A terrific card from Newbury on Saturday with Rougemont (2.30) looking to build on his debut success on the July course for Richard Hannon when he belied odds of 25/1 to win what is historically a hot maiden. I’m hoping it could be a Red-letter day for Hannon who has a strong hand in all the feature races.
Connections nominated the Racing Post Trophy as Rougement’s primary end of term objective in the immediate aftermath of last month’s win and, if Doncaster’s Group 1 contest is a realistic target, he must go close in the listed Washington Singer Stakes although he faces a number of unexposed sorts.
Mark Johnston has trained the winner of the race in two of the last five years and he relies on Leqqaa who had his limitations, seemingly, exposed by Coup De Ville at Leicester last time. Richard Hannon who also saddles Mister Music in today’s contest also has Coup De Ville in his care so he should know where he stands with the Middleham raider.
There is a most competitive renewal of the Geoffrey Freer Stakes and it is impossible to put a line through any of the 11-runners. Brown Panther failed in his bid to make all in the German Derby, but had been very impressive at Royal Ascot previously and his current odds of 14/1 for the Ladbrokes St Leger with would contract dramatically if he landed today’s Group 3 contest.
The same however could be said of Census (3.05 and 12s for the final classic) who was behind Brown Panther at Ascot (3lb better off) and improved again stepped up to this trip in the Bahrain Trophy last time. Having had only six career starts, Census remains open to considerable improvement and he can strike again for the classic generation in an excellent race.
Meeznah was back to her very best at Goodwood last time but that was against her own sex and the best of the older brigade could be John Dunlop’s Times Up with any further rain a plus. The 5-y-o was off the track for a couple of months before going down by a whisker in a Longchamp Group 2 last month. There is no question that he is more effective with plenty of juice in the ground and connections will be hoping that the forecast heavy showers materialise.
I’m not convinced it was Richard Hughes’ finest hour when he finished runner up in the Irish 2000 Guineas on Dubawi Gold (3.40) having occupied the same position in the Newmarket equivalent previously. Given two months off to freshen up after a below par run at Royal Ascot he can head home a 1-2 for the Classic generation with German Guineas winner Excelebration suggested for the forecast. Note Johnny Murtagh replaces Richard Hughes on the selection.
At Newmarket Beverley winner Winter Hill (2.15) could have been let in off a lenient mark in the 6f fillies’ nursery; a beaten short-priced favourite on his first couple of starts Winter Hill was a ready winner at Beverley and has been given the same mark of 69 as runner up First Fast Now despite beating that rival by a length-and-a-half. Leading apprentice Harry Bentley takes off a further 3lbs and First Fast Now finished runner up back at the Humberside track during the week.
The weekend nap runs at Doncaster where Four Nations (5.30) is given one last chance stepped up to the St Leger trip of 1m 6f+ back on a conventional track. Despite being a 10f winner at Goodwood earlier in the season Four Nations appeared ill at ease back at the Sussex track last time and all he did was plod on at the one pace over a mile-and-a-half. His dam won over this trip and he threatens to be well-suited by the step up in distance although this is definitely last chance saloon.
In the opener Rythmic (2.05) is likely to be all the rage to go one better than she did on the July course when runner up to Guineas hopeful Fallen For You. Godolphin have a powerful team of juvenile fillies’ this year and although Rythmic is unlikely to reach the heights of Discourse or Gamilati she should break her maiden tag at the second time of asking.
At Pontefract on Sunday Dever Dream (3.30) is taken to take the listed feature for William Haggas. The filly caught a tarter in the shape of Sir Henry Cecil’s Chachamaidee at Goodwood in a 7f Group 3 last time and connections will be keen to get another Listed win into her after a frustrating season to date.
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