Former Talksport man Charlie McCann marks your card with seven to follow on Saturday at Haydock and Newmarket. View selections below
I shall be at Haydock Park on Saturday where BetVictor sponsor the televised card; in the opener Palazzo Bianco (2.05) finished third in the corresponding race last year when trained by John Gosden and can follow up his recent Goodwood success for Brian Ellison. Young apprentice Robert Tart was one of the finds of the all-weather season and has continued his progression this summer; he faces a tough task getting a prominent position from stall fifteen but he can reward each way support. There are a number of dangers including Brockwell who I have always felt would thrive stepped up to 2 miles.
Prussian steps back up in trip to a mile-and-a-half in the Group 3 Pinnacle Stakes and she would be the one to beat if getting home but she looked a non-stayer at Ascot and preference is for Ambivalent (2.40) trained by Roger Varian who has saddled the winner of this corresponding race for the last two years. The selection finished runner up on her reappearance at York behind a decent French-trained filly giving every indication she would improve again for the step back up in trip.
Last year’s winner Pastoral Player (3.15) can follow up in the John Of Gaunt Stakes having ran well on ground softer than ideal here last month. Monsieur Chevalier is interesting dropping back from a mile, and the booking of Kieren Fallon certainly catches the eye, but the Hughie Morrison-trained gelding will love the ground and has a potent turn of foot at his best.
Professor (11/4 at BetVictor) is likely to be all the rage for Richard Hannon in the Sandy Lane Stakes but the drop back to 6f is a concern and I like the look of Mar Mar (4.25) returning to sprinting having been running over further at Meydan earlier in the year. The Godolphin filly suggested she was all speed when breaking her maiden tag at Doncaster last year and it is possible that they will just let her bowl along in front in this listed contest. Irish raider Clancy Avenue is another to consider in a terrific little race.
No surprise to see Huntsmans Close (5.00) drop down in trip having looked a non-stayer at Ascot last time; the colt was beaten less than 2 lengths by Guineas third Van Der Neer at Yarmouth last term and I remember thinking at the time he was easily brushed aside. He will meet nothing of that class today and must run well.
At Newmarket there is a fascinating 12f handicap with Handsome Man, well backed for the Northumberland Plate at the end of the month, sure to go close but No Heretic (3.30) was a good winner at the Guineas meeting and can continue his progression. The selection is another who has an entry for the Pitman’s Derby at Newcastle but I am hoping that the stable’s Montaser might be the one for that prestigious handicap.
At Chester Dutch Masterpiece (5.05) has a cracking draw in stall 2 and he was very well backed at York last time when the return to the minimum trip looked sure to suit; the booking of Jimmy Fortune again suggests connections expect a big run although one word of caution is that he did hang right on his second start as a juvenile. If he does that at the Roodeye he could end up in the Silver Ring!