It has been rather quite this week for me personally…. there was brilliant racing on offer the last number of days at Newmarket, but I couldn’t been arsed. Life is busy, and some days off the horses can do the world of good sometimes. I feel fresh and rejuvenated in that sense at least. Let’s give it a proper go today – there is top class sport on offer!
2.45 Ascot: Summer Mile Stakes (Group 2), 1m
I’m prepared to take on favourite Arod. He’s clearly top class but the slight drop in trip is not sure to suite on lightning fast ground. He is a fair price, but nothing more.
In the same ownership, progressive Lightning Spear made giant strides this season. He followed up on an impressive display at Lingfield with an even more impressive performance at Salisbury last month. Bumped at the start, stuck in traffic until late, he stormed clear under 9st 10lb when finally in the clear. He’s a major player today.
The joker, if you wanna say so, is Bow Creek. Excellent last season, he was clearly not himself on his seasonal reappearance at Sandown earlier this year. If he can find back to his best he’s dangerous.
Lightning Spear @ 7/2 VC – 5pts Win
2.35 Newmarket: Superlative Stakes (Group 2), 7f
Hard to look past Aiden O’Brien’s extremely well bred Air Vice Marshal. He was pretty green on his debut but came on a truckload the next time. Admittedly, the maiden he won at Gowran Park isn’t worth an awful lot but the way he did it was ultra impressive. He could have won by any distance. He is good looking, big and scopey and has the pedigree to do well as a juvenile
Main danger is William Haggas’s War Department. Forget his Ascot run, it just wasn’t to happen for him that day. He looked good on his debut though and should be competitive today. But on the prices, I feel the Irish raider is overpriced and should be a full point shorter in my book
Air Vice Marshal @ 3/1 Coral – 10pts Win
3.45 Newmarket: July Cup (Group 1), 6f
Two big prices against the two hot favourites: Due Diligence is one. I’m inclined to give him one last chance. At this time last year he had the world at his mercy, yet things didn’t go right from there on. Two disappointing efforts this year, a particularly dismal one at Royal Ascot – it might be that he has never recovered from his injury – but Aiden O’Brien wouldn’t bring him over if he wouldn’t think Due Diligence is in with a chance.
The other one I like is Danzeno. Rather lightly raced, he may still be able to pull out a bit more. He was unlucky at Newcastle last month following his excellent seasonal reappearance in the Temple Stakes. Trip, track and ground are sure to suit perfectly.
Danzeno @ 20/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win
Due Diligence @ 25/1 Sportingbet – 5pts Win
4.55 Newmarket: Class 2 Nursery, 7f
Favourite Majdool was very impressive at Chelmsford over this trip, albeit it was a poor maiden. He was fair runner-up behind Beaverbrook before, however, so is clearly the one to beat today on that evidence. Spongy shares collateral form with him and has a chance on the weights today, but probably needs a bit further given the way he stayed on to win lto.
Mark Johnston has his juveniles in top form this season. Aleko is no exception. Off the mark in a 6f maiden in excellent style, he failed to follow up at Epsom, though. Might be wise to ignore that run as he missed the break and was never comfortable at the track throughout. The step up to 7f is sure to suit on pedigree, and this well bred individual should do better now in nurseries.
Aleko @ 4/1 Betfred – 5pts Win
5.05 Ascot: Class 2 Handicap, 1m 4f
Space Age performance at Royal Ascot was freakish to a point, given his wide draw and the frenetic pace he set – yet it seemed it suited him to be in front alone. H deserves to be hot favourite today. He is up by 8lb but could be well able to defy this new mark.
But it’s Dartmouth who appears to be quite well handicapped, given he wasn’t disgraced in the very same race and can race off the same mark. He had a wide draw to overcome and had to travel three wide. throughout. Given the circumstances he ran a fine race. He is well bred, still lightly raced, and can do better today.
Dartmouth @ 8/1 Betfred – 5pts Win