Newmarket’s three-day July Cup meeting starts tomorrow and the 2018 Derby winner Masar will be looking to build on what was a satisfactory reappearance at Royal Ascot when he stumbled badly at the start and, in the circumstances, ran as well as could be as expected beaten less than five lengths.
He will face five rivals on the July course tomorrow in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes including two Royal Ascot winners Baghdad and Dashing Willoughby – who will ensure there is a true gallop. Godolphin have saddled the winner of this corresponding race for the last couple of years and Masar is 6/5 at BetVictor to land the hat-trick. Going forward I wonder if he will prove more effective dropped back to 10f.
The surface at Kempton this evening is described as standard to slow. Motawaj (6.15) was keen and raced wide on his seasonal reappearance over a mile at Nottingham before staying on steadily in third giving the impression a step up in trip would suit. The winner Prince Of Harts holds an entry at Ascot on Friday.
Roger Varian keeps his lightly-raced 3-y-old at a mile this evening, however, although the hope is that David Egan makes plenty of use of his gelding from a decent draw. Eddie Cochrane was not knocked about at Chepstow last time and starts his life in handicaps off a workable mark – he looks a big danger.
Skyman (6.45) finished the best part of two lengths and one place in front of Motawaj at Nottingham yet can run off a 1lb lower mark in the second division of the 3-y-old handicap! It goes without saying that a big run from Motawaj in the previous race would be a boost to his chance.
Molivaliente (8.45) met trouble in running when runner up at Chelmsford to a filly now rated 74 giving her 5lbs. With that in mind the selection doesn’t exactly look thrown in off an opening mark of 74, but the John Best’s colt met trouble in running on that occasion and looks open to significant improvement. He was well-backed at Chelmsford last time and it will be interesting to see if connections try and recoup losses.
Sir Mark Prescott is usually firing on all cylinders by this stage of the season, but he has been having few runners, let alone winners, in recent weeks at a time when you are looking for many of his staying 3-year-olds to run up a sequence. The Newmarket based handler saddles Land Of Oz (3.20) in the 1m 6f Handicap at Yarmouth and the hope is that this son of Derby winner Australia can kickstart his season. The betting should provide valuable clues. Top-weight Palladium finished runner up to a subsequent winner last time and is a big danger representing inform Martyn Meade.
Prescott also saddles Eve Harrington an American bred half-sister to three turf winners. The filly did win over 7f at Southwell back in January and could be very well treated on her handicap debut. She must be noted for a market mov.
Without that knowledge, however, I also feel there are races to be won with Fearlessly (3.50) who drops back in trip to 10f having looked a possible non-stayer over a trip just shy of 12f at Lingfield on her reappearance. The selection was also squeezed for room just before the furlong pole and gets the vote.
Lever Du Soleil did us a favour at Ayr on Monday and Irish handler Gavin Cromwell’s 4-year-old is the one to beat at Catterick stepping back up to two miles as he chases a quick hat-trick on British soil. Trouble And Strife was an impressive winner at Catterick last season for Prescott and it looks as if the Newmarket handler is throwing his fair share of darts at the board today.
There is rain forecast for the area, however, and Burn Some Dust (4.00) is a stayer who I feel has more to offer as long as there is some cut this season. He has yet to show he stays today’s 2m trip, but this tight track should suit and gets the vote in a hot little race.