Friday 31 March 2023

Saturday 1st April 2023 - Poker Face No Bluff at Doncaster

The Flat is truly back as we get straight into the Lincoln meeting at Doncaster.

We have a hugely busy Saturday with ten selections, while punters should also look out for the debut performance of Carlton on Town Moor.

6.35 (AM) Randwick (Doncaster Mile – Group 1) – CONVERGE

This $4 million event is one of the top races in Australia. It’s Day One of The Championships at Royal Randwick in Sydney, this being the feature race on a card that also includes the Australian Derby.

The Doncaster Mile is a handicap race and that can either muddy the waters, or give something in the field a big chance.

Two weeks ago, we gave you Dubai Honour who scored well for William Haggas, while last week Montefelia lost out by the shortest of margins.

Haggas runs Group 3 winner Protagonist here and at the weights, he should be competitive along with Zougotcha, Fangirl and last year’s winner Mr Brightside.

The one I reckon has a bit in hand owing to recent improvement and solid form with Anamoe however is Converge and he is taken to land this massive pot for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott.

7.15 (AM) Randwick (Australian Derby – Group 1) – PERICLES

Godolphin and trainer James Cummings have had some great success in Australia in recent years. They may carry that on this Saturday with victory here for their Pericles.

Though much of the talk has been about Sharp ‘N’ Smart, it may be that James McDonald’s mount is simply the best horse and his main rival is also drawn out wide. Mazoice, Andalus and Elliptical made up the shortlist.

1.30 Kempton (Novice Stakes) – BURGLAR

At the time of writing Burglar’s tissue price was 7/4. Assuming he remains at backable odds, he has to be taken in this even giving away weight as he was so impressive on his racecourse debut.

By Cracksman, this colt is still in the Derby and could end up there yet. Assuming he wins this as he should from the likes of Incremental, Order Of Malta and My Lion, he would likely go for a trial somewhere in the next month or so. William Buick is at Kempton to take the ride on Secret State and has an excellent bonus mount here.

2.05 Kempton (Magnolia Stakes – Listed Race) – SECRET STATE 

We don’t quite know what Fantom Flight can achieve just yet, especially after one particularly impressive handicap performance last season.

Belloccio is well fancied after a couple of course wins over longer distances, but based on everything we know for sure Secret State is the best horse in this race and should be winning it en route back into Group company this season.

3.00 Doncaster (Cammidge Trophy – Listed Race) – EL CABALLO

If he’s fully ready to go after a long break, four-year-old sprinter El Caballo can prove to be too good for this field.

As well as winning a Group 2 at Haydock, Karl Burke’s runner was a winner on soft ground and was excellent on the Tapeta at Newcastle so, all in all, these conditions should hold no worries.

He can take this before going back up into top Group company, ahead of Asjad, Fast Response and King’s Lynn.

3.15 Kempton (Queen’s Prize Handicap) – BANDINELLI 

There are only six runners entered for this race and only £12,000 is being handed out to the winner, but rest assured this is a good staying handicap.

At a glance, it’s very close between a few of these with Aztec Empire understandably inserted as favourite. A closer look however reveals that over this trip around Kempton, the more impressive sectional speed has come from Bandinelli.

The plan may be to get this horse to the Northumberland Plate or something similar, starting with a good performance here.

3.35 Doncaster (Lincoln Handicap) – AL MUBHIR

Although he has been backed to a price I’d rather not have taken, Al Mubhir is the best of this bunch at the weights and has an outstanding chance.

His price collapse is due in part to our winning selection last week, Lattam, giving Haggas a win in the Irish Lincolnshire too.

This horse was considered a potential Classic colt last spring, he loves this ground, is well ahead of his handicap mark and has an ideal profile for the Lincoln.

Drawn up the near side is Wanees who too could have an excellent season, while plenty of money has come for Awaal this week.

