Following the late defection of So You Think Godolphin’s Farhh (3.45) can land the Sandown feature the Coral Eclipse on Saturday having ran a terrific race when stepped up to Group 1 company last time behind So You Think at Royal Ascot.
Farhh was stopped in his run on more than one occasion when third in the Price Of Wales’s Stakes, but he also lost ground when rearing up at the start and there is no question he was at worst second best on the day although it is difficult to imagine he would have troubled the Aidan O’Brien-trained winner. Once again the selection has a poor draw to overcome but the hope is that we get a true run race
Godolphin have suggested the more rain the better for Farhh (5/2 with BetVictor) and, as a son of Pivotal, you can see why but a real slog would certainly help Nathaniel last year’s King George winner who gets further than Saturday’s 10f trip but makes a belated seasonal reappearance at the Esher track. John Gosden who trains Nathaniel has suggested that his four-year-old may be a little rusty and that a repeat win in the King George is his primary mid-summer target.
Note BetVictor will refund losing stakes in the Eclipse if your selection finishes runner up beaten a neck or less up to a maximum of £100. This offer lasts from the 48-hour declaration stage through to post time on Saturday.
Dutch Supreme (1.30) has never raced on turf and has a desperate draw to overcome in stall 15 but there was much to like about his close second in a Kempton handicap last time and, although 4lb higher, can reward each way support. He is likely to be withdrawn if the ground turns soft but he is one to consider in the second half of the season.
Trade Commissioner (2.40) has been raised 12lbs for his latest cosy win at Salisbury but that might not be enough to stop a follow up as long as the ground is no worse than good to soft; he looked a Group horse in waiting last time but connections are persevering down the handicap route at present.
It could be an outstanding day for Gosden as his Starscope (3.10) is hard to oppose in the Listed Fillies’ race given she was runner up in Group 1 company last time; she certainly deserves to get her head in front having previously finished runner up at Newmarket in the 1000 Guineas. This represents a significant drop in class for the filly who should gain a belated first win of her 3-y-old campaign.
The big betting race of the day is the Old Newton Cup at Haydock and favourite Lexis Boy has been given a terrific draw in stall 2 for a front-runner and you can see him going very close to giving the excellent Donald McCain another big race win following his Chester Cup/Northumberland Plate double with Il De Re.
Lexis Boy was a most progressive hurdler at the end of the last jumps campaign, and maintained that progression back on the level when landing the Cumberland Plate at Carlisle last time. Raised 10lbs for what was, ultimately, a facile success he could easily get a soft lead and must go close, but preference is for Parlour Games (3.25) who will love the forecast ease in the ground and ran well on his reappearance at a time when the Godolphin horses were out of sorts. The lightly-raced Cry Fury has attracted support in recent days but Parlour Games can reward each way support.
It is five years since a three-year-old won the Lancashire Oaks, but Salford Art (2.55) can buck that trend after an excellent effort in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last time when finishing with a wet sail to finish an excellent fourth; she looks as if she will get further in time but this looks a good opportunity in receipt of weight from her elders although she has had only 16 days to get over those latest exertions.
The nap is Gabrial The Great (4.35) who failed to land a gamble at the Royal meeting last time but remains, potentially, very well handicapped off his current mark; Jamie Spencer takes over in the saddle and it promises to be a cracking little race with Repeater and the once-raced Proofreader in opposition.