I remain confident of the chances of Benbatl (5/1 at BetVictor) in the opening Queen Anne Stakes over the straight mile at Royal Ascot on Tuesday but the market mover in the last 48-hours has been for French raider Recoletos (5 from 7s with BetVictor) who has won both starts so far this season, including a moderate renewal of the Prix d’Ispahan over nine furlongs at ParisLongchamp last month.
In the absence of stablemate Legends of War Calyx is 5/2 with BetVictor for the Coventry Stakes and it would be no surprise if he was vying for favouritism come post time although Ballydoyle’s Sergei Prokofiev remains 7/4 market leader.
At Sandown this afternoon Eagle Hunter (2.35) is taken to go one better than when runner up to a Godolphin runner – Dubai Legacy – who holds an entry in Tuesday’s Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting. Ryan Moore is booked for Hugo Palmer’s colt who should appreciate the step up to 7f and has a good draw in stall five.
Marcus Tregoning has his string in good form and Bronze Angel is likely to go well for a long time and is well drawn but does he really get this ten-furlong trip? Turnpike Trip is entitled to come on for his reappearance when he met trouble in running at Windsor although I felt it was only a moderate run and is best watched although a market move would be worth noting.
Ryan Moore keeps the ride on Aclimitise (3.45) for Mark Johnston and the selection is 3lbs “well-in” despite carrying a 6lbs penalty for last weekend’s Newmarket success. The four-year-old has won two of his last three starts and fast ground clearly suits.
Preening (4.20) chased home a useful colt at Thirsk on her reappearance and had the third beaten a fair way back. Ryan Moore – yes again – takes the ride for James Fanshawe and this filly can return to winning ways on her handicap debut. The selection has only had three career starts, looks open to significant improvement and might get further in time.
I am worried about the draw (stall 10 of 10) for Beringer (4.50) but I was quite taken with his recent Leicester success and he can defy his 6lbs penalty for Alan King. The 3-y-old should have the race run to suit with the recently gelded Returning Glory likely to try and make all. A market move for the Saeed bin Suroor horse would be worth noting with the drop back in trip likely to suit.
A good card at York and I hope to see Zeelander (5.15) go one better than when runner up her at the Dante meeting from a 7lbs lower mark. That form was let down by winner Reverend Jacobs at Musselburgh last weekend but I am convinced the latter is much better than he showed in Scotland. David Egan looks a good booking for the selection in this apprentice handicap.
At Goodwood this evening Come On Tier (8.15) should appreciate the step back up to a mile having finished runner up to the promising Caradoc – run well at Haydock midweek – at Chester trying to give him 6lbs last time. David Simcock has his team in good form and I expect him to make a bold bid from stall two – Litigation would be 2lbs higher in the weights if this were run on Saturday but I just favour the Simcock runner.
At Aintree this evening Fact Of The Matter (6.50) has had his wind tweaked since looking a non-stayer in the Scottish National last time but has had a little break since that 4m contest and Jamie Snowden remains in cracking form.
The fly in the ointment could be Knockaderry Flyer who won a Hunter Chase at Cheltenham when last seen albeit in May 2017. He has a history of going well fresh and has joined a top-class yard of Fergal O’Brien.
Cause Toujours (7.20) easily landed the odds at Kempton last time on his first start for Ian Williams and connections fit him with a hood this evening in the hope that he will be more amenable to restraint given he was a bit too keen last time.
Cause Toujours used to be in the care of Dan Skelton and it might be interesting that they run Parthenius returning from his own wind operation this evening. This 5-y-old was inconvenienced by soft ground on his last couple of starts but he can go well fresh and a market move must be considered significant given they should know where they stand with Cause Toujours.
I hope tonight is the night for Free Stone Hill (7.55) who jumped well but failed to get home on rain-softened ground at Newton Abbot last time. There is plenty of pace in today’s field with Indian Temple and Theflyingportrait perennial front-runners. The selection has been called a few names in the past but if the ground is on the fast side of good I feel he must go close in this hot handicap chase.
I’m going to give Drinks Interval (8.25) the chance to prove her recent Uttoxeter run was not her form with James Bowen taking over in the saddle for Colin Tizzard.