Twelve will go to post for Sunday’s Arc and Enable will make her bid for glory from stall nine with two of her main rivals Japan (10) and Ghaiyyath (12) both berthed on her outside while leading French hope Sottass – 7/1 at BetVictor- is likely to need luck in running from stall one. Last year’s fourth Waldgeist, who will race from stall three, has been backed from 16s to 14/1 at BetVictor although no older (4-y-old +) male horse has won the great race since Dylan Thomas back in 2007.
The ground was described as soft at Ascot at noon on Thursday and there is more light rain forecast to hit the track today. In the listed Noel Murless Stakes over 1m 6f Just Hubert and I’ll Have Another would not want any more significant rain and I am going to take a chance on Hereby (2.35) despite the fact that the selection would receive weight from six of her seven rivals if this were a handicap.
Ralph Beckett’s filly has won her last three and ran her best race yet when running away with a Chester handicap last time. She is well drawn for one who likes to race prominently – remember there is a right-hand turn after about a furlong in 1m 6f races at the track – and gives the impression she will cope with the step up to this trip for the first time.
Platinum Nineteen (3.45) is a progressive stayer who has won his last four over 2m for Michael Bell and can defy another 5lbs rise in the weights for scoring at York last time. The classic generation have won six of the last 10 renewals of this handicap and I would be disappointed if this gelded son of Australia did not run a big race.
The 12f Novice Stakes is fascinating with King Power likely to go off favourite for Andrew Balding. Connections will want to get a win next to this well-bred Frankel filly who was beaten just over 10l when third in the listed Oaks trial to Annapurna at Lingfield back in the spring. That form was franked when the winner followed up at Epsom, but King Power has failed to fire in three subsequent starts.
I hope to see Ryan Moore make plenty of use of Caravan Of Hope (4.20) who has finished in the frame in all four starts. The form of his latest second at Ffos Las was franked by the winner at Haydock and I hope he can outstay his rivals.
Mubakker (4.55) has won two of his three career starts, both on the all-weather, and was most impressive when scoring at Kempton last time. His ability to handle soft ground must be taken on trust but he looked one to follow last time for Sir Michael Stoute. Aplomb failed to give his running at Newmarket last time, running just six days after winning at Leicester. He looks a big danger back on a soft surface.
Trainer Dave Roberts should have had a winner at Bangor on Wednesday, but his runner G’Day Aussie couldn’t get a clear run going to the last and was beaten half a length. The hope is that his Vif Argent (5.05) can go one better in the finale at Hexham. The 10-year-old finished runner up at Warwick last time back over timber and his winning form is all with plenty of cut in the ground.
Neil Mulholland could have a big day at Fontwell, but in the finale I am looking forward to the return to the track of Dadsintrouble (5.15) representing Tim Vaughan who has his string in such good form. The 9-y-old has not seen the track for over 500-days but the booking of Richard Johnson would suggest the gelding – who has won first time out in the past – is forward enough to do himself justice.