Saturday’s Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury is one of the weekend highlights and there is little rain forecast at the Berkshire track between now and post time. That will suit BetVictor’s 5/2 market leader Frontiersman although marginal preference at this stage is for the three-year-old Defoe (11/4 at BetVictor) who has won all three starts this term and is 14/1 for the final classic of the season at Doncaster next term.
Jump racing is back after its 10-day sabbatical at Newton Abbot and Curious Carlos will have his supporters with James Bowen taking off a valuable 10lbs but Aidan Coleman is a positive booking for Coeur Tantre (3.00) having his first start for Anthony Honeyball.
The selection is also fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time this afternoon, and it should be noted that his sole career win came over today’s C&D off this mark for former trainer Hugo Froud. If his new yard and/or the headgear can eek about a little bit of improvement he will be hard to beat off just 10st 2lbs. Galizzi has had a recent pipe opener on the flat and is worth a check in the market with Richard Johnson booked, but he must give 15lbs to the selection.
At Bangor-on-Dee this evening, I am going to give another chance to Deadly Move (6.50) back on decent ground having finished third at Uttoxeter last time on ground softer than ideal. The selection is not weighted to reverse form with runner up Wade Harper but the ground is key to the Peter Bowen-trained former pointer.
Donald McCain likes to have winners at his local track and Middlebrow (7.50) can make a winning chase debut returning from a three-month lay-off. The selection travelled well but looked a non-stayer in his Irish points before winning a Bumper on soft ground in Ireland and he returns to the track off what looks a decent mark. Ballyandrew and Sage Monkey look serious dangers with the latter unlikely to run into as well handicapped a rival as Daulys Anthem was at Stratford at the beginning of the month.
There is a good card at Salisbury where the highlight is the listed Upavon Fillies Stakes and Playful Sound (3.50) gets the vote back of faster ground having finished third in this grade at York on good to soft ground last month. I felt the filly was well up to this grade when winning on her return at Newmarket and she must go close although a draw in stall seven in less than ideal.
High Hopes was never placed to challenge stepped up to a mile-and-a-half at Newmarket last time and this drop back in trip will suit although there must be a concern that the ground will be a shade too quick for this filly.
It wasn’t much of a race that Dragons Voice won last time out at Windsor, but Pip Hide’s gelding was well on top in the end although this is a much better race. Black Trilby is better than he showed when last seen six weeks ago and a market move would be worth noting. Rigoletto (3.20) didn’t have much luck in running at HQ last time and this colt can return to winning ways for Luca Cumani and Jamie Spencer.
At Gowran Park, the ground is a slight concern for Fiesole (6.00) who finished runner up from this mark at Fairyhouse last time. Denis Linehan takes off a valuable 5lbs which helps and he may have most to fear from his old adversary San Remo and the lightly-raced top-weight Massayan who is blinkered for the first time for Dermot Weld.