13:50 – Coral Beaten-By-A-Length Free Bet Handicap – 1m4f
This race has gone to the Johnston yard four times in the past decade and they look to have lined up another one here in LUMINOUS LIGHT.
The son of Iffraaj won here on debut 11-months ago and comes into this after a good effort when third at Ripon last time (1m2f). It’s probably no coincidence that the Johnstons have waited until this meeting to step him up to 1m4f and there should be more to come from him.
In my humble opinion there’s no one better at placing their horses than the brilliant William Haggas and he has a very interesting entry in Soulcombe. He didn’t show much in his first three starts but a gelding operation and the fitting of blinkers helped him to leave all that behind, when a soft ground winner at Haydock (11.5f) last month.
He then added an Ascot handicap win (1m4f, good to firm), albeit it without much of a step up on that previous effort. Unexposed, he looks to have solid claims now up another 7lb.
King George V Handicap winner Secret State (1m4f, good to firm) has now won three of his last four starts. A 7lb rise for that Royal Ascot success looks fair and the form is working out well. He is feared.
Others who can’t be ruled out include recent Newmarket scorer Adjuvant (who won for followers of this column) and Zain Nights, who is still improving and landed the odds in first-time cheekpieces at Newbury last time.
14:25 – Whispering Angel Oak Tree Stakes (Group 3) – 7f
Things didn’t work out ideally at Sandown Park in Listed company for HEREDIA (nap) but this is not the time to down tools on the Sandringham Handicap winner.
That Royal Ascot success gave her a record of 4-4 and, at that stage, she had looked highly progressive. A smaller field induced a steadier pace at Sandown and that clearly did not suit her as well as at the Berkshire track.
With 17 declared for this race, she’ll very likely get the tow into the race that she prefers and I’m taking her to get back on track in this Group 3 contest.
The Ed Walker-trained Primo Bacio was third in last month’s Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes (Group 2) at Royal Ascot and her 6l fourth in the Group 1 Falmouth at Newmarket last time suggests that she has serious claims now back at this level.
Soft Whisper returned from a stint in Dubai with a career-best effort when scoring at Ascot (1m, good) in May, in a valuable fillies’ handicap. She didn’t need to be as good when claiming a Listed contest at Chelmsford (7f, AW) last time, when she won with more in hand than the official margin suggested.
With a record of five wins from eight starts in Britain, she is entitled to plenty of respect in this field, as is Oscula, if turned out again quickly, after an excellent effort when a close second to Jumbly in the Group 3 Valiant Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
15:00 – Markel Molecomb Stakes (Group 3) – 5f
The Hannons have won this twice in the past decade and they can make it another success with TRILLIUM, whose Newbury win suggested that she would be up to winning at this level.
It’s still very early days for the daughter of No Nay Never, who was runner up here in a small field maiden (6f, good to firm) on debut, before that impressive 4l win at Newbury (6f, good) recently.
Quite a keen-going sort, she looks likely to have the pace for this and she can make her first run at this level a winning one.
Irish raider Studio City has been on an upward curve since being a beaten favourite on his debut in a Cork maiden in May. A better effort at Navan followed, before he returned there (5f, good to firm) to win easily by 6l last time. His trainer won this race two years ago and this colt is feared.
Walbank romped home at York on his second start and, as favourite, ran well when runner-up in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. He could be even better suited by this track, which favours speedier types and he is on the shortlist.
C&D winner Rocket Rodney has run respectably in Listed grade since that April success and finished second in the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot last month. That race is working out well and that was underlined when the David Loughnane-trained gelding was a comfortable scorer in the Listed Dragon Stakes at Sandown last time. He is a player.
15:35 – Qatar Sussex Stakes (Group 1) – 1m
Officially the best horse on turf on the planet, BAAEED cannot seriously be opposed here, given his and his opponents’ achievements on the racecourse.
Officially 9lb superior to last year’s winner and back-to-form Alcohol Free, the William Haggas-trained colt has a BHA mark of 128, raised 3lb following another magnificent performance when he won the Queen Anne comfortably from Real World last month.
The mathematicians had that down as a better performance than his decisive success in the Lockinge at Newbury prior to that. He probably won’t need to be as good as that to win this with a bit up his sleeve and it will be a disappointment if he is beaten for the first time.
