A terrific card at Haydock Park to dissect with the feature race the Group 1 Sprint Cup over six furlongs. Advertise won the Gp 1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last time and looks to have a favourite’s chance having taken the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot back in June.
Ten Sovereigns was slowly away and never a factor in the 5f Nunthorpe last time when he failed to repeat the blistering speed he showed when winning the July Cup at Newmarket although the drop to the minimum trip clearly didn’t suit. I’m not convinced today’s slow ground will either.
Brando (4.10) is 2lbs better off with Advertise for the neck he was behind the market leader in France last time and at 12/1 with BetVictor he gets the each way vote. The 7-year-old finished runner up in the corresponding race 12 months ago to the Tin Man – who reopposes but has not been in the same form this term – and looked as good as ever at Deauville.
Khaadem looked a Group performer when wining the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood and connections insist he was not at his best when behind Advertise at the Royal meeting. He would have been the selection on good ground.
BetVictor Brand Ambassador Nicola Currie has returned to the saddle in recent days from injury and in the opener, she rides the lightly-raced filly Allemagna who did us a favour at Goodwood last time over two furlongs shorter. She carries just 8st 3lbs today and is open to considerable improvement.
As long as the ground does not dry out too much, however, then Elysian Flame (1.50) gets the each way vote at 15/2 with BetVictor. The selection won over a mile here as a juvenile on heavy ground and has had just the two starts this term winning his latest at Hamilton in the manner of a decent three-year-old. Whatever the outcome today I expect Mick Easterby’s three-year-old to have a good end to the season on soft/heavy ground.
Easterby also saddles Arrowtown returning from a long absence in the Old Borough Cup and a good run from Elysian Flame would be a good omen for this 7-year-old who won his last three last term but is on a career high mark.
Corelli (3.35) has been raised 7lbs without winning so far this season for John Gosden, but he has run some terrific races in defeat and the hope is that he can finally get his head in front. The selection has winning form on soft ground, has a decent draw in stall two and I would be disappointed if he doesn’t run a big race with Frankie Dettori in the saddle. At 6/1 with BetVictor he is another each way recommendation.
There is a hot and valuable 3-y-old handicap over a mile-and-a-half at Ascot and I’m looking forward to seeing the unbeaten Cirque Royal (3.55) have his first start on turf. The each way selection won all three starts on the all-weather earlier in the year and he has been very well supported this week for this Ascot test. He is 9/2 at BetVictor who are betting each way 4 places on the race.
I’m going to give Swindler (4.30) another chance in the 6f handicap having failed to fire after a slow start at Newmarket last time. Ed Walker’s 3-y-old had previously looked potentially smart when scoring over C&D on his seasonal reappearance. Note jockey Louis Steward is riding in Kempton’s opener on board Sun Maiden before hot-footing it across London to Ascot.
In that Kempton opener the Gp 3 September Stakes Best Solution (2.05) has not been seen since finishing eighth in the Melbourne Cup in November. He has a good record fresh, however, and is taken to outclass his rivals even though this looks a prep run for bigger tests to come. The selection doesn’t have the best of the draw in stall nine and has never raced on polytrack, but he is a three-time Group 1 winner and at 9/4 with BetVictor he gets the vote.
I was impressed with the Wolverhampton win of Dubai Souq (3.50) last time and hope he is well-treated on his handicap debut for Saeed bin Suroor. The Godolphin juvenile has no fancy entries but is bred to be smart and he is taken to defy his opening handicap mark.
Despite finishing fourth in the Chesham Stakes (7f) at Royal Ascot back in June I hope to see Sun Power (4.25) improve for the drop back to 6f in the Sirenia Stakes. The juvenile has been too keen in his races of late and this afternoon’s stronger pace is likely to suit.
On Sunday do look out for Passion And Glory (2.20) at York. The colt beat a subsequent winner at Windsor last time and it might be significant that the selection still holds an entry in the St Leger and Cambridgeshire!
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