Desert Encounter and Second Step were very closely matched in their running earlier on in the season, but with a 3Ibs pull, I fancy Desert Encounter to reverse the form. He subsequently ran two pretty solid races, first an excellent third in The Eclipse and then a better-than-it-looked sixth in the King George.
Sean Levey is riding really well at present and after quite a gruelling experience at Ascot on ground which might have been on the soft side, he can bounce back here.
I’ve got a suspicion that Across The Stars could do quite well at a good price and he ran well enough behind Duretto last week at Chester to make me think he could be winner of a Group 3 again, but he’s got good form back in the book and with Ryan Moore in the saddle, he worries me slightly.
The Mill Reef Stakes can go the way of James Garfield who’s being teed up for a bid to win the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar. He’ll certainly have the tactical speed around there and I don’t think the drop to 6f on a British race course is going to inconvenience him, given how well he travelled in The Acomb, before getting run down by more of a staying prospect.
In the Dubai Duty Free Handicap I’ll be backing Baydar Each Way. His form figures this season are dreadful, he’s badly drawn and he really didn’t cut much ice at York last time.
However, his previous trainer thought he was on a pretty decent handicap mark, he ran an eye-catching race at Goodwood when he got no luck in running, he’s a course and distance winner, he has his first start for Ian Williams and he’s got Sylvester de Sousa on him – he also won the race last year and is only a pound higher here.
In the 5f race, it could be a real burn up on the front end with Take Cover, Thesme and Caspian Prince all in the race and even with a penalty I think Muthmir is the one to beat.
As he’s got older he’s become cuter and he needs the race to collapse around him which this one could do.
He seems to have shown a bit more application this season with the cheek pieces and given the fact I quite like the look of Waady, Jim Crowley choosing Muthmir just sways me in his direction.
Best Of Luck.
Nicks Newbury Picks
2.15 – Legacy Cup Stakes – Desert Encounter
2.50 – Mill Reef Stakes – James Garfield
3.25 – 3-y-o Handicap – Baydar E/W
4.00 – 5f Group 3 – Muthmir
Odds are provided at time of writing, please check your betslip to confirm they have not changed before betting.