Friday, 14 August 2020

Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th August 2020: Marple to Solve Handicap Puzzle

It’s another high-class weekend with Group 1 events taking place in France, Germany and the USA as old favourite Barney Roy looks to add to his enviable record.

Back on British soil Newbury takes centre stage and there is some great action planned, two of their races providing us with good value punts while Deauville must not be missed either.

Saturday 15th August 2020

1.50 Newbury (Denford Stakes – Listed Race) – DHAHABI

While the likes of Jumby and Saint Lawrence are decent, we can only hope this race becomes a duel between two very exciting prospects for the future in Guru and Dhahabi with the latter preferred.

Four weeks ago, John Gosden’s Guru made a most pleasing debut at Newbury when taking care of Sir Michael Stoute’s Derby entry Maximal over today’s seven furlongs.  That was a good race, but Guru looked straight forward enough and perhaps won’t have as much improvement in him as the selection.

Godolphin’s Dhahabi, a very expensive purchase and beautifully bred, also scored on debut at HQ.  This time the Frankel colt dwelt at the start and needed rousting along early, before showing good speed to hit the front in the style of a horse that will come on in leaps and bounds for the run.

3.25 Deauville (Prix de Lieurey – Group 3) – ALTHIQA

Over to France now where a chance can be taken on Charlie Appleby’s Althiqa.  Riding plans aren’t really much to go on for this stable over the weekend; William Buick happy to take one ride in Germany (he’s on Barney Roy in a Group 1) while James Doyle rides Dhahabi.

The fact Mikael Barzalona rides this filly then doesn’t tell us that much other than it certainly won’t hinder her chances.

Third in a Group 3 last time, she was a winner at Deauville the time before over seven furlongs and is improving enough to make us think that she can take car of Fooraat, Simeen and Cloak Of Spirits and what will hopefully be a nice price.

5.00 Newmarket (Handicap) – JANE MARPLE

Rarely does it work out so well, so caution is advised, but it could well be that there has been a total anomaly in the handicap mark given to John Gosden’s Jane Marple and at the time of writing it has not been spotted by the bookmakers.

Chucked in at around 4/1 on Friday, Jane Marple could be the one for money at HQ in her handicap debut given that she beat National Treasure last time and has been handed a mark of just 82.

That has been given to her by the assessor due apparently to the fact that the horse she beat is rated 81, however he outran that figure most likely with Jane Marple’s real performance that day worth around 85-88 in reality.

Given that she will almost certainly improve now on her third run, especially as a filly coming from this yard, a performance somewhere approaching the mid-90’s is possible now making her mark of 82 look incredibly generous.

Should she get the trip OK she looks very backable indeed, with Godolphin’s top-weight Expressionism next on the list just ahead of the in-form Believe In Love who is looking for a three-timer.

Sunday 16th August 2020

2.50 Deauville (Prix Jacques le Marois – Group 1) – PALACE PIER

A higher quality Group 1 race than the version Romanised won last year, and it seems likely the defending champ will be taken off his feet this time around.

Local hero Persian King has won his last two and rates a danger, however despite scoring in seven out of 10 career races has hasn’t shown lumps of improvement at any time and so it seems we now know his level.

That level is very similar to what we can expect from Aidan O’Brien’s Circus Maximus, though while his form this season is once again red hot, he always looks vulnerable to a real good one as he was when facing Mohaather at Goowood and it could be the case again with this Palace Pier.

John Gosden’s taking St James’s Palace Stakes winner looked top class at Royal Ascot, showed a terrific turn of foot in beating Pinatubo and has been left alone to recover and improve since.

The son of Kingman, the mount of Frankie Dettori who will now miss York next week due to the need for him to quarantine on return, looks every inch a mid-120’s horse at least and that sort of level makes him too good for the aforementioned rivals, along with Alpine Star.

3.35 Newbury (St Hugh’s Fillies’ Stakes – Listed Race) – MISS JINGLES

Once again we are backing potential over proven ability here, as Charlie Appleby’s Miss Jingles needs to prove that being rated 4lbs behind favourite Caroline Dale only serves to underestimate her current ability.

On the numbers, she doesn’t have a lot to fear anyway.  Miss Jingles has run one race less than her main rival and in terms of published speed figures she is already on a par with David Loughnane’s runner.  With more improvement likely from the slightly lighter-raced runner, those facts would actually have made James Doyle’s mount a fair favourite had the bookmakers installed her as such.

A closer look at the profiles of the big two however strengthens confidence even more.  Caroline Dale has done well to reach a mark of 98, but her two standout runs were at Ascot in Group company.  The finish at Ascot clearly suits this filly, especially considering she ran third in the Princess Margaret last time over six furlongs and it could be that this quicker five furlongs will not suit at all.

Miss Jingles on the other hand is a classic improving type.  An average debut was followed up by a decent win at Sandown, with another big step forward coming last time at Glorious Goodwood.

In a conditions event, the daughter of Exceed and Excel did well to get the better of the argument and she now looks a Group filly without any doubt.

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