Antepost favourite Strong Suit was taken out of Goodwood’s Celebration Mile at the 48-hour stage on account of the forecast rain, but there are no doubts about the suitability of the ground for Poet’s Voice (3.20) who was a most impressive winner of the corresponding race last year before going on to lower the colours of Rip Van Winkle in the QEII at Ascot; he faces a daunting task trying to give weight and a beating to the mighty Frankel in his bid to follow up that success in October but this looks a much more realistic target.
If the ground turned up testing expect a much improved show from the Godolphin second string Emerald Commander who didn’t appear to let himself down on fast ground at Salisbury last time. A son of Pivotal he is always going to be seen at his very best when the mud is flying and would hold solid each way claims if conditions deteriorate. Indeed granted good to soft or softer conditions I would suggest a Godolphin 1-2 in the weekend feature.
Regal Realm, runner up in a below par Princess Margaret last time, is likely to go off market leader for the other feature race the Prestige Stakes but her trainer Jeremy Noseda has suggested she would not be risked on soft ground, and the selection is Questing (2.50) who ran away with her sole start when a facile winner of a 7f Newbury maiden. The bare form may not amount to a great deal (2nd has won but others have disappointed) but she is proven at the trip, if not the ground, and trainer John Gosden saddled the unbeaten Sense Of Joy to land the corresponding race back in 2007.
Samitar (2.30) landed the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot last time and connections were mulling over whether to send her to the Curragh on Sunday for the Gp 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes and a meeting with antepost 1000 Guineas favourite Maybe. They have decided to err on the side of the £100,000 sales race at Newmarket where she looks to have outstanding claims with Jamie Spencer once again in the plate. Her Ascot success was gained on good to soft ground and the heavy showers forecast for the July course would hold no terrors.
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Balty Boys was one of any number of animals who failed to cope with the ground at York last week and a line can be drawn through the form. I can also pass on a good word for the unraced Sweet Liberta representing the inform Andrew Balding yard; the filly has been prepared with this race in mind for some time and receives 6lbs from the selection. Check the market for confidence but do keep an eye on her with the future in mind.
Ruby Night was value for more than the winning margin at Newcastle last time and could have been let in lightly, but Richard Hannon’s Amazing Storm (1.55) is improving with his racing and the form of his Windsor maiden could be useful as the runner up Sir Fredlot is considered well above average. One word of caution he appeared not to quite get home over 7f at Goodwood on his penultimate start, but he refused to settle on that occasion and was more amenable to restraint last time.
Hannon must have every chance of landing the listed 6f event courtesy of Monsieur Chevalier runner up in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee back in June and taking a significant drop in class. Fast ground was given as the reason for a very poor effort in the July Cup and if the rains arrive he will be very difficult to beat but that will, of course, be reflected in his price and I would hope that Royal Rock (3.30) could reward each way support for a yard who have been back among the winners of late. The form of his third to Bated Breath at Haydock earlier in the season is excellent and although he has quite a bit to find with the Hannon favourite on Royal Ascot running that is not his form and he could run into a place.
There is a terrific evening card at Windsor including the feature Gp 3 Winter Stakes which sees the British debut of Godolphin’s Prince Bishop who won four on the bounce for Andre Fabre in France on soft ground last year. Last seen when beaten in the richest race in the world the Dubai World Cup it looks as if the Boys In Blue have been waiting for the rains to arrive.
Godolphin have won the race three times in the last nine years and are doubly represented with another French import Simon De Montfort a fascinating contender but the nod, unless the ground turns soft, goes to Sir Henry Cecil’s progressive filly Principal Role (6.40) who put up a career best when third in a slowly run Nassau Stakes last month.
Elusive Pimpernel has the August Stakes at his mercy if he gets the extended 11f trip and the rains stay away but that is a very big if and he must be taken on. Brushing (6.10) has shown little in both starts so far this campaign but is entitled to come on for her run in the Yorkshire Oaks where she ran as well as could be expected. This represents a drop in grade and with two confirmed front-runners in the race in Classic Punch and Opera Gal the section will have something to aim at.
Sud Pacifique (3.05 Beverley) was a big disappointment when backed as if defeat was out of the question last time and is given another chance to confirm the promise of his early season successes at Doncaster and York.
Aidan O’Brien’s Maybe (4.25) should enhance her reputation and classic credentials in the group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday despite being rated 1lb inferior to chief market rival La Colina on official ratings. The latter beat the best of the boys, including Coventry Stakes winner Power, in the Phoenix Stakes last time and she only has a neck to find with the selection on previous Leopardstown form
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