The Bibury Cup is the feature race at Salisbury this afternoon and Fun Mac’s win at Leicester back in April reads very well when you consider the fourth home was none other than Eagle Top who ran away with the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot. Fun Mac pulled hard and failed to get home on soft ground at Haydock last time but he will appreciate today’s better ground and must go close.
Cape Caster won at Windsor over 10 furlongs last time and should appreciate the step back up in trip but the vote goes to Hymenaios (4.20) who ran an excellent race at Epsom last time when giving the impression a step up to a mile-and-a-half would see him in an even better light. He is closely weighted with Cape Caster on Doncaster form from earlier in the season when they both finished in front of Derby third Romsdal. This looks a hot renewal of this famous race but do note no favourite has obliged in the last decade.
I am going to give Trillian Astra (4.55) one last chance in the 6f Fillies’ handicap for Clive Cox who had a welcome double at Windsor on Monday evening. I think this stiff track will suit although I still believe she is crying out for a step up to 7f but with the yard in form her consistency can be rewarded.
The Happy Hammer (5.25) will appreciate the return to 7f having been tried over a mile in recent starts on polytrack. He can race off a mark 11lb lower on turf than his current all-weather mark and he does have bits of form on turf which suggest that he could run well for today’s amateur.
Carlisle’s big flat meeting of the year but I always find the Carlisle Bell and Carlisle Plate impossible races to fathom. In the Bell Balducci is likely to be all the rage for David O’Meara under his penalty but he will find it hard to get an uncontested lead from stall 13 and a chance is taken on Barren Brook (4.10) for Mick Easterby who should have the race run to suit. This stiff mile is on the sharp side but I thought he ran well at York last time when slowly away and there is plenty of pace in the race.
Graham Gibbons rides Barren Brook and he is also in the plate for the lightly-raced Newmarket raider Endless Credit (4.45) who was below his best at York on his reappearance back in May. He is bred to appreciate todays trip, has a cracking draw and trainer Luca Cumani won the corresponding race ten years ago albeit with a more exposed 4-y-old.
Anton Dolin (5.35) is reunited with Sam Twiston-Davies and can race off the same mark as when runner up at Southwell last time to Dealing River who re-opposes on the same terms. The selection was a decent flat handicapper at his best for John Dunlop, loves fast ground and gets on well with tonight’s pilot.