As we leave the Derby behind and creep closer to Royal Ascot, there are no domestic Group 1 races. There are however plenty of top-class events over the water in New York.
At home, the best action comes from Haydock Park which hosts John of Gaunt Stakes Day. Over at Belmont, there are three Grade One races on Friday, five more on Saturday including the final leg of the Triple Crown as well as a bunch of other Graded events. That’s where we start.
Friday 9th June 2023
9.41 Belmont Park (New York Stakes – Grade 1) – WITH THE MOONLIGHT
Charlie Appleby is sending a team to New York this weekend and he may get off to a flyer despite talk of the stable being out of form. With The Moonlight already has form figures in North America of 2122 but she should be hitting a new career high this time over 1m2f.
With The Moonlight is drawn widest, but this is only an eight-runner field and she is next door to her biggest market rival War Like Goddess. A bigger rival may be the overpriced Didia, but William Buick is taken to get the job done in the saddle.
10.14 Belmont Park (Acorn Stakes – Grade 1) – RANDOMIZED
One for the three-year-old fillies over an extended mile on the dirt. Godolphin’s Kentucky Oaks winner Pretty Mischievous goes again, but her Oaks wasn’t that strong and she carries a big penalty now.
Accede can improve while the majority of the money will be for Munnys Gold after her Eight Belles Stakes second, but the overpriced improver is certainly Randomized.
Chad Brown’s filly won absolutely as she liked last time and, on a line through the horse she beat, she should already be rated higher than this field and will take another step forward on what is only her third career start.
10.47 Belmont Park (Belmont Gold Cup – Grade 2) – SISKANY
Charlie Appleby’s second dart at the Belmont board may also land. His Siskany, a Newmarket and Meydan winner, reached a new career high in March when only just touched off by Broome in the Dubai Gold Cup.
It seems this two-mile trip is ideal for him and, even at these weights, he should have too much for Strong Tide, Amazing Grace, Channel Maker and Cross Border. High Definition appears to be going backwards on the Flat.
Saturday 10th June 2023
1.15 Haydock (Achilles Stakes – Listed Race) – PRINCE OF PILLO
A good race for a Listed contest. Raasel, Korker and Regional are all capable while Equilateral will be popular with Frankie Dettori on board.
More interesting is Clarendon House who may prefer this to last week’s Epsom Dash, but the most fascinating runner is Keith Dalgleish’s Prince Of Pillo.
Improving all the time, he lost two places late on at Newmarket last time but on a flatter track he’d have won that, would be coming into this as a Group 3 scorer, would be rated around 108 and now has Ryan Moore on board.
3.00 Haydock (Lester Piggott Stakes – Group 3) – MODAARA
This is the race formerly known as the Pinnacle, a 1½-mile contest for the fillies.
Potential favourites Mimikyu and Time Lock may not be at their best. The former has a 5lb penalty to haul along, while the latter may not be at her very best on the ground. Sea Silk Road, Poptronic and Nachtrose may give those fillies plenty to do.
Modaara is the standout after her thrilling 13-length win at Kempton. She didn’t have much to beat that day, but she was exceptional to look at and the numbers backed it up. She may be a Group 1 filly.
3.35 Haydock (John of Gaunt Stakes – Group 3) – EL CABALLO
Australian sprinter The Astrologist is surely much better than his first outing in Britain, but at the weights he may still struggle to be at his best.
The Wizard Of Eye has strong form too, but El Caballo is a classy sort who represents a stable in flying form and he can take another step forward.
8.02 Belmont Park (Ogden Phipps Stakes – Grade 1) – SECRET OATH
Our old favourite and former Kentucky Oaks winner Secret Oath keeps putting in performances and, to a degree, is constantly underrated.
Once again, she is not set to go off favourite despite her profile and so she is backed to score at Grade 1 level once more. Clairiere, Played Hard, Pass The Champagne and Search Results are all capable.
10.54 Belmont Park (Manhattan Stakes – Grade 1) – WARREN POINT
Charlie Appleby runs two this time in the 1¼-mile Manhattan, with the apparent outsider of the pair fancied at the weights and certainly at the odds.
True, Ottoman Fleet won a Grade 2 at Belmont five weeks ago and is the mount of Will Buick, but after he won at the Craven meeting Appleby said there was no real target for him. He is simply a horse in form, but he hasn’t been specifically prepared for this.
Running to a very similar level has been teammate Warren Point. He looked a winner round here four weeks ago with 300 yards to go only to fade out, but he’ll be sharper now, has a furlong less to cover and gets 4lbs from his pal.
Soldier Rising, Red Knight and Up To The Mark are best of the rest.
12.02 Belmont Park (Belmont Stakes – Grade 1) – TAPIT TRICE
Forte is back after missing the Kentucky Derby. He is likely to go off favourite too. The other main players are Angel Of Empire, National Treasure and Tapit Trice with the latter having the perfect pedigree for this race.
Tapit has a great record in the Belmont, while his son Tapit Trice also showed near enough the best three-year-old form of the spring when winning the Bluegrass and he will thrive going a mile and a half around Big Sandy.