Another major festival has come and gone and now the bandwagon rolls onto York as their Ebor festival fast approaches, in the meantime though there remain some solid betting opportunities on the flat.
The Arlington Million and Shergar Cup meetings are staged this weekend but neither has been kind in offering us a bet, Haydock and Newmarket on the other hand have and we kick off with the Listed Dick Hern Stakes and the return of a potentially very smart filly before we move to Sunday’s action across the Channel.
Saturday 10th August 2019
2.30 Haydock (Dick Hern Stakes – Listed Race) – FELICIANA DE VEGA
William Haggas’ Miss O Connor has been very well touted in advance of this race, understandably so having registered two wins from 2 since making her debut at Gowran Park. Since transferring to Newmarket she has improved plenty, scoring by 11 lengths last time but there’s no guarantee she will improve sufficiently to win at this level.
John Gosden knows what it takes to get a filly up to scratch in Listed company and so his Muchly is respected every bit as much as the favourite, though they may both end up trailing in the wake of one who is potentially a bit special and goes well on the forecast soft ground.
The filly in question is Feliciana De Vega, Ralph Beckett’s three-year-old who made a great impression on debut last year. She backed that up with a Listed race win at Deauville and now makes her eagerly anticipated return in a race she can take before moving up a level or two, perhaps even contesting Group 1’s before the year is out.
3.05 Haydock (Rose of Lancaster Stakes – Group 3) – WADILSAFA
Addeybb is one of our old favourites and he will go off a short price for this race. I’d still like to see him gain further Group race success, and his defeat on his favoured soft ground last time at York was as much about the class of Elarqam as it was about any of his own deficiencies.
That being said, he is a very short price against a competitive field and one that may be just as good, if not better in this ground and is a great value price to play at small stakes is this Wadilsafa.
Owen Burrows’ 4yo is rated only 4lbs lower than the jolly and has so far put in two performances that would make him competitive in this race, so bearing in mind that on slower ground he has the potential yet to improve even further he is great value to win this contest.
John Gosden’s Wissahickon is classy but is unproven on this ground and, while being by Tapit who gets plenty of success in the Belmont Stakes meaning he may want this extra test, there is no evidence to suggest he’s as good on turf as he is on the sand and so he’s passed over this time too.
3.45 Newmarket (Sweet Solera Stakes – Group 3) – LIGHT BLUSH
As is often the case with these juvenile races, a number of horses in this line-up are within a pound or two of each other in terms of private ratings, with West End Girl (Mark Johnston), Soffika (Sir Michael Stoue) and Dark Lady (Richard Hannon) all potentially capable of similar things.
The one for money will undoubtedly be Ed Vaughan’s Ultra Violet after her startling debut on this track over six furlongs in late June when she lost 4 lengths at the start, yet still managed to win the race by 8 at the line and comfortably too. That is fantastic on paper, but she didn’t beat an awful lot and the performance doesn’t guarantee that she is Group class just yet.
Charlie Appleby’s Light Blush on the other hand is coming along nicely. A very satisfying debut over this course and distance in mid-July was followed up a fortnight ago by a nice second in Listed company at Sandown, a race in which the daughter of Kodiac gave the impression she would come on again and that’s what I expect her to do under Will Buick, something that should make her good enough to score.
Sunday 11th August 2019
1.35 Deauville (Prix Francois Boutin – Listed Race) – KING’S COMMAND
Charlie Appleby does very well with his forays to France and this latest trip could yet be rewarded handsomely, firstly in this Listed juvenile race where the team’s King’s Command runs again under James Doyle.
After looking beaten on debut at Newmarket under Kerrin McEvoy having had a bad trip, the son of Dubawi rallied very well to win on the line. He was beaten in the Superlative Stakes, though he was favourite to win that Group 2 event and if he’d even been placed that form would have been enough to win this.
So, with a return to form very likely he should have too much for the form horses here; Happy Bere and Coolmore’s Arapaho.
3.25 Deauville (Prix Jacques le Marois – Group 1) – LINE OF DUTY (each-way)
We’re stressing the each-way angle here, simply because at the anticipated double-figure odds we can play safe on Line Of Duty and at the end of the day this is a Group 1 and will not be easy to win.
What is not forgotten though, despite the disappointments of the Dante and the Derby where this horse ran poorly, is that Line Of Duty is a Grade 1 winner have taken the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs in fine style last November.
The drop back to this trip is in his favour, he’s been freshened up and will only have been thrown in at this level for his comeback if he’s still showing signs that he belongs in the top grade and let’s face it, he’s in a yard run by a guy who would know.
Watch Me, Romanised, Shaman and Study Of Man are all capable and will be among his challengers, but a place will be expected by the Godolphin team.