The best of today’s racing comes from Sandown where I hope to see Big Time Maybe (1.40) belatedly shed the maiden tag in the opening nursery over the minimum trip. Tom Dascombe’s 2yo has been well-supported in the market for a couple of maidens earlier in the season, after reportedly lighting up the gallops at Manor House Stables. He has disappointed subsequently however, should improve for the application of a first-time tongue-tie and gets the nod to make it sixth time lucky under regular partner Richard Kingscote.
Kingscote has forged a great partnership with fledgling trainer David Menuisier, who saddles History Writer in the first division of the 7f Maiden. The Canford Cliffs colt is respected on his racecourse debut but with the benefit of experience, preference lies instead with Pam Sly’s Dark Spec (2.45). The colt is out of connections’ classic winner Speciosa and looked to improve from his promising debut when staying on to finish second last time out at Leicester. The son of Dark Angel won’t have any fears with today’s forecast good-to-soft ground and should be good enough to make it third time lucky under Rob Hornby.
John Gosden’s Graffiti Master (3.20) is an eye-catching newcomer in the second division, and can go close to making a winning debut under James Doyle. The well-bred colt is a half-brother to brilliant middle distance performers Monitor Closely and Mount Nelson and by Dubawi is sure to be better next season as a 3yo over a trip.
A field of eight go to post for the feature 3yo Handicap where Robin Weathers (3.55) can maintain his unbeaten record for William Haggas and Pat Cosgrave. The selection got up in the shadow of the post to make a winning debut last month at Salisbury when needing every inch of the 7f trip, and getting the verdict in a very tight photo finish. He should improve for the step up in trip and is a confident selection to make a winning handicap debut from an opening mark of 84.
They go at Thirsk, where I’m keen to take on Exhort under a penalty in the Novice Stakes over a mile. The well-bred colt was far from impressive last time out at Doncaster and may be vulnerable in his attempt to concede 6lb to some smart looking juveniles. I was a big fan of Tim Easterby’s mare Bollin Greta, a seven time winner for connections, and will be looking forward to seeing her second foal Bollin Joan (2.20). Market support would be significant for the Mount Nelson filly, who will undoubtedly be better over much further next season.
The yard saddle last time out winner Stormin Tom in the 2m Handicap but he failed to see the trip out when last tried over the marathon trip and preference lies instead with Noble Behest (3.30) for the in-form yard of Marcus Tregoning. The selection thrived for the step up in trip last time out at Chelmsford, winning a competitive 2m Handicap under the excellent George Wood, and can follow-up from just a 6lb rise at the weights.
Summer jumping continues at Bangor where Dr Robin (3.10) should continue the fine form of father and son duo Peter and Sean Bowen in the feature 3m Handicap Chase. The yard have been operating at a 33% strike-rate over the past fortnight and should better that with this recent Worcester scorer expected to defy a 6lb rise at the weights.
Local trainer Donald McCain is another to have his string in good nick and hat-trick seeking Prince Khurram (4.50) must go close under conditional jockey Lorcan Murtagh. The pilot remains brilliant value for his 5lb claim and, after riding four winners from his last eight rides for trainer Donald McCain, can defy a penalty aboard the in-form gelding.