4.10 Doncaster (Doncaster Mile – Listed Race) – POKER FACE

In this one-mile Listed race, we have quite the mixed bag. Experience Tempus is still quality, but he’s getting no younger and may not be at his best on this ground.

Toimy Son and Tacarib Bay are solid, while Imperial Fighter was looking like a quality three-year-old last year and can hit the ground running this term.

The suggestion however is the unbeaten Poker Face. Unbeaten in three starts, the Crisford runner appears to be improving at a rate of knots and could prove to be much better than a Listed horse in time. James Doyle rides.

7.00 Chelmsford (Cardinal Conditions Stakes) – BOLD ACT

There’s £100,000 up for grabs here, a race on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Iconic Moment, Brave Emperor and Alzahir are all solid enough performers and would be competitive in a Listed race, but then potential big-time performer is definitely Bold Act for Charlie Appleby and Harry Davies.

If he wins, it’s unsure whether he could/would go to Kentucky but it would certainly be an interesting move.

10.15 Gulfstream Park (Gulfstream Park Oaks – Grade 2) – SACRED WISH

I have nothing for either of the two hugely important Grade 1’s on the Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Arkansas and Florida Derbies, but this race may provide some evening value.

We’ve gone successfully for the last two winners of the Kentucky Oaks in Malathaat and Secret Oath and I reckon Javier Castellano’s mount Sacred Oath may just be heading in a similar direction.

She has form after only two runs and a maiden win that matches up with the best of this field, in fact it’s better than most of them. She will undoubtedly improve and should shine now upped in class under her excellent jockey.

Miracle was next on the list.

Thursday 23 March 2023

Saturday 25th March 2023 - A Racing Weekend Without Borders

The Go North weekend is the big deal for the jumps this week. Musselburgh (Friday), Kelso (Saturday) and Carlisle (Sunday) host the action. It’s also the Jumps Season Finale meeting at Newbury.

The Flat starts in Ireland this weekend with the Irish Lincolnshire in which we have a bet, along with plenty more international action too.

5.40 (AM) Rosehill (Tancred Stakes – Group 1) – MONTEFELIA

We begin in Australia at 5.40am before moving to Dubai at midday and eventually to the USA later on Saturday night.

Though no match for Dubai Honour in the Ranvet last Saturday, five-year-old mare Montefelia may just prove too good for this field at the weights over the mile and a half.

Much like Dubai Honour, Cleveland has been woefully underestimated by the Australians (if only this were a handicap), while Melbourne Cup winners Gold Trip and Vow And Declare should also go well.

12.05 Meydan (Godolphin Mile – Group 2) – BATHRAT LEON 

Given the number of older horses in this race, there will not be much in the way of progression to attempt to judge.

Isolate, if staying the distance, Prince Eiji, Discovery Island and several others are all solid enough, but perhaps aren’t as taking as French-trained Egot.

Even with him, he needs to get to and beat his career peak though if he is to challenge Japanese runner Bathrat Leon.*

His best performance was last time out just four weeks ago, but he has also proven to be very effective on the dirt at Tokyo so he can achieve peak form in this which should be enough in the race he won last year.

12.40 Meydan (Dubai Gold Cup – Group 2) – SISKANY

A repeat of Quickthorn’s standout win at York would give him a major chance, while former winner Subjectivist is back and is obviously dangerous.

Broom could get back to his best now staying, but I prefer the chances of up-and-coming stayers Trawlerman and Siskany.

Trawlerman won the Ebor last year and ran very well on Champions Day behind Trueshan. Siskany could be at a different level however and warmed up nicely with a simple win Group 3 company here last time out.

1.15 Meydan (Al Quoz Sprint – Group 1) – AL SUHAIL

This is a good six-furlong sprint and a proper international one.

Cazadero (USA) and The Astrologist (Australia) probably need to pick up on what they’ve done in recent times. Ireland’s Ladies Church is capable of more, while Hong Kong pair Slight Success and Duke Wai are the main dangers to the selection, Al Suhail.

