Confirmation on Thursday that last season’s leading juvenile Too Darn Hot would make a quick reappearance, following his seasonal debut at York in the Dante Stakes (10f) just over a week ago, at the Curragh tomorrow. John Gosden’s colt is one of 14 declarations for the Irish 2000 Guineas back at a mile and is 13/8 second favourite with BetVictor behind Newmarket Guineas winner Magna Grecia who heads the market at 11/8.
The Listed Cocked Hat Stakes is the Goodwood feature and Mark Johnston’s Persian Moon sets the standard having finished third in both starts so far this term including at Gp 3 level in Sandown’s Classic trial on his reappearance. That said he could hardly be described as being progressive and I would be disappointed there was not something in the field good enough to lower his colours.
A market move for Alfaatik would be interesting given he got going all too late on his reappearance behind Persian Moon (10f) at Sandown. He wore blinkers on that occasion, but the headgear is dispensed with this afternoon and today’s additional furlong will suit.
Private Secretary did us a favour when landing a Sandown Handicap on the same card that Persian Moon and Alfaatik met although his winning time was a couple of seconds slower than that of fluent winner Bangkok who is a leading fancy for the Derby next weekend. The colt is drawn out wide in stall 7 – of seven – and would be receiving 9lbs from the Johnston runner is this were a handicap.
He must go well but I remember thinking Godolphin’s Space Blues was a steering job at Nottingham at the end of last month only to be run out of it by the imposing Fifth Position (3.30) representing Roger Varian. I am still kicking myself for not having the courage of my convictions and following Space Blues at York earlier in the month when he landed one of the gambles of the season back over 7f. The colt has only his third start today as he steps up in grade and trip – by three furlongs – but he gets the vote.
Pennywhistle (2.55) is another Gosden/Dettori representative that I feel has a major chance this afternoon. The filly stumbled coming out of the stalls when runner up at Chelmsford on her reappearance and is taken to go one better from a 2lbs higher mark. Al Messila is 2lbs “well-in” having been raised that amount for finishing second at HQ last Friday, but the winner ran a stinker at Nottingham trying a quick follow up earlier in the week.
Rydan (4.40) is 6lbs higher than when scoring here over 1m 6f earlier in the month and today’s additional quarter of a mile holds no terrors for Gary Moore’s 8-y-old who is 6lbs lower on turf than he is on the all-weather. Tom Queally takes the ride and Frankel’s former jockey rode his first winner of the year at Brighton earlier in the year. Let’s hope he is back in the winner’s enclosure this afternoon.
There is a good card at Haydock and their 6f Novice event is invariably won by a decent juvenile and today should be no exception. Charlie Appleby has his two-year-olds well forward and his Visible Charm is a half-brother to 5 winners and cost Godolphin 575,000gns at last month’s Tattersalls Breeze-Up Sales. He will get further in time, but he obviously impressed Sheikh Mohammed who was in attendance at Newmarket.
Marginal preference, however, goes to Varian’s Pierre Lapin (2.40) who cost 140,000gns as a yearling and is a half-brother to the enigmatic but supremely talented Harry Angel. It would be no surprise if the winner of today’s race was a major player in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.
Appleby saddles Sacred Dance (3.55) in the Fillies’ Novice event and it also looks a fascinating contest with eight of the nine runners making their racecourse debuts. Byzantia is from the first crop of Golden Horn and races in the same Oppenheimer colours. There is plenty of speed on the distaff side and it will be fascinating what the market makes of this daughter to the brilliant Derby/Arc winner of 2015.
At Worcester this evening I hope to see Darcy Ward (6.40) jump his rivals into submission after a couple of fluent chase wins at Exeter for Jack Barber. The 6-y-old must show he is as effective going left-handed, is 6lbs higher in the weights and may not get a soft lead with Junction Fourteen in the 4-runner field, but I feel the selection remains open to further improvement on good summer jumping ground.
Sunset Showdown (7.40) is a winner without a penalty in the 2m 7f Novice Hurdle having been clear when jinking left and unshipping Aidan Coleman at Ludlow earlier in the month. Compensation should await this evening with connections fitting first-time cheek-pieces.
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