The form of Hazapour’s Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial win at Leopardstown was given a huge boost when the fourth home Platinum Warrior comfortably won a Group 3 at the Curragh on Sunday. Hazapour will be ridden by Frankie Dettori at Epsom on Saturday and the nephew of dual Derby winner Harzand is now 10/1 (from 14s) at BetVictor for the Derby.
I remain keen to take on Saxon Warrior at the odds (4/6 at BetVictor) given possible stamina limitations whilst acknowledging his Guineas’ win is the best form by some way going into the race.
The feature race at Nottingham this afternoon is the Class 2 Handicap over the extended mile. Daira Prince is 6lbs higher – and 1lb out of the weights – than when scoring over C&D earlier in the month and has the worst of the draw to overcome.
Bless Him won the Britannia at Royal Ascot last summer but lacks a recent run and is 6lbs worse off with Tricorn (3.50) who gets the nod for John Gosden. The 4-year-old looked a bit rusty at Newmarket on his seasonal reappearance but is well drawn today and he can take what looks a trial for the Royal Hunt Cup.
Northwest Frontier (8.40) is impossible to oppose given how well he won at Nottingham last week stepped up to two miles for the first time. The handicapper has raised him 9lbs for that success so he is 3lbs “well in” carrying a 6lbs penalty. Tonight’s race at Ripon should be run at a decent gallop with confirmed front-runner Stormin Tom in the field and the Richard Fahey-trained selection looked a decent staying prospect at Colwick Park.
In the last likely favourite Department Of War did not look to be crying out for a step up in trip when third at Newmarket last time. I thought Tenedos (9.10) looked potentially smart when making a winning debut at Kempton over a mile back in October and he is preferred for Hugo Palmer and Josephine Gordon. The other once-raced winner MC Muldoon looks a big danger for Peter Chapple-Hyam in what should be a most informative finale.
It was only a seller that Metronic (4.00) won at Ripon last time but he can race from the same mark at Beverley this afternoon as when scoring over C&D back in June. Apprentice Sebastian Woods only claims 5lbs today but he is excellent value and a draw in stall four is a positive for a horse who likes to race prominently.
At Cartmel Man Of Steel (4.10) has won the last two renewals of the Hunter Chase and is taken to land the hat-trick having shown his current wellbeing when scoring over 4 miles in an open point-to-point earlier in the month.
Red Tortue (4.40) may have found 2m 3f just a shade too far at Warwick last time but travelled well for much of the race and this extended two mile trip should be ideal for the nine-year-old who raced freely and three wide for much of the contest last time. Richard Patrick is excellent value for his 5lb claim and he keeps the ride.
The mare Whatduhavtoget (5.40) was an impressive winner on her chase debut at Warwick over two-and-a-half miles last time and she is taken to follow up despite dropping back to the minimum trip this evening. I am loath to desert Sedgefield winner Curious Carlos but that chase success was not the strongest of contests and this will be a much sterner test of his fencing.
Included (6.45) has left David Dennis since disappointing on soft ground at Cartmel back in July and she has her first start for Alastair Ralph tonight. The mare is reunited with Sam Twiston-Davies, can go well fresh and enjoys good or faster ground.
Too Much Too Soon (7.15) was backed as if defeat was out of the question (2m 6f) when third at Market Rasen on his first start for Dan Skelton. He is entitled to come on for the run and this evening’s two-and-a-half mile trip looks ideal. The handicapper may have taken a chance leaving him on the same mark and I feel connections can recoup losses.