Just the two meetings in Britain and Ireland with the cards at Southwell, Chelmsford and Wolverhampton lost to the elements. It is somewhat ironic that we have lost more meetings this summer due to the heatwave than we did through frost last winter. Climate change? You bet.
Celestial Star is visored for the first time by Keith Dalgleish as he bids to end a frustrating run of placed efforts including a second at Ayr last time back in maiden company. He has been dropped 3lbs for that effort and looks sure to run his race.
Reputation is not the force of old and carries the steadier of 10st 4lbs, but he is another who has run well in defeat of late, including when third over a mile here last time. The return to seven furlongs should suit but he remains vulnerable from his current mark.
I thought BAILEYS LIBERTY appreciated having something to chase when scoring – at the 11th attempt – at Carlisle last time when she was carried right across the track by the runner-up and, in the circumstances, did well to win. A 3lbs rise for that victory looks fair, and I hope Jason Hart rides her with more restraint than was the case at Nottingham on her penultimate start when she led but faded close home back at six furlongs.
There is plenty of pace in the race and I hope Hart does not get embroiled in a battle for the lead from his wide draw. Connections have taken time to find the filly’s optimum trip, but 7f on fast ground looks ideal,
It’s fair to say that the handicapper has taken quite a dim view of City Wanderer’s C&D win last month, given he has only seen fit to hit him with a token 2lbs rise. That was his first start at this 12f trip, and he was able to dictate his own fractions from the front. He may not get such an easy lead this afternoon, although he is less exposed at the trip than many of his rivals.
Genever Dragon ran well when third over this 12f trip last time, and he represents the very much in-form Donald McCain yard. He will be a threat to all, but I think this can go to WILL HE DANCE (NAP), who was caught out of his ground when the pace lifted behind City Wanderer last time. but he finished best of all and is taken to reverse the form despite meeting the winner on the same terms in this classified 0-50 contest.
Keith Dalgleish’s 4-y-old is a 12-race maiden, but he is unlikely to give City Wanderer a soft lead today – has raced prominently in the past – and he stays further than this extended mile-and-a-half. Billy Garrity’s record on the horse reads 2-3-2. The combination deserves a change of fortune.
* Betting odds quoted correct at the time of writing. Subject to changes.