Two tremendous flat meetings this afternoon and I like the card at Salisbury where conditions were given as good to firm on Tuesday morning with the executive watering to maintain.
There is a very competitive mile handicap and Variyann finished runner up in the corresponding race 12 months ago for Martyn and Freddie Meade from a 4lbs lower mark. The 6-y-old only beat one home on his comeback at Epsom earlier in the month, but palpably failed to handle the track although the handicapper has cut him no slack, given he runs from the same mark today. A market move would be worth noting.
Dubai Mirage was no match for Dark Shift at Nottingham last time, but that form was given a huge boost when the winner hosed up in the Hunt Cup last month. He must go close, but he has not won for the best part of two years and is overlooked.
Market leader Morghom is well drawn in two and the return to a mile will see him in a better light than was the case at Newbury last time when dropped down to seven furlongs.
The colt had won over a mile at Newbury on debut – a race that is not working out well – but connections wanted to see if he was up to running in the 7f Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last week – hence the drop back in distance. He finished third behind a subsequent winner last time when he raced up with the pace. He will be ridden less prominently today.
Marcus Tregoning has saddled the winner of this race three times in the last five years, and this is a race he obviously targets. Morghom looks sure to run a big race, but I do feel fellow 3-y-old ROUSAY could be overpriced, and she gets the each way nod.
Trainer Richard Hannon saddles two with stable jockey Sean Levey riding Variyann for the Meades’ – James Doyle gets the leg over King Powers Windseeker with Hayley Turner aboard the recommendation who carries just 8st 6lbs. Levey’s lowest riding weight is 8st 7lbs.
Rousay finished behind stablemate River Pride – runs Carlisle in listed race - when runner up here over 7f on her reappearance and the form of her subsequent third at Goodwood on ground softer than ideal has been franked and not just by the first two home. Well drawn in stall four the filly has been put in at 12/1 on the opening show and she gets the vote in a cracking contest with all eleven who go to post holding realistic claims
The well bred Asaassi is likely to be all the rage for the valuable 10f maiden, but I hope to see the Stradivarius colours of Bjorn Nielsen back in the winners’ enclosure courtesy of AMERICAN FLAG.
The selection looked ready for a step up in distance when a staying on fourth at Nottingham last time behind two subsequent winners.
The third La Yakel did little for the form at Windsor on Monday although he was finishing best of all, and he too will appreciate stepping up to 10f next time. Richard Kingscote – who was in the plate when the colt made his debut – returns to the saddle this afternoon.
Recommendation: American Flag at
Dancing Harry bounced back to something like his best form when a close third at Sandown over this 1m 6f+ trip last time and I like the booking of James Doyle for Roger Teal’s 5-y-old who has been raised just 1lb for his last run.
He is a big danger to SUPER SUPERJACK who just went down by half a length to Evaluation over 2m at York last time in his bid for a hat-trick. The selection lost momentum at a vital time on the Knavesmire and William Carver – who was in the plate at Ascot on his penultimate start – negates the rise with his 3lb claim.
Evaluation is now rated 11lbs higher after dotting up at Musselburgh last time and the only concern for the Milton Harris-trained 5-y-old would be if the race turned tactical over a trip, arguably, just shy of his best although Celtic Art and Dancing Harry can go forward.
Recommendation: Super Superjack at 2/1 with William Hill
It is the big day of the flat year at Carlisle and the Bell and Plate are as ultra competitive as ever. Richard Hannon sends four north including KODIAS SANGARIUS (Nap) in the finale who steps up in distance to seven furlongs for the first time.
The selection is a dual winner on the all-weather and ran her best race yet when second at Windsor over 6f last time when the filly was doing her best work late on. There is plenty of stamina in the selection’s pedigree – her dam was a winner at up to a mile – and it was only her fourth start on turf last time having, bizarrely, been pulled up in her first two starts on grass.
Keith Dalgleish has won the two renewals of this valuable fillies’ handicap and his Celestial Star looks the main danger.
Only four go to post for the 5F+ handicap and Regal Envoy heads the market having failed to finish out of the first two in four starts this year including a C&D success and a narrow victory at Salisbury last time over five furlongs from a 4lbs lower mark.
He could still be ahead of the handicapper, but I do feel the same sentiments could be directed at ADAAY IN ASIA who is just 2lbs higher than when successful in a Leicester nursery last summer and ran an excellent race at Goodwood last time.
Saffie Osborne takes a valuable 3lbs from the back of Harry Dunlop’s filly and she can strike fast and late with the favourite likely to have to make his own running.