On a huge weekend for racing, Ascot hosts both the King George which features the Derby winner, and the International Stakes handicap.
Crowds are back, in fact more than 30,000 are expected at York where Mohaafeth essentially goes on trial for the Juddmonte International, running in the Group 2 York Stakes.
There are two closely-matched Newmarket horses taking part in the Beeswing on Newcastle’s Ladies Day card too but we begin with Ascot on Friday and a fast-improving filly.
Friday 23rd July 2021
3.00 Ascot (Valiant Stakes – Group 3) – LIGHTS ON
I’ve been dying to see Sir Michael Stoute’s Lights On back on fast ground. She was a very easy winner on the soft last time but handles anything and could be on her way to Group 1 level.
Indigo Girl has the quality to mix it with the selection, but she’s half the price and hasn’t been sighted since last October.
3.35 Ascot (Handicap) – GRAND BAZAAR
John and Thady Gosden’s Grand Bazaar has featured here a couple of times, but has been withdrawn due to the ground being too soft.
If the quicker ground remains at Ascot, he can continue the improvement he has shown on every run in these conditions and win his fourth race in 12 starts. Labeebb and Alfred Boucher look best of the remainder.
7.22 Newmarket (Novice Stakes) – THOUSAND OAKS
There are only five runners here, but there are enough mentions for Line Of Descent, Constanta and Auriferous in the media as well as an encouraging betting forecast for us to think we can get a decent price for Thousand Oaks.
The Gosden filly has run third on both of her starts so far, but has been waiting for these conditions and is significantly better than what she’s managed to show so far. Cieren Fallon rides for Qatar Racing.
Saturday 24th July 2021
1.15 Ascot (Pat Eddery Stakes – Listed Race) – NEW SCIENCE
Choosing New Science, an excellent debut winner at Yarmouth, is based purely on his not inconsiderable talent as a juvenile.
We do also have to consider though that had he won at Royal Ascot in the Chesham which was expected by many (ground very much not to his liking), then he’d already have been prepped for a Group 2 somewhere by now and he should have more than enough class to win this. Cachet, Mr McCann and Angel Bleu can fight out the places.
1.50 Ascot (Princess Margaret Stakes – Group 3) – DESERT DREAMER
Having attempted to pre-empt the rates of improvement likely shown by these fillies, along with their various speed ratings, it seems this time that siding with experience could prove fruitful.
Already having her sixth start, Desert Dreamer looks like the one with her solid Listed and Group form making her stand out. Nazanin, Delmona, Nymphadora and System can all run well to varying degrees.
3.00 Ascot (International Stakes – Class 2 Handicap) – MATTHEW FLINDERS
This hugely competitive seven-furlong handicap has attracted 22 runners, so the familiar split on the straight course may occur here with the high numbers very likely favoured.
That leaves Shadwell looking vulnerable despite fielding three runners in the top four or five in the betting. Motakhayyel will have to pull out a Group 1 performance off this weight, while Aldaary and Danyah are potentially badly drawn.
Oisin Murphy has been booked for Matthew Flinders here who is getting quicker as time goes on and now looks the perfect type for this race. Dance Fever and Acquitted also deserve big mentions.
3.35 Ascot (King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes – Group 1) – ADAYAR
Despite some defections this is a proper Group 1, as the King George always should be. This hasn’t always been the clash of the generations that we want, but with awesome 2020 Oaks winner Love and this year’s good Derby winner Adayar at the head of things, it certainly will be this time.
Beginning with Adayar; he was indeed a high-quality Derby winner for Charlie Appleby and he’s been left alone to recover while third-placed Hurricane Lane has gone on to win two Group 1 races.
It can’t be underestimated how important it is for the industry to at last have another Derby winner score in this race. Despite a lack of three-year-old participants in recent times, history has shown us that when a top-class one shows up, they invariably win.
Adayar has won despite softer ground in the past rather than because of it, he stays very well, has lots of class and is obviously still getting better. This isn’t a race for good mile-and-a-quarter horses who might stay, it’ll be a battle to the line and this fellow possesses the ability and the stamina to get the job done.
Love is a brilliant mare. She’s very similar in ability to Found, also by Galileo, who went 2nd (13/8f), 2nd (9/2), 2nd (4/1) and 2nd (5/2) at Ascot, never pulling out her very best there. Over 1m4f on good or faster ground she ran 9th (18/1), 1st (4/1), 2nd (2/1f) and 3rd (11/4), again never being at her very best. Even more closely related is Magical, again similar in ability and never quite at her best in these conditions.
Love for her part stayed brilliantly in last year’s Oaks and was a brave winner over 1m2f around Ascot at the royal meeting, but she may not quite get to the genuine superstar level that three-time winner Enable did which makes her vulnerable at short odds against a good Derby winner.
Mishriff is very consistent and genuine Group 1 class, but in running to his usual standard he should be third-best here. Wonderful Tonight is a lovely filly heading to the Arc but needs rain, while Lone Eagle has form with Hurricane Lane but is in against real good horses now and may just not cope.
4.30 Newcastle (Handicap – Class 3) – MOSHAAWER
Hasty Sailor is no mug and Brian Ellison (Cormier) loves to win at Newcastle. This is a good race with two well-handicapped horses in it however, meaning it’s a result to keep an eye on for the future.
Second Slip won on Northumberland Plate Day and still has something in hand, but Moshaawer could be different gravy and can be backed as long as he’s offered at a decent price.
The Frankel colt has won his last two easily after finishing third on debut behind the now 95-rated Scope and Derby runner-up Mojo Star. Roger Varian’s runner may be heading to Group races before long, but runs here off a mark of just 93.