The six-year-old’s easy win last time is enough to make him competitive anyway, though he is clearly improving. Charlie Appleby has done very well in recent seasons teaching former mile and seven-furlong horses how to sprint, with this horse perhaps the best of the bunch. Al Dasim is well backed but might just be outgunned.

3.10 Meydan (Dubai Turf – Group 1) – NATIONS PRIDE

Whatever happens in this race, take in the form as this is truly a top-class Group 1 event over nine furlongs.

Real World is very good and spent last year chasing Baaeed around. Do Deuce is a major Japanese hope who needs to step down in trip, while Master Of The Seas should have won last time and can land a mile(ish) Group 1 before the end of the year.

Former winner Lord North is clearly in great form and will run very well again, while Sefiros won a high-class race in Japan last time.

The level of form shown last year on more than one occasion, allied with his continued improvement, shows Nations Pride to be a very, very good horse indeed and he will love this specific trip, though he is drawn wide.

3.25 Curragh (Irish Lincolnshire Handicap) – LATTAM

Ado McGuiness is certainly going for this with ten of the 27 final entries all his. Of that battalion, Celtic Crown and Comfort Line are best fancied from low draws.

The draw would usually put me off if it were too high here, but so many fancied horses are drawn in the 20’s and it is bound to level off more than normal.

The three I liked best were Totally Charming, Miss Mirabell and Lattam who are drawn 22, 25 and 24 respectively with the last-named, trained by William Haggas, seeming to have plenty in hand at the weights.

4.00 Meydan (Sheema Classic – Group 1) – REBEL’S ROMANCE 

Japan’s Equinox is favourite here and top-rated. He is joined by major Arc de Triomphe hope Shahryar, recent Group 1 winner Win Marylin, Derby third and Irish Derby winner Westover, three-time Group 1 and Breeders’ Cup winner Rebel’s Romance and Mostahdaf who routed a good field in Saudi Arabia last time.

This is then, once again, a truly excellent race.

There is no reason to doubt Equinox here really, though his price is very short while Westover is somewhat on the comeback trail and while very smart isn’t likely to ultimately prove to be the best of last year’s three-year-olds.

Both Mostahdaf and Rebel’s Romance have been a little underestimated, with the proven form and speed of the latter over this distance winning out at the odds.

10.42 Fair Grounds (Louisiana Derby – Grade 2) – KINGSBARNS

The highlight of a bumper 15-race card at Fair Grounds in New Orleans is the Louisiana Derby.

Race number 12 on the day, the Louisiana Derby offers 40 points to the winner on the Road to the Kentucky Derby making it a key prep race for the big one on May 6.

The choice is here is Kingsbarns. The excellent Todd Pletcher trains this colt by Uncle Mo, a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner who also sired Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist.

He didn’t make his racecourse debut until January when he beat his maiden special weight field by just under a length. He strengthened up and improved markedly to win again last month at Tampa Bay and he did it in the style of a tough, classy individual.

The level of form expected of him now could see him improve past likely favourite Instant Coffee, while his morning line odds of 6/1 are also more than a little tempting. Tapit’s Conquest, Cagliostro and Sun Thunder also came into consideration.

Friday 17 March 2023

Saturday 18th March 2023: Surrey Not to Be Missed

After the four day long jumping jamboree that is the Cheltenham Festival, we’re a little all over the place this weekend.

There is more jumping to be done at Fontwell, Doncaster, Kempton, Uttoxeter and Newcastle and in fact we have information for the latter two venues.

We’re also on the all-weather at Wolverhampton, skipping across to France for some Flat pattern action on the turf and we even begin very early in the morning down in Australia where there is British interest among the Group 1 racing in Sydney.

4.15 (AM) Rosehill (Ranvet Stakes – Group 1) – DUBAI HONOUR 

The Ranvet is a $1 million race and a very important part of Sydney’s Autumn Racing Carnival. Rosehill hosts this time, the Ranvet being over 2000 metres or pretty much one and a quarter miles.

