Roger Varian has asked Sri Putra to trade blows with racing’s middle-distance heavyweights this summer, squaring up to the likes of So You Think and Workforce when third in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown and then running into Rewilding at Royal Ascot. There are no big guns in the line-up here and William Haggas’s improving handicapper Green Destiny, who will appreciate any cut in the ground, could prove the main threat.
In the supporting Dubai Duty Free Handicap run over 1m 2f, Jim Goldie sends MERCHANT OF DUBAI (3.05) on the long haul south hoping for plenty of rain. This season, Merchant Of Dubai hasn’t encountered the soft ground he needs but he hinted that all his latent ability was still intact with an eye-catching run behind Bauer in the Betfred Old Borough Cup at Haydock a fortnight ago.
The Betfred Cesarewitch Trial over the full 2m 2f distance at Newmarket throws up a good bet in John Gosden’s improving three-year-old PALAZZO BIANCO (3.30). He looked an out-and-out stayer when winning at Haydock over 1m 6f and although Goldie sends third-placed Gordonsville down from Scotland with obvious prospects of turning the tables on 13lb better terms, there could be more to come from Palazzo Bianco.
INVINCIBLE HERO (4.40) hacked up under Julie Krone in the celebrity race at Doncaster’s St Leger fixture and an 8lb penalty may not anchor Invincible Hero in his hat-trick attempt, with apprentice Neil Farley taking off 5lb.
At Catterick, AILSA CRAIG (3.45) takes a belated step up to 12 furlongs. Edwin Tuer’s tough mare was slightly disappointing behind Scrapper Smith at Ripon but the winner scored again in game fashion at Ayr on Thursday. Ailsa Craig had earlier won on softer ground at Beverley and deserves another chance.