Alan Thomson, the former Racing Editor at the Daily Record, puts up five tips on Saturday at Haydock and Sandown. View selections below.
THE emergence of AL KAZEEM (3.50) as a genuine middle-distance star at a relatively mature age has been one of the fairytale stories of the season and Roger Charlton’s five-year-old wins a confident vote in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown. Al Kazeem and James Doyle have developed into a formidable partnership and they cemented their relationship with a thrilling victory in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, confirming Irish form with Camelot. For a few strides trailblazing Mukhadram looked to have stolen an unassailable lead but Al Kazeem, fully recovered from a fractured pelvis last year, gradually whittled into his advantage and had a neck to spare at the line. A similar scenario may be played out at Sandown, with The Fugue likely to play a leading role if settled closer to the pace along with Aidan O’Brien’s pair Mars, who met plenty of trouble behind Dawn Approach and Toronado in the St James’s Palace Stakes, and Queen Anne Stakes hero Declaration of War.
A glittering afternoon kicks off with a tricky seven-furlong handicap and Charlton has a live chance with PYTHAGOREAN (1.30). The gelding was a five-length winner on firm ground at Leicester in May and followed up eight days later under his 6lb penalty. Pythagorean didn’t enjoy the smoothest of runs from a wide draw when fourth to Secret Art at Sandown (Skytrain ninth) on his last start and he may outgun probable favourite Plover. Sir Michael Stoute’s filly was an easy six-length winner of her maiden at Kempton a month ago and could be anything.
John Gosden’s Caucus is likely to be all the rage for the Coral Marathon over two miles on the strength of his close second to Estimate, the subsequent Gold Cup winner, in the Sagaro Stakes. Model Pupil and Repeater were well behind Estimate at Royal Ascot and look held but BIOGRAPHER (4.25) is a serious challenger on the strength of his running-on fourth to Tiger Cliff at Newmarket over a shorter trip. David Lanigan’s son of Montjeu never runs a bad race, as testified by his career record of 2121214.
It’s a big day at Haydock, too, with the Bet365 Old Newton Cup one of the major betting handicaps of the summer. There are a hatful of improving middle-distance types up for consideration but top weight OPINION (3.30) sets a high standard. The Stoute-trained four-year-old was given a barnstorming ride from Ryan Moore to land the Duke of Edinburgh handicap at the royal meeting and Kieren Fallon gets the leg up this time. With the Mark Johnston stable in such rampant form it’s not difficult to envisage a prominent run from his improving filly Star Lahib.
The Bet365 Lancashire Oaks has an open look and Godolphin’s Albasharah had a troubled run when fourth behind Forgotten Voice in the Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot. MOMENT IN TIME (2.55) returns to the scene of his narrow victory over German raider Nymphea in a Group 3 on fast ground last month and may just edge it. The three-year-old generation is represented by Cheshire Oaks winner Banofee, who can be forgiven a below-par effort in the Epsom equivalent on a track that probably didn’t suit.
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