesley Ward knows what it takes to produce them for this meeting but this is a step into the unknown against some genuine Group 1 calibre individuals and it’d be a surprise to me if he’s good enough.
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Stoute, Johnston and O’Brien have monopolised this in recent times. This year there is no Stoute runner but Johnston and O’Brien are represented by several of the leading candidates.
Time To Study is one of those Johnston horses who could be dangerous to overlook once they hit form. He won the Edinburgh Cup over 1m 6f at Musselburgh last time. Johnston is adept at developing this type of horse to progress with racing and he can run well although I’m not quite sure he’ll prove as good as Johnston’s previous winners of this and the price looks short enough in a competitive affair.
O’Brien runs two. Belgravia is favoured in the betting and is superbly bred, by Galileo out of a good Kingmambo mare and half brother to both Duke Of Marmalade and Derby winner Ruler Of The World. He is not as good, yet, as either of those pair but could improve lots for the step up to two miles. He was fourth in the Listed Yeats Stakes at Navan, after meeting a little trouble in running (held at the time). He’ll need more than that here but is very capable of improving.
Wisconsin who has only run twice but took a Tipperary maiden just twelve days after his debut. He’s not as certain to enjoy the step up in trip as his stable-mate but is certainly open to as much improvement. He’ll need to find quite a bit on form though.
Of the others, Stradivarius was touted in the Spring as a good horse and won his maiden in good style, albeit off a mark of only 78. He was beaten at Chester next time off a 12lb higher mark but was probably beaten by a decent horse that day and I wouldn’t write him off at 12/1.
Anything Dermot Weld brings here is worthy of attention but Haripour has plenty to find and may not have the same scope for improvement as the O’Brien pair.
A tricky race with the winner likely to be a horse who leaves his form behind over this longer trip. I think BELGRAVIA (11/2 Hills, Bet365, Boylesports), on basis of pedigree, is the one most likely to do that.
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