Friday, July 10, 2009

Ascot, York and Chester

The highlight at Ascot tomorrow is the Group 2 Summer Mile due off at 2.50. Ceasare won this race in 2007 and finished third last year; he's the top-rated horse but at the age of eight you can't help but wonder whether his best days are behind him and the stable's form has been something of a worry this season. Aqlaam finished half a length behind Cesare in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot just over three weeks ago, the pair well beaten by Paco Boy (who finished fourth in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket this afternoon); Willie Haggas' charge hasn't won over this trip but I'm sure the trainer will fancy his chances of reversing form with Cesare. Mike De Kock trained Archipenko to take this last year and has been bullish about Imbongi's chance - that one won a seven furlong Group 3 at Newmarket last time with the minimum of fuss. In my book Dream Eater has been slightly disappointing this season; he often pulls in the early stages which doesn't help at the business end - he has place prospects at best. This is an intriguing affair; I'm going to risk Imbongi staying this stiff mile - he should certainly handle underfoot conditions, with further rain a distinct possibility.

The feature at York is the 50th running of the John Smith's Cup which looks as competitive as ever. Luca Cumani thinks his well-touted Riggins will stay the trip. I won't be taking part in this - if I had to have a bet, I'd look for something that is set to carry less than nine stones, has a single-figure draw and is four or five years old. If the rain arrives, I'll consider an each-way interest in Willie Musson's Magicalmysterytour at 12/1 or bigger in the Silver Cup at 3.45.

At Chester the five furlong City Wall Stakes is due off at 3.30. Several of these finished behind Scenic Blast in the King's Stand at Royal Ascot - Captain Gerrard (fourth), Borderlescott (fifth), Hoh Hoh Hoh (thirteenth) and Rievaulx World (fifteenth). In addition Tax Free looked like getting involved when impeded over a furlong out; that effort will give Dandy Nicholls a benchmark for his three runners here. The draw over sprint distances is always so important at Chester - six of the last nine winners have come from stalls 1-4. As a play against the well-drawn favourite Borderlescott I've considered Masta Plasta, Captain Gerrard and Hoh Hoh Hoh. Captain Gerrard has disappointed twice since Ascot, finishing tenth of eleven at Sandwon last week, but I'm going to give him another chance as he has course and distance winning form. If his price is big enough on the day, I'll take an each-way interest. Other runners at Chester worth a second look: Just Mandy (4.05) and Zuwaar (4.40) - the stable boasts a 37.5% win strike rate over the past fortnight.

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Blogger has just wiped my write-up, so here's the abridged version...

Aqlaam (15/8f) beat Imbongi (4/1) a length into third.

Magicalmysterytour (8/1) was beaten a short-head and a nose into third in a thrilling finish.

Borderlescott (5/4f) beat Captain Gerrard (9/1) a length.

Just Mandy ran well in thrid on her debut while Zuwaar (7/2) was desperately unlucky to be caught on the line by 2/1f Act Of Kalanisi.