This is the race William Haggas won with Addeybb a couple of years ago and he has sent four more horses to Sydney this time around.

One of them is Dubai Honour and, reading the Aussie press, they are very keen to take him on which could be a mistake.

His form is solid and he handles varying ground. This is his perfect trip, while we’re not certain what is best for other leading contenders Montefelia, Mo’unga, Hinged and Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip.

He’s no banker, that’s for sure, but he is up there challenging with the very best of them in this race and it yet again makes some of us ache for a Charlie Appleby or a John Gosden to send one of “our” proper Group 1 types to Australia.

2.50 Newcastle (Handicap Hurdle) – WAR SOLDIER

This market should remain competitive for us as while Voix Du Reve is heading backwards now he is still a big name and will attract support, while Lebowski will also have supporters. Arguably, Albert’s Back has a better chance than both.

Ahead of those three, Nick Alexander’s Stainsby Girl is challenging for favouritism and is a last-time-out winner. She scored over the course and distance in fact and in simple fashion, though she was given a very easy lead that time and has been put up 5lbs. This is a better class of opposition.

Thereisnodoubt will by many people’s idea of the winner. Trained by Lucinda Russell, then ten-year-old has the form to win this but he’s been busy and has perhaps felt the effects of that on his last couple of runs at Kelso.

The one to be on may well be Sandy Thomson’s War Soldier. Given that he’s come through the novice route to this, winning at Newcastle and Haydock, he is likely better than his handicap mark. He was sent to Cheltenham for a Grade 2 and while that was above him, this race is not.

2.50 Saint-Cloud (Prix Exbury – Group 3) – SURREY MIST 

The Gerald Mosse-ridden Skaletti has won around Saint-Cloud twice before and is a very good yardstick.

He is capable of the level needed to win this and he may just do it, however his numbers are generally trending downwards which is to be expected of a now eight-year-old.

Five-year-old Kertez represents master trainer Andre Fabre and jockey Maxime Guyon so will attract plenty of support and the Intello gelding will also like these very soft conditions.

Once more he is generally at the right level, but the nod is given to British challenger Surrey Mist for Kevin Philippart De Foy.

After winning an ordinary handicap at Windsor in October, the up-and-coming four-year-old took in a Listed race at Deauville on bad ground before the season closed out and he won that ever so easily by four lengths. He can now take the next step under rider Ioritz Mendizabal.

3.00 Uttoxeter (Midlands Grand National – Class 1 Handicap) – GUETAPAN COLLONGES

Things are close here between the likes of The Galloping Bear, French Paradoxe, Bushypark and Guetapan Collonges.

Charlie Longsdon’s runner however, for owner JP McManus, has been well backed for a reason as his form is solid and he’s very much heading in the right direction. He is made for these marathon races and he should prove to be the best of this bunch.

3.25 Newcastle (Handicap Chase) – GERYVILLE

This Class 3 event is a qualifier for the Challenger Staying Chase Series.

The three most likely winners are Omar Maretti (Alex Hales), Small Present (Sue Smith) and Geryville (Micky Hammond) with the latter receiving my vote.

On very close inspection it seems the level of Geryville’s form is better than the others at the weights. He also has a little more time on his side and could improve quicker than his main rivals.

He has already finished ahead of Small Present by over two lengths (only 1lb worse off now) and has the assistance of top jockey Brian Hughes in the saddle.

3.25 Saint-Cloud (Prix la Camargo – Listed Race) – HEAVENLY BREATH

Another raid to Paris’s western suburbia is being organised by Lambourn’s Archie Watson who sends Heavenlyu Breath to this one-mile Listed race.

The grey filly, a daughter of Dark Angel, is no stranger to France having been sent to Longchamp last September for a Group 3 in which she was a fine second.

That was her third racecourse start and what is noticeable is how much she has improved between races. She is already the highest rated filly in this race, but if she does take another significant step forward she could put herself very comfortably clear of local challengers Angelaba, Autumn Starlight and Axdaliva.

