There is a good card at Goodwood this evening and Humble Hero (7.05) looked an unlucky loser when beaten a head – having been taken across the course by the winner – at Chester last time. The William Haggas – trained 4-year-old would have got the race in the Stewards’ Room in any other racing jurisdiction.
The winner Star Of The East did little for the form at Epsom last weekend, but I am convinced there is more to come from the selection who needs to win to stand any chance of getting a run in the Northumberland Plate at the end of the month.
Sky Eagle looked ready for a step up in trip when third at York in a decent handicap last month and is another who will win more races this term, but I just give the nod to Humble Hero.
There is the chance of a shower at the Sussex track which would suit Pretty Jewel who ran away with a handicap here last week on soft ground. If the showers were significant Ian William’s filly would be hard to oppose with the return to a mile-and-a-half in her favour, but as long as the ground is no worse than good I feel the lightly-raced 3-y-old Arcadian Cat (7.40) can improve past her three rivals.
The selection was no match for Lah Ti Dar on her seasonal; debut and was again well held – but not disgraced – when fourth in a listed event over ten furlongs last time. She is not guaranteed to appreciate the slight step up in trip but she gets the vote ahead of the other 3-y-old Gift Of Hera who is 3lbs “well in” despite carrying a 6lbs penalty for her facile Wolverhampton success at the end of May.
At Haydock Sacred Path (8.00) got the hang of things just too late when beaten at Goodwood on debut over 10f and looks sure to appreciate the extra quarter of a mile this evening. There is plenty of stamina in the selection’s pedigree and it looks significant that the filly holds an entry in the Gp 2 Ribblesdale Stakes in a fortnight’s time.
It should be noted that the Roger Varian-trained debutante Elasia also holds an entry in the Ribblesdale and this has the makings of a very hot maiden.
The form of The Last Emperor’s (8.35) Yarmouth second to the now 90-rated Barford at Yarmouth last August would suggest the selection is well-treated from an opening mark of 83. Roger Varian’s colt has had his wind tweaked since he disappointed on his final juvenile start in listed company and if the step up to 10f helps – mixed messages from his pedigree – he will be tough to beat.
The filly Sempre Pesto is likely to be all the rage in the 11f handicap for 3-year-olds at Carlisle following her win at Pontefract last time over a furlong shorter last time – the handicapper could have let her off leniently with only a 2lbs rise.
Marginal preference, however, goes to I’m Improving (4.00) who suggested he would improve for a step up in trip when a staying on fourth at Wetherby on his reappearance last month. Keith Dalgleish fits his colt with a hood for the first time and it should be noted that his lightly-raced 3-y-old holds an entry in the Queen’s Vase later in the month.
It is Horse and Hound Cup night at Stratford one of my favourite meetings of the year and I am keen on the chance of Royalraise (8.25) in the Handicap Hunter Chase over 2m 5f for Oliver Sherwood. The selection travelled well but was outstayed at Warwick last time and should get a good lead from the confirmed front-runner Creevytenant who would have got the vote had the race been run right-handed.
Pique Rock (5.35) has been in good form between the flags of late and she is taken to land the opening Restricted Novices’ Hunters Chase for Philip Rowley and Alex Edwards who I felt gave What A Laugh a terrific ride in defeat at Bangor earlier in the week.
In the big one I think Wonderful Charm (7.50) will reverse the placings from the 2017 renewal with Young Hurricane and Irish raider Balnaslow under Sam Waley-Cohen. I was impressed with the way the selection easily picked up Al Co at Fontwell last time and he gets the narrow vote.