Goodwood 1.55 – What About Carlo
Lacks the potential of one or two, but comes here in form and with optimum conditions at a course where he has often run really well. The stable has had an excellent couple of years and is in decent form. Any further showers would be ideal for What About Carlo, and this highly likeable seven year old can run another bold race.
Goodwood 2.30 – Grand Koonta
This is as strong a three-year-old handicap as you’ll find and I fancy about 12 of them, but the one that appeals most is Grand Koonta. He made a stylish impression when he broke his maiden at Windsor on softish ground, looked like he wanted a stiffer test of stamina in the July Stakes & was nicely backed before a very respectable 5th in a good Mill Reef behind real sprinters. He has a lot of quality, is handily drawn (with the pace not to squander it) and should love the extra furlong. A very interesting horse today and for the rest of the season.
Haydock 2.15 – The Grand Visir
He comes with risks attached as he’s not a guaranteed stayer and he ran indifferently on his comeback. That said, every horse is entitled to a sharpener and The Grand Visir did enough in the Melrose at York last year to suggest he could be quite a promising stayer. The excellent trainer has gone for the cheekpieces today, and this race looks within his compass. I’m frightened of Mancini who takes a big jump in class but may cope with it given the rate of his improvement.
Haydock 2.50 – Adjutant (e/w)
Another super-tough handicap with a long short-list! Adjutant is probably winning fewer fans than most – he broke his maiden at 50/1 then pulled like a mustang before scrambling home in a race he should have won much more easily at Wolverhampton. A brisk pace and Jamie Spencer will combine to settle him today and the recent rain is very much in his favour on the evidence of both his Newbury win and his pedigree. The handicapper hasn’t been able to do much damage and he’s still under the radar a bit.
Haydock 3.25 – Sands of Mali
A rather dull selection perhaps as we’ve got two exciting returning juveniles in Heartache and Barraquero, but the selection looks all over a sprinter for the moment judged on his recent win at Chantilly on soft ground. This is a stronger race still, but he has race conditioning and the recent rain firmly on his side. This promises to be an excellent trial for the Commonwealth Cup.
Haydock 4.00 – Battaash (Mrs Gallagher ew)
I’m fully expecting Battaash to blow these away provided he doesn’t have one of his rare blips in the preliminaries. He’s the highest rated gelding of all time with Timeform and ran scarcely believable numbers at Goodwood and Chantilly (the first on pretty revolting ground). He’s also got the confirmed trailblazer Take Cover drawn next to him. Admittedly Kachy looked a bit freakish on the clock at Chester last time, but he’s always been a bit more devastating on a turning track and has a bit more on his plate here.
If you’re looking for a wild one at a price, Mrs Gallagher has harnessed her freegoing nature well this year to pick up Listed races. She gets a big weight/sex allowance and, with conditions to suit, might sneak into the frame.
York 3.05 – Precious Ramotswe
I’m not sure this Group 3 will take as much winning as the excellent prize money suggests it should. Precious Ramotswe is unexposed and although there are mixed messages in her pedigree, she looks as though staying distances may be her forte. She represents top connections and needs only to build a little on her convincing comeback win at Brighton. She might have most to fear from the French trained filly Do Re Mi Fa Sol.
York 3.40 – Major Jumbo
He came off third best in a bunch finish behind the admirable El Astronaute here the other day, but might well do best of those who ran in that key race. First, he was drawn on the wrong part of the track; second, he is better off at the weights; third, the ground will not be quite as quick (which will suit). This is a wildly competitive sprint, but Major Jumbo has a very solid chance with a good claimer booked.