Saturday’s Newbury feature is the Group 2 Hungerford Stakes and Chachamaidee (3.05) is a confident selection to gain revenge on Irish raider Alanza for a defeat at Doncaster last September; the selection looked as good as ever when landing the Lennox Stakes at Goodwood last time and, although she is 2lbs worse off with runner up Libranno, she is taken to confirm the form.
No surprise to see Supernova Heights (1.30) drop back in trip a furlong (looked a non stayer over 7f at Goodwood last time) having run a race full of promise on debut; unless one of the newcomers is well above average she is taken to make it third time lucky in the opening 6f maiden.
John Gosden has saddled the winner of the 7f Washington Singer Stakes in two of the last three years and his Excess Knowledge (2.00) is given the nod in a wide-open five-runner race despite slight concerns about dropping back in trip having made a successful start over a mile at Sandown.
St Leger winner Masked Marvel should have his optimum conditions for the first time this season in the Geoffrey Freer Stakes but I felt Brown Panther (2.30) ran a terrific race in the King George last time (Masked Marvel behind) and is the recommendation in another top class race. Owned by former England international Michael Owen the colt may have travelled too close to a very strong pace at Ascot and, in the circumstances, ran very well to be beaten only 4l in a vintage renewal.
Sir Michael Stoute has his yard in rude health and, despite a modest draw, Commend (4.55) can land the 10f handicap; I remember seeing the colt back in the spring on the Lingfield polytrack and thought he could make up into a useful sort later in the year. He has been gelded since the spring so connections obviously considered his mind was elsewhere and he is open to further improvement.
Communicator (3.00) is a horse I felt had a big future as a 3-y-old but he has disappointed since and subsequently changed stables. Lightly-raced so far this term he has hinted at a return to form and gets the nod in a hot little contest at Chester as long as there are no flash floods!
Inka Surprise (1.40) is worth a look at in the betting in the Newmarket opener returning from a near four-month absence; he was backed as if he had been showing plenty ahead of his Newbury debut; the Channon filly Strictly Silca has the best form in the book but she has had her chances and is beginning to look exposed.
Trainer Don Cantillon has chances at both Market Rasen (Alpine Breeze) and Green To Gold (3.45) at Perth; jockey Paul Maloney caused a bit of a stir when the Clerk Of The Scales objected to him weighing in light when winning on the grey at Worcester last time. Let’s hope for no such concerns today.
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