1.15 Golden Gates Handicap
A comprehensive 3 length handicap beating might not seem the obvious prep for a jolly for a race this competitive but Acquitted didn’t run into any ordinary handicapper at Newcastle and he fully deserves to head this market. His conqueror, Palace Pier heads to Saturday’s St.James Palace Stakes as a leading fancy and the fact he was even forced off the bridle is a compliment to Acquitted who still looks very well in off a 4lb higher mark. He has soft ground form in the book and likely rainfall should not diminish his chances. A saver is opted for on Cepheus, utterly outpointed in the 2000 Guineas but fairly treated on his Newmarket maiden win where he had a few subsequent winners in behind.
Selection: Acquitted, Saver: Cepheus
1.50 Wolferton Stakes
Not the strongest renewal of the Wolferton, basically a high-class handicap run off level weights and a fine chance for last year’s 5th Mountain Angel to improve on that placing here. He has improved with each season of racing to date and could well do so again. A good record fresh and positive experience of negotiating big fields are plusses in addition to his ability to act on all sorts of going. Fox Tal and Regal Reality seem to have the edge on form, but unlike the selection, neither have experienced a big field scenario and this is a concern. Several firms are offering 4 places for each-way purposes and this is well worth searching for,
Selection: Mountain Angel each-way
2.25 Jersey Stakes
Sheikh Hamdan has a superb record in this race and he is represented by smart juvenile Molatham. Though an exciting prospect I favour race fit rivals and King Leonidas looks a big player for the Gosden/Dettori combination. He may have only taken a maiden last time, but the manner of his success was eye-catching, stretching out his field from the front and readily seeing off a highly regarded and heavily backed Godolphin rival. The value here could be the French raider Celestin though, who has the benefit of a brace of starts under his belt this season and ran a blinder in the French Guineas, hitting the front a furlong out despite racing too freely early on. He looks likely to do better over this shorter trip and first time cheekpieces might make him relax a little. If he had a higher profile trainer he’d be favourite.
3.00 Chesham Stakes
Modern News really impressed me when winning a hot maiden at Newmarket, racing with little cover and initially looking a bit raw and green when asked for his effort. Two solid cracks of the whip saw him knuckle down nicely and he settled the issue decisively. I felt that was the best maiden run at Newmarket on Guineas weekend and this tall, strong colt could only have improved for the experience. He is a confident selection.
Selection: Modern News
3.35 Gold Cup
This looks a penalty kick for Stradivarius. The best stayer we have seen in many years bids to emulate Yeats and win a 3rd straight Gold Cup. The absence of Kew Gardens who bested him here on Champions Day is a blow for the public, but a blessing for the favourite’s connections as he bids to write himself into racing legend. Forecast rain will have been greeted would boost the chances of Technician who looks the only rival capable of getting the favourite off the bridle.
Selection: Straight forecast Stradivarius to beat Technician.
4.10 Britannia Stakes
Finest Sound finds himself 7lb well in under a 5lb penalty for his win at Haydock and with rain forecast and the ground coming his way he is hard to oppose here. His father-son yard took the Group 3 Diomed Stakes on Saturday and could find themselves in the Royal Ascot winners enclosure just a couple of months after forming the partnership. Another stable riding the crest of a wave following Kameko’s 2000 Guineas, Andrew Balding has a good candidate for this in Grove Ferry. A positive reappearance 3rd at Lingfield can be upgraded as he lacked the turn of foot of some of his rivals. A strongly run mile looks right up his street and he too is effective with cut in the ground.
Selection: Finest Sound, Saver: Grove Ferry
4.40 Sandringham Stakes
African Dream looks thrown in off a mark of 80 having only narrowly failed to give Rockfel 2nd Stylistique 7lb and a beating at Newbury last week. The uneasy nature of the favourite in the betting and the hard race African Dream had perhaps detract slightly and given the competitive nature of the race I’d sooner look elsewhere for a filly with more proven class at a bigger price. Dubai Love had an up and down time in Dubai over the winter but her impressive 1000 Guineas win from two high class fillies reads very nicely and makes her look realistically treated, Godolphin could have fielded any number of runners here and her sole selection looks significant, as does the booking of Frankie Dettori. I was really taken with Wejdan in the parade ring before the Lowther last year and given her frame she seems likely to be better this season. Her final start was poor, but her York effort makes her look well handicapped and she lacked the pace for 6 furlongs, I can see her improving tackling this trip.
Selections: Dubai Love & Wejdan