Kieran Shoemark takes the ride.

7.00 Wolverhampton (Handicap) – WHIMSY 

In this rider-restricted race, it would be no surprise if the in-form Zealot were to go in again especially as young sensation Billy Loughnane can take 5lbs off. It may be that he needs to, however.

Others in with chances are Buxted Too for Ian Williams, Obsidian Knight for Terry Kent and Nolton Cross for Hugo Palmer but the one I think may be underestimated is Andrew Balding’s Whimsy.

The Tapeta as a slight unknown for this filly, but it suits plenty of horses and tends to be very fair.

On the Polytrack at Kempton last August she ran to a level that would have given her a strong chance at the weights for me, so bearing in mind that she is just a four-year-old we have to think she’s improved plenty since then.

Indeed, on good to soft turf at Newmarket last October, she ran very well to finish third behind Madame Ambassador and Swoon at Newmarket having led the way and she has a ideal draw here too in stall 1.

Thursday 9 March 2023

Friday 10th & Saturday 11th March 2023: Gosden Duo Not to Be Forgotten at Wolves

For many people, particularly jumps fans, this weekend is either the calm before the storm or it’s a chance to build the betting bank.

The Cheltenham Festival is right around the corner but the sport doesn’t stop. There is business to be conducted this weekend alright and, weather permitting, we’re all over it.

Friday 10 March 2023

12.20 Bahrain (Al Methaq Mile – Listed Race) – MODERN NEWS

Charlie Appleby continues to globetrot, this time going back to Bahrain with his Modern News.

The Godolphin-bred son of Sharmdal has won five of his 15 career races, being narrowly beaten along the way by Group performers Tempus, My Oberon and Megallan among others.

He is the class in this race and if he’s any sort of price, he can be backed for the main man and rider William Buick.

12.45 Bahrain (King Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa Cup – Listed Race) – FIRST RULER

Godolphin have two horses entered here, with Charlie Appleby facing very stiff competition from his colleague Saeed bin Suroor who runs Passion And Glory (Danny Tudhope).

The older horse is solid, there’s no doubt about that, but he carries a penalty here and will be very vulnerable to the four-year-old who is improving fast.

First Ruler won a handicap at Meydan last time over this distance and it seems the conditions in Bahrain will suit him down to the ground.

8.00 Kempton (Handicap) – MR INSPIRATION

We’re going over the mile and a half at Kempton in this handicap. It’s a competitive one too, at least on paper.

Dembe arguably wants this trip on Polytrack, while Andrew Balding’s Teumessias Fox can still improve but has been off for a while. He also has past form with the likes of Soulcombe.

Haku has now had a rest and could regain his upward momentum, while Charlie Johnston’s Dubai Leader is very definitely capable of winning this but he has been off for a while.

Having tried Polytrack and Tapeta, it’s been a mixed bag for the Godolphin horse Mr Inspiration but all things considered, I think he’ll be best here. The Gosdens’ Dubawi colt may have been slightly leniently treated by the assessors and so can be backed.

Saturday 11th March 2023

5.40 Rosehill (Coolmore Classic – Group 1 Handicap) – PURPLEPAY

Look out for the early start here. William Haggas has taken four horses to Sydney, the first to run being his filly Purplepay.

The 1500-metre start at Rosehill is fair; a little wide than some though the draw still plays a part. Barriers 1-7 have easily done best in this race.

This is a handicap race, with Annavisto, Hinged, Hope In Your Heart, Espiona, Yearning and Ruthless Dame all at about the right level, though at these weights Purplepay may well show them the way home if she’s 100% ready.

She is very classy indeed and probably wants this sort of trip, as long as the ground has enough juice for her.

2.05 Wolverhampton (Lincoln Trial Handicap) – UNFORGOTTEN

This extended one-mile handicap this time around may prove to be a very worthwhile trial indeed for the Lincoln, the big handicap coming up in three weeks’ time.

