The Listed £40,000 Pipalong Stakes is the afternoon highlight from Pontefract where Masarah has the plum draw for one who likes to race prominently but I would be surprised if she were able to keep the peloton at bay (who hasn’t been influenced by the start of Le tour) and I think Butterfly McQueen (4.00) can reverse recent Epsom form and give owner Sir Alex Ferguson a welcome success.
At home on fast ground she has a length to find on Masarah on Epsom running and has been kept for this race by connections whilst the Clive Brittain filly has to bounce back from a poor effort at Royal Ascot when she only beat one home albeit in a hotter race.
Sir Michael Stoute’s Pavlosk is respected dropping down in class after an excellent fourth last time out at Lingfield when beaten less than three lengths in the G3 Chartwell Stakes, whilst similar claims apply to David O’Meara’s Dutch Rose after two excellent runs on her beloved Knavesmire.
Micky Hammond’s Dark Castle (4.30) was well supported when winning last year’s renewal of the six furlong handicap and he looks well treated for a repeat success with PJ McDonald in the plate. The 5-y-o was a comfortable winner on good-to-firm ground last year and held his form throughout the remainder of the season.
The gelding looked desperately in need of the run on his seasonal beau at Ripon and has built on that further with excellent efforts at Haydock, Doncaster and York. He is taken to win complete a fifth career success from a 4lb higher mark than last season’s success for a trainer that remains in excellent form.
Mick Channon’s Nancy from Nairobi bids to shed the maiden tag at the fifth attempt when dropping down in class after finishing down the field in the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot and whilst she is respected, a chance is taken on Luca Cumani’s Mizzou (5.00).
The well-bred Galileo colt was a pleasing fourth on debut at Haydock last month and is entitled to progress, as most of the trainer’s string do, with the benefit of the run. The colt is related to winners Eternal Bounty and Unity and can carry on the family tradition by getting his head in front at the second attempt.
There’s all-weather action at Lingfield where Chris Wall’s Trucanini (4.15) can return to winning ways in the fillies’ handicap over seven furlongs. She was drawn in the car park, effectively ruining any chances of winning on her first two runs this season at Windsor and Yarmouth. She returns to the all-weather surface where she is 2/2 and with the stable in much better form, and with a more favourable draw, boasts excellent claims.
Summer jumping comes from Uttoxeter where Champion Jockey AP McCoy heads for two rides for boss JP McManus; Strongly Suggested in the two miles handicap chase and Finding Your Feet in the three miles handicap hurdle.
The Champ has picked up an additional spare on Kim Bailey’s Bonnie Fee (8.30) in the mares’ handicap hurdle over two and a half miles and will take all the beating. The 7-y-o has been second on her two starts since returning from an absence of nearly two years; far from disgraced in both efforts at Exeter and Carlisle.
She starts life handicapping from a mark of 107 and with cheek-pieces on for the first time, looks to have been given a certain amount of leeway from the handicapper and can build on the combination’s 64% strike-rate in 2014.
High Kite (9.00) was a game winner last time out at Ffos Las and uses a more favourable mark over hurdles to offset the 9lb rise at the weights for his win last month’s win over fences.. The stable continue to go great guns and despite Gavin Sheehan unable to use his 3lb claim, looks to have obvious claims running from a 5lb better mark over hurdles.