Haydock stage a cracking card on Saturday including the Group 2 Temple Stakes which sees Bated Breath (3.00) run over 5f on fast ground for the first time. It is possible that he will get taken off his feet at the minimum trip but he is a horse who can pull fiercely and it is possible that this sharp test will suit him down to the ground.
Trainer Roger Charlton insists his 5-y-o will come on for the run and that the Golden Jubilee, and a meeting with the brilliant Aussie mare Black Caviar, at Royal Ascot is his main target but I think 5f and fast ground will suit Bated Breath and he can get first run on last year’s winner Sole Power in what promises to be a terrific race.
Gabrial (2.30) has been raised 2lbs for finishing runner up at Chester last time and he is taken to go one better in Haydock’s ultra competitive Betfred Silver Bowl; the selection is a fine stamp of a horse and might be seen to best effect over a straight mile in time but he has a cracking draw in stall 2 and looked one to keep on the right side of last time.
There are any number of dangers with old adversaries Archbishop and Frog Hollow taken to follow the selection home; this is always a race that throws up plenty of future winners and this looks a terrific renewal of one of the most informative 3-y-old mile handicaps in the racing calendar.
The combination of 12f and soft ground found out the lightly-raced Fiorente (2.45) on his reappearance but he can leave that form behind in Goodwood’s 32Red Festival Stakes; the selection has a bit to find with a couple of Saturday’s opponents on official figures but with the Stoute yard beginning to hit top gear Fiorente can improve past them.
Sea Moon (4.25) third in last year’s St Leger makes his eagerly awaited reappearance at the Sussex track and should have far too much for his three rivals; Sea Moon is entered in the Coronation Cup at next weeks Derby meeting but it would appear that Stoute has decided at starting off at a lower level for his 4-y-o campaign.
The nap of the weekend is Saamid (2.35) representing Godolphin at York; the selection looked an unlucky loser at Kempton on his reappearance and he must win if he is to take his chance in next month’s Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot; he will of course only be playing for place money at Ascot as the great Frankel has that race as his next target.
Humbie (3.50 Sunday) was a winner over hurdles at Kelso last time and reverts to fences back at the Borders track on Sunday; the selection is open to further improvement back over fences and he can go close in a hot heat. Ballycolin lost little in defeat at Newcastle last time (winner has gone in again) and is one to consider at a big price but Humbie’s owner Ray Anderson Green suggested after his hurdle win that this chase was the plan and he remains potentially well-handicapped.
It is Guineas’ weekend in Ireland; Saturday’s colts’ race sees Dewhurst winner Parish Hall make his seasonal reappearance with the Derby (14/1 with BetVictor) only a week away. Trained by Jim Bolger the handler has been gushing in his praise of his star 3-y-old but preference is for Newmarket Guineas’ 4th Trumpet Major.
The Hannon runner was impressive in the Craven in a time run much faster than the 2000 Guineas and the return to quicker ground can suit the Hannon colt who is 6/1 at BetVictor.