We have some high-quality action around the country on Saturday, despite the racing taking place only three days before the start of Royal Ascot.
Information for Newbury, Sandown and Doncaster is all strong as we steam into some good value types, including at least one that should be winning a Group 1 race before the end of this season.
2.25 Newbury (Maggie Dickson Fillies’ Stakes – Listed Race) – FARZEEN
This is an interesting race over the seven-furlong trip, one in which we can expect Foxtrot Lady to get back to being close to her best having been dropped in trip after her seasonal bow ten days ago.
Miss Celestial, Preening and Mubtasimah rank very close to each other with all things taken into consideration, however there may be some real value to be had with Roger Varian’s Farzeen instead.
The four-year-old, making her seasonal reappearance here, had five runs last year with the highlights being wins on her second and third starts in the summer.
On a line through the horses she has beaten, easily I might add, she can be considered to be potentially the best of this particular bunch. Also, she was blocked in her run and stumbled the day she finished three lengths behind Breathtaking Look in a Doncaster Group 3 with that horse having now finished second in the Abernant this term.
She can be thought of then as a Group 3 filly for sure, and may well prove to be too good for this field as long as this trip is still right for her.
2.40 Sandown (Scurry Stakes – Listed Race) – LAZULI
We won’t always find a Battaash, who broke the minute barrier in this race in 2017, but the Scurry Stakes is known for unearthing good types finding their feet at five furlongs and Charlie Appleby’s Lazuli fits the bill nicely.
A lot of Dubawi’s get quicker as they get older, so considering this horse won over six on his first two starts last year as a juvenile it won’t be a surprise if he has wanted the minimum distance all along – he is also out of a Fasliyev mare too.
Having had a wind op he needed the blowout on seasonal debut just a week ago, but he put in a mighty handicap performance in finishing second to a well-handicapped type at Newmarket over six furlongs and on that, as well as on a line through the horses he’s previously kept company with, he can reach a level good enough to see these off.
Sunday Sovereign, Al Raya, Dream Shot and Orlaith are all very close on the book in behind.
3.15 Sandown (Class 2 Handicap) – SOLID STONE
We’re always taking a slight chance when betting in handicaps, but in the shape of Sir Michael Stoute’s Solid Stone we have as rigid a contender as we’re likely to see.
Looking at the opposition, we more or less know what to expect from The Gill Brothers, Modern Millie and Elegant Light and that means we also know what is required from our horse.
A reproduction of his narrow defeat behind Maamora over course and distance a year ago would do it, so considering the son of Shamardal looks every inch the typical Stoute four-year-old improver it is very easy to see him having a good few pounds in hand with Listed and Group 3 races on the agenda eventually.
3.25 Doncaster (Class 3 Handicap) – JOYFUL MISSION
Two bites of the cherry is always better than one, so here’s another Stoute four-year-old handicapper! In theory, Joyful Mission could have even more in hand than Solid Stone but we do have only last year’s form and reputation to go on for now.
Dealing with the opposition; a number are very closely handicapped all things taken into consideration. Keith Dalgleish’s Caustic Love could be overpriced for a place, while Mark Johnston’s Asdaa is rock solid but not necessarily an improver.
Michael Dods can never be underestimated so his Byron’s Choice is considered, but they may all have it to do to beat Juddmonte’s son of Noble Mission.
After a slowish start simply typical of a three-year-old from this yard, Joyful Mission sprung into life when romping home in a maiden at Pontefract. He was a little disappointing in a small but hot four-runner event after and was then put away for the year.
Back now, reinvigorated and wearing a hood for the first time as well as with the assistance up top of man-of-the-moment Oisin Murphy, he is taken to get his season off to the perfect start.
3.35 Newbury (Diomed Stakes – Group 3) – KING OF COMEDY
It’s probably a good thing for our selection that this rearranged Diomed is at Newbury rather than Epsom, a track I think that will suit John Gosden’s potential star four-year-old much better.
In terms of form, Zaaki is the main danger for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore but while the jockey will get the best out of this five-year-old former Diomed winner, that best is not likely to be quite of the required standard and especially not so when considering the 3lbs he has to give away.
King Of Comedy’s form is outstanding in this context. An easy winner of the Heron Stakes from the likes of Roseman, Sangarius and Dark Vision, he went on to be a very unlucky loser when having to go wide in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
After that he was a close-up fourth in a hot renewal of the Juddmonte International at York behind Japan, Crystal Ocean and Elarqam and should only get better as this year goes on.
Put simply, King Of Comedy is a Group 1 horse in a Group 3 race and so as long as he’s not completely ring rusty, he should be a fair way ahead of this bunch.