We have a really nice mix of flat and jump action ahead of us on Saturday with Fox Chairman looking an absolute “banker” in the Steventon Stakes at Newbury and Sparkle Roll is the class act in the Aphrodite Fillies’ Stakes at HQ. Additionally, The Tin Man bids to win the Hackwood Stakes for a second time.
Market Rasen plays host to it’s biggest day of the year with the unbeaten Longhouse Sale looking the one to beat in the Summer Hurdle and Gortroe Joe holding big claims for the Summer Plate.
I think that Fox Chairman is slightly unlucky not to be 3-3 this season having won well on debut and then meeting trouble in both the Dee Stakes and Hampton Court at Ascot. He’s an improving type that can continue to progress and I can’t see him getting beaten.
The most likely to chase Andrew Balding’s charge home is Pondus who went into the King George VII Stakes chasing a hat-trick but trailed in well behind Japan. He probably didn’t stay that day and the drop in trip should suit.
The Godolphin owned First Nation brings some strong form into the race but has had plenty of chances and should come up short again here.
Selection: Fox Chairman
Roger Charlton’s Withhold was bidding for back to back victories in the Northumberland Plate only to be ruled out prior to the race. He picked up an injury when last seen in Australia and if fully wound up he’s feasibly treated. Given his owner, I’d let the market guide as to his chances.
Who Dares Wins should plenty of guts to win the aforementioned Northumberland Plate mowing down Dubai Fifty in the shadow of the post. He’s now 11 pounds higher than his last winning mark on the turf and although he’ll run well, I didn’t see him winning.
Carnwennan is seeking a four-timer here and has really appreciated stepping up in trip this season. He races off a career-high mark but continues to improve and could be hard to contain. Of the outsiders, the smart jumper Litterale Ci catches the eye. He hasn’t been seen on the flat since his three-year-old days in France but looks on a fair mark and could surprise a few under Josephine Gordon.
Selection: Litterale Ci – E/W
The Tin Man took this contest back in 2016 and should do so again given that he’s rated six-pounds higher than his closest rival and wasn’t beaten far in the Diamond Jubilee when last seen. Oisin has built up a good relationship with him with the pair having won a Group 1 last season and it’s hard to see him getting beaten.
Clive Cox has a fantastic record with sprinters and produced Snazzy Jazzy to win a listed race over six furlongs most recently. Although that was a fine performance he’s up against seasoned sprinters and will more than likely struggle to trouble the favourite.
I find it hard to see anything else getting involved with Doujant Triumphant possible the most likely to run well at an each-way price.
Selection: The Tin Man
Super Sprint Stakes
Richard Fahey and Richard Hannon have trained four of the last five winners of this valuable contest for two-year-olds. The pair are responsible for eight of the twenty-five intended runners. The main hope for the Fahey yard is obviously Ventura Rebel who just missed out in the Albany at Ascot and looks set to go a red-hot favourite here.
The much-raced Separate is the main representative for the Hannon stable but has only one victory from five starts and has a lot of ground to find out Ventura Rebel on their Albany meeting.
Karl Burke’s yard has started to hit top form in recent times and the once-raced Never In Paris put in a very taking performance on debut at Nottingham. This is a big step up in class but the well-bred colt could be up to it.
The horse I like at a price is Taxiwala who has been gelded since running in the Windsor Castle which could bring about further improvement and with the magic man Oisin Murphy in the plate, he could sneak a place.
Selection: Taxiwala – E/W
John Constable took this contest two years ago off a fifteen-pounds higher mark and although he ran well two starts back but his last run at Cartmel was very disappointing. If refinding his old sparkle then he’s obviously well in but it’s a big if.
Dan Skelton bids for a second victory in the race with Longhouse Sale who’s unbeaten in seven starts in point to points, bumpers and over hurdles. He has to give weight away to all his rivals but has looked impressive on all starts to date and could be a Grade 1 horse in a handicap.
The young and upcoming trainer Olly Murphy is doubly represented by St Gallen who’s won both starts for the stable but showed his limitations when trained in Ireland and Valentino Dancer who is 2-3 over hurdles at present but may lack the class to win a contest of this level.
Selection: Longhouse Sale
Gortroe Joe was a wide margin winner of a course and distance handicap on his most recent start over fences. That was just his second run in a handicap and there could be a lot more to come from Dan Skelton’s charge.
The ex-Irish trained Ronava was a decent sort for former connections before going pointing and then back to the track for Dr Richrad Newland who historically does very well with this type of race. I worry that he’s back to near a career-high mark and is unlikely to land the hat-trick here. The good doctor also runs Trigger Nichol who’ll be partnered by Sam Twiston-Davies but I think he’ll have his work cut out for him off his current mark.
Last season’s victor More Buck’s will have had this race on his radar for some time and had a pleasing prep run over the course two weeks ago. That being said he’s six-pounds higher than last season’s winning mark and could be in better form.
The lightly-raced Pacific De Baune carries top-weight following a smooth victory at Newton Abbot most recently. Nick Henderson’s charge is open to plenty of improvement and may shoulder all that weight to victory.
Henryville got back to winning ways on seasonal debut last week but got a hefty ten-pound hike in the weight accordingly. That may be enough to hinder a quick attempt at a double.
Selection: Gortroe Jack
Aphrodite Fillies’ Stakes
Sparkle Roll brings some very strong form into the race having finished third in the Ribblesdale at Ascot when last seen. She’s five-pounds clear on ratings and will take all the beating. Kesia looked like a very smart filly when taking her maiden at Ascot back in May. John Gosden seems to excel with his fillies’ and it’ll be interesting to see how she fares now.
Harry Fry has a rare listed runner on the level with Four White Socks who ran fine in a Group 3 at Cork on season/stable debut. She has some decent form to her name from last season and could go well.
Brian Meehan and Martin Dwyer have a longstanding association and team up again here with Spirit Of Appin who won a handicap on seasonal debut and then ran a fine race to finish fourth in a listed race. She needs to take another step forward if she is to feature and may fill the placings.
Selection: Sparkle Roll