The 48-hour declarations were announced on Thursday for Saturday’s Newbury card which features the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes over 1m 5f. Defoe took this corresponding race en route to a crack at the St Leger 12 months ago.
Connections of BetVictor’s 3/1 favourite Raymond Tusk are also considering a visit to Doncaster next month if their colt – who receives 9lbs from his elders – runs a big race at the weekend. Richard Hannon’s son of High Chaparral is 16/1 with BetVictor for the last classic of the season.
There is a competitive meeting (82 runners in the eight-race card) at the Berkshire track today and Game Player is allowed 1lb for the half-length he was beaten by Exec Chief on his belated comeback at Lingfield last month. Roger Varian’s lightly-raced 3-y-old is entitled to come on for the run, but I wonder if 7f will be his trip.
The vote goes to Hombre Castado (2.25) a dual winner at a mile this season who put a poor run behind him when looking a non-stayer over 10f on his last start at Sandown. The return to today’s trip should suit and Gerald Mosse takes over in the saddle for Ed Walker for the first time.
Saroog is only 5lbs higher for running away with a Sandown handicap although that form may not be as strong as appeared at the time. Continuum continues to fall in the weights and the booking of Oisin Murphy takes the eye.
This is a much better race than the one Cliffs Of Dover won at Haydock last week although a 6lbs penalty still means that the likely favourite is 4lbs “well in”. The selection, however, is Sky Eagle (2.55) who returns from a 70-day break for the same Walker/Mosse axis as in the previous race.
Sky Eagle has not seen the track since finishing second to Shraaoh at Goodwood at the beginning of June from a 1lb lower mark but looks a progressive young stayer. Connections will be hoping that Thursday’s forecast rain hits the track for this lightly-raced colt.
Alhakmah (4.35) is taken to go one better than when second at Goodwood on debut when she finished with a rare rattle when the penny dropped. With that experience behind her she will be hard to beat, Ryan Moore keeps the ride and the filly holds a number of fancy entries later in the campaign from 6f up to a mile.
At Nottingham Qutob (1.30) is no star based on his short head defeat from a penalised rival over today’s C&D on debut, but he was backed as if he was “expected” and he does hold multiple group entries.
I wouldn’t want too much rain for Gumriyah (4.45) who is making her handicap debut having won a Salisbury maiden on fast ground back in June. That race wasn’t anything out of the ordinary, but the filly has a useful pedigree and William Buick is a positive booking.
At Wolverhampton Eyelool is likely to be all the rage for William Haggas in the 7f nursery, but the hope is that the horse leads at a good gallop and helps sets the race up for Gunforhire (3.15). The selection was only beaten half a length when staying on in third at Newbury a week ago and he would have to carry an additional 3lbs if this race were to be run from tomorrow onwards.
I’ve been banging on about History Writer (8.05) most of the summer and am pleased that he finally got his head in front at Sandown last time on his handicap debut. The colt is 7lbs higher at Newmarket this evening but, as long as there is enough juice in the ground, I expect David Menuisier’s colt to follow up.