The start for this race is right in front of the stands and just before the first turn, in theory making the draw crucial. There should be a very good pace in here however given what’s at stake, allowing some of the better horses drawn wide a chance to tuck in and come late off the gallop.

This is a strong field, though a few do stand out after doing some digging. Dark Moon Rising clearly has the class for this, but he’s been off for a while, while Outbreak is solid, still improving and should be OK on this surface.

Last year’s winner Notre Belle Bete is a better horse now and was unlucky last time out at Lingfield, but the selection is Unforgotten who could yet be heading for Group company after the Lincoln.

The Gosden runner, owned by Godolphin, was favourite to beat Mohaafeth not so long ago and lost out narrlowly. He is classy, fit after two runs at Lingfield and he’s won easily on Tapeta before. He is way better than his current handicap mark.

2.25 Sandown (Imperial Cup – Premier Handicap Hurdle) – FINE CASTING

It remains possible that a number of runners here are being prepped to follow up at Cheltenham next week.

Monviel, Givega and Punctuation are all interesting, but I think Ben Pauling’s Fine Casting is the best of this bunch at the weights and conditions should also be in his favour. He’s a big price too.

2.40 Wolverhampton (Lady Wulfruna Stakes – Listed Race) – DHABAB

There’s another quick turn from the seven-furlong start and this time it may be crucial.

Based on past exploits this is a classy field. Vadream (Group 3 winner) gets 5lbs and has more time to get going on this surface which could prove to be crucial.

Berkshire Shadow is right up there (G2 Coventry winner) is right up there, though the surface is an unknown, while Angel Bleu (dual 2021 Group 1 winner) should like things underfoot but has been off a while and is drawn wide.

The one I’ve always liked is Dhabab. The now-4yo is very lightly raced and was my idea of the Coventry winner in 2021, where he was unlucky when sixth as favourite to beat Berkshire Shadow. He kept pace with Native Trail as a juvenile but had some problems.

He did very well to win a handicap in the autumn and should get back to Group company before long. It’s also worth noting that lots of the top No No Never progeny do well and show pace on softy and heavy turf, so this Tapeta may well suit well.

11.54 Oaklawn Park (Azeri Stakes – Grade 2) – SECRET OATH

We’re off to Arizona here and Race 9 on their card, the Grade 2 Azeri Stakes over an extended mile for the fillies and mares.

Clairiere has been a lovely type, classy and consistent, and can go well once again here. Interstatedaydream may also run well.

The suggestion however is last year’s Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath who has time on her side and can improve past them. She’s around 3/1 in the States, so is a backable price.

Friday 3 March 2023

Friday 3rd & Saturday 4th March 2023: Master to Rule the Seas in Group 1 Event

It’s another huge weekend of mixed racing; Kelso, Newbury and Doncaster staging major jumps events while we now reach Super Saturday at Meydan in the Dubai Carnival.

Friday 3rd March 2023

3.00 Lingfield (Handicap) – TOLSTOY 

In this six-furlong sprint there are a few horses who appear to be going backwards, a few contenders are drawn wide and some are perhaps looking for a different trip or surface.

The solid ones, all things considered, are Tolstoy, Crimson Sand, Laheg and Baldomero.

Crimson Sand has gate 12 to overcome which tempers enthusiasm a little, but eight stalls inside of him is Stuart Williams’ Tolstoy who looks a better proposition under Rossa Ryan.

Back on this surface and over this trip, he can show what he is made of after three wins for the Gosden team in the past.

4.20 Doncaster (Handicap Chase) – MONGOL EMPEROR

While it’s true that Neil Mulholland’s Mongol Emperor needs a return to form after a couple of bad efforts, that is bound to happen very soon given this gelding’s age and career stage.

He is only eight years old and is five runs into his chase career, the third run of which at these weights would have seen him win this so that return to form would make him very good value.