Should that surprise eventuate then Alcohol Free looks likely to be the one to clean up if, for any reason, the favourite is below par.
The Andrew Balding-trained filly had been well below the level of her win in this race last year in five successive starts but came back in fine style when bettering Naval Crown in the July Cup (6f, good to firm) recently and is not taken on lightly.
Order Of Australia was well held by Baaeed in the Queen Anne but then went to the Curragh and produced a career-best when landing the Group 2 Minstrel Stakes, making all there.
He should be involved in the battle for the minors along with Modern Games, who won the French version of the 2,000 Guineas in May (1m, good to soft), before being put in his place by the subsequent Eclipse winner Vadeni in the Prix Du Jockey Club. He is not written off in terms of the forecast now back over a mile.
16:10 – European Breeders Fund EBF Fillies’ Handicap – 1m2f
A dual 1m winner at two, there should be more to come from the Gosden-trained NATASHA, who stepped up on that juvenile form when third in a class 3 fillies’ handicap at Newmarket (1m2f, good to firm) recently.
Conditions will suit this Frankel filly and she looks the one to beat from the same BHA mark of 94.
Sea Speedwell took a modest Kempton fillies’ novice event (1m, AW) last December and made a sizeable step up on that when second to Oriole at Leicester (1m2f, good to firm) on her recent reappearance.
Peripatetic won a fillies’ maiden at Newcastle (1m, AW) last October and has improved on that in both subsequent starts. Although a beaten favourite at Salisbury last time, she blew the start there before coming home well and would surely have finished closer had it not been for being slowly away.
16:45 – British EBF Alice Keppel Fillies’ Conditions Stakes – 5f
It is hard to escape the nature of the win by THE PLATINUM QUEEN at York last time, when the Richard Fahey-trained filly made all with the choke out and still had almost 4l to spare over her field (5f, good to firm).
That was a significant improvement on her previous two efforts and if she can come close to it or improve again she should take a lot of beating.
She was a 66/1 chance in last month’s Queen Mary, when well held, as was All The Time, who was just a 12/1 chance that day, prior to finishing last of the 21 runners.
Star Of Lady M has seen plenty of action thus far and finished well beaten in the Windsor Castle last month. However, she bounced back with an excellent effort when scoring in eyecatching fashion at Musselburgh (5f, good) since then. She is now 4-6 and, although she has the widest stall to overcome, she is hugely respected.
Of the remainder, Cruise looks interesting. Trained by Richard Hannon, she was easy to back on debut at Newmarket’s July Festival, when despite racing keenly, she showed a fair degree of promise in the context of this race. With improvement likely given that experience, it would not surprise if she proved good enough to pick up some prize money.
17:20 – World Pool Handicap – 7f
An interesting handicap to conclude proceedings, with Dance Fever likely to prove popular given some strong handicap performances, including when the runner-up in a Class 3 contest at Doncaster (7f, good to firm) last time.
Wild Lion was a dual All Weather winner (7f/1m) last autumn. He hung badly right-handed when a close third on his recent reappearance at Leicester (7f, good to soft) and back on a sound surface, there could be more to come from him.
Windseeker was below par on being stepped up to 1m at Salisbury last time, when he didn’t appear to get home. The return to 7f should, therefore, be a positive and he is respected from same mark.
The Attorney is another who is also well worth a second look, after going close in a C&D handicap last month and also in a good Newcastle handicap after that. He wasn’t far off that level at Newmarket last time and can’t be discounted.
Stockpyle, will need a bit of improvement if he is to add to wins already this month at Chepstow (7f, good) and Wolverhampton (7f, AW) but the each-way suggestion here is AMOR VINCIT OMNIA.
Apart from one blip when favourite at Haydock (6f, good to firm) last season, he was an improver under the care of Tom Dascombe, winning the last of his four starts for that trainer when back at Haydock over 7f (soft) when last seen in October. That was his handicap debut.
Subsequently gelded, he reappears from a 6lb higher mark and with Ryan Moore up for the first time. He looks a big price at 16/1 given the jockey booking and his potential for improvement and he is a sporting suggestion to bring down the curtain on day two in style.