There will be no Triple Crown winner for at least another year with Guineas winner Saxon Warrior a well beaten fourth in the Derby at the weekend. Impressive winner Masar was the one who improved significantly for the step up to a-mile-and-a-half and Charlie Appleby’s colt is 10/1 (from 33s) with BetVictor for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at ParisLongchamp in October.
Cracksman was not at his best when getting up in the shadows of the post to land the Coronation Cup on Friday but remains 5/2 market leader with BetVictor.
In the opening Million Pound Bet with BetVictor Maiden Stakes at Leicester today Gunforhire (2.10) is taken to improve on a promising racecourse debut for Richard Hannon when fourth at Windsor a week ago. The yard’s juveniles often come on for their opening outing and Sean Levey’s mount is likely to know more about the job in hand this afternoon.
Today’s feature race is The Million Pound Bet with BetVictor.com Fillies’ Conditions Stakes and I am keen on the chances of Roger Varian’s Sheikha Reika (3.10) who has been raised 5lbs for scoring at Newmarket in the manner of a progressive filly last time. That win at HQ was only in maiden company but she looked one to follow at HQ and it is perhaps significant that she holds an entry in the group 1 Coronation Stakes.
The selection is certainly not suited by the conditions of the race and would be much better off with many of her rivals if this were a handicap, but I feel she might be a Group horse in waiting and connections obviously want to know exactly where they stand ahead of the Royal meeting
Di Fede will appreciate the drop back to seven furlongs and Unforgettable Filly is best off at the weights, but I feel Sheikha Reika is worth following until beaten.
Imaginative (3.40) is a fascinating contender in the BetVictor.com Handicap and could be very well treated for the same combination of Varian and Atzeni. The colt ran well when third to subsequent listed winner Aspetar at Windsor at the end of April and gave every impression there was more to come last time – a draw in stall one is a plus.
Capital Flight is one I will be keeping a close eye on in the betting. I remember the Paul Cole-trained gelding running a cracking race on debut behind non-other than Derby second Dee Ex Bee at Goodwood. He has failed to go on from that run although he does step up in trip this afternoon.
Armed (4.40) is entitled to improve for his racecourse debut when runner up to a decent sort of Hugo Palmer. The winning jockey James Doyle suggested post-race it rode like a decent contest and Ed Walker’s colt is taken to go one better this afternoon.
There is the possibility of a shower at Newton Abbot and Christian Williams has his string in good form. Massini’s Dream (2.20) travelled like the best horse in the race when grabbed close home at Kempton last month and this mare should appreciate today’s drop back in trip. Richard Johnson keeps the mount.
The Novices’ Handicap Chase is a cracker and it would be no surprise to see Captain Buck’s bounce back after a couple of below-par efforts. Bandsman (2.50) has done us a couple of favours in recent weeks and can land his hat-trick despite being 12lbs higher than when scoring at Kempton last time. That step up to 2m 4f clearly suited and he gets the vote in a terrific contest.
Stablemate Free Stone Hill (4.50) might have caught a tartar at Warwick last time when running into a rejuvenated Hargam. The selection has been called a few rude names in the past but he jumped and travelled extremely well last time and is only 1lb higher in the weights.