A double from Great Britain and Ireland captain Fran Berry saw the hosts win the 2017 renewal of the Shergar Cup in front of a packed crowd at Ascot. The best of the action came from elsewhere however, with Mark Johnston’s Frankuss making all to win the Rose of Lancaster at Haydock and the Richard Hannon-trained Tajaanus showing a smart turn of foot to win the Gp 3 Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.
The latter is now 33/1 with BetVictor for the 1000 Guineas next season, after her trainer confirmed that Sheikh Hamdan’s unbeaten filly ‘will be trained like a Guineas filly until she proves us otherwise’ – with that in mind 33/1 could prove a big price next spring.
Hannon has a good record with runners at Windsor and should go close with Fanfair in the competitive handicap over a mile and a quarter. The Royal Applause filly impressed earlier in the campaign, winning handicaps at Leicester and Bath but has been raised 10lb for those efforts and preference lies instead with Medalla de Oro (6.40). He is bred to appreciate the drying ground and after scoring here over a mile and a half two weeks ago, and can follow-up dropping back in trip under Jack Mitchell.
Godolphin’s Don’t Give Up is likely to be a warm favourite for the feature £20.000 handicap over a mile and a quarter however, I’m very sweet on the chances of Simon Crisford’s Celebration Day (7.10) chasing a fourth win of the campaign. The selection has been in rude health this term, winning three times over today’s trip, and was impressive over course and distance here las time out. A 4lb rise at the weights is negated by talented apprentice Edward Greatrex’s 3lb claim and he is a confident selection to reward each-way support at 5/1 with BetVictor.
Codicil (7.40) looks a smart one for trainer Sir Mark Prescott and can maintain his unbeaten record in the nursery over a mile. The Lawman colt made a winning debut at Kempton earlier in the campaign and followed-up under a penalty last month at Beverley. He is one of just a handful of first time out winners for the yard and, long-term, looks a cracking colt for connections Cheveley Park Stud.
As well as Celebration Day at Windsor, I fancy a couple of Simon Crisford runners elsewhere with Affina (1.45) expected to defy a penalty in the Ayr opener. She showed a terrific attitude to shed the maiden tag at the second time of asking and should have no problems following-up under regular partner Graham Lee.
There’s good prize on offer this afternoon at Ripon, where West Drive (3.00) appears well-placed to land 1m 6f Handicap for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni. The son of Sea the Stars won over this afternoon’s trip last time out at Sandown, relishing the step up to a mile and three quarters, and is a confident selection to defy a 3lb rise at the weights.
The third and final Crisford runner, and hopefully winner, is Eagle Creek (3.30) bidding to complete a quick-fire double for jockey Andrea Atzeni. The gelded son of Ravens Pass cost a small fortune as a juvenile and shaped with plenty of promising when making a winning reappearance on the all-weather back in April.
He ran as if amiss on his handicap debut at Newmarket, beating just one home having been well-supported in the market, but remains open to further improvement and is well worth another chance against exposed rivals.