Saturday 4th March 2023

12.05 Meydan (Dubai City of Gold – Group 2) – KEMARI

The excellent Rebel’s Romance is unfortunately out of the City of Gold but is still on track for Dubai World Cup night.

In his absence solid performers Away He Goes, Global Heat and Global Storm can make their presence felt over the mile and a half, while White Wolf is dangerous getting weight and Senor Toba obviously has class.

The one who is perhaps on a different level now fully tuned up however is former Queen’s Vase winner Kemari. The Dubawi gelding is very comfortable at this distance and in fact finished runner-up to Rebel’s Romance twice last year, the horse who would have been a heavy favourite for this event. James Doyle rides.

1.30 Doncaster (Handicap Chase) – CALICO

In the hope that his price holds (at least 7/4 available going into Friday), the clear choice in this two-mile chase is Dan Skelton’s Calico.

The basic form figures he’s published of 22412 make him look more consistent than progressive, but that’s not true at all.

He’s getting better with almost every run and was the only horse allowed to stand his ground against Jonbon last time. With a nice clear round of jumping, Bridget Andrews’ mount shouldn’t have any problems in getting the job done.

3.06 Lingfield (Spring Cup – Listed Race) – ICONIC MOMENT

Lingfield’s seven-furlong Spring Cup has been won by some decent three-year-olds in the past, most notably Paco Boy, but it isn’t too likely to throw up a 2000 Guineas horse.

While the field depth isn’t amazing this time, it may throw up a good one in the shape of the promising Iconic Moment.

James Tate’s runner is unbeaten in two and on a line through times, the form of those he’s beaten and natural progression, he looks as though he may just be on another level to Alpha Capture (giving away 3lbs) and Shouldvebeenaring.

Minnetonka, New Definition and Candle Of Hope all have to improve markedly to get involved though that remains possible for all.

3.15 Doncaster (Grimthorpe Handicap Chase) – COOPER’S CROSS

This could turn out to be a pretty decent Grand National trial over Doncaster’s 3¼-mile chase course.

There’s plenty of money on offer but only an eight-runner field. Does He Know is solid at the top of the weights for Kim Bailey, while a big challenge could also come from Charlie Longsdon’s Castle Robin.

The one I like best is the keenly weighted Cooper’s Cross for the Stuart Coltherd team. After finishing second in the Auld Reekie at Musselburgh he was excellent over three miles around here last time out at Premier Handicap level and the assessors have not caught up to him.

3.35 Kelso (Premier Chase – Listed Race) – ZANZA 

On a valuable day of racing for Kelso, the near-three-mile Premier Chase may go slightly under the radar with the Morebattle having taken place earlier on the card.

Empire Steel has been regressing, while old-timer Wishing And Hoping has it all to do.

The Shunter’s best days are also likely behind him, though the betting has been kept relatively competitive by the fact that the other two main contenders have to give away weight.

Le Milos is the likely favourite, but the manner of Zanza’s victory in the Denman Chase means he can take this despite his big weight, in fact he may even go on. He is also entered at Newbury.

3.45 Meydan (Jebel Hatta – Group 1) – MASTER OF THE SEAS

This is a fair Group 1, at least we should see that as the season goes on it isn’t among the weaker top-level races we will witness in 2023.

El Drama is drawn wide and has work to do on his return, while Russian Emperor ran well in Qatar last time and can be a challenger for a place.

Real World is the likely favourite. Saeed bin Suroor’s runner is famous for chasing Baaeed home but he was also ever so slightly dragged along by the champ and now has to boss his own races – he is also drawn wide.

Valiant Prince is most definitely of Group 1 quality and he’s earned his place in this race with two Group 2 wins over the course and distance, though again he has to come from out wide.

The suggestion then is narrow 2000 Guineas runner-up Master Of The Seas. He came back last year with a lovely win in the Earl Of Sefton but was off the track again until six weeks ago when he won here comfortably.

The Godolphin team know he has a Group 1 in him and he may now get a belated first win at the very top level of the sport.