QATAR RICHMOND STAKES – 2.15pm – 6f 2yo Group 2
Just 7 runners but the potential for a burn up in this year’s Richmond Stakes with several clear pace angles in the line-up.
The 4th, 5th & 6th from this year’s Coventry Stakes finished 6th, 9th & 10th respectively in Tuesday’s Group 2 Vintage Stakes, further exposing the Coventry as a shaky formline. The Coventry 2nd, 7th, 8th & 10th all re-oppose here, a group that also counted three of the first four in the betting at Royal Ascot, headed by Admiral Nelson (Kingman x Shamandar (Exceed And Excel)), who seeks redemption having failed to get involved from the rear in the Coventry as a well-backed favourite. Admittedly, he was sent to post at Royal Ascot as market leader just 8 days on from making a winning debut at the Curragh over 5 furlongs and there is every chance the race came too soon. Given 40 days to get over his Ascot exertions, Admiral Nelson could well prove a totally different proposition this afternoon but he will certainly need to from a form perspective if he is to be taking a hand here. With neither of his races quite working out yet, Admiral Nelson could come up short today, for all that he may live up to his previous market expectations further down the line.
Lauded (Acclamation x Thatsallimsaying (Dandy Man)) showed bright speed in the Coventry Stakes at Ascot, up with the leaders all the way before his stamina appeared to give out in the closing stages, failing to run straight in the closing stages to finish a tiring 7th. He clocked a smart time in winning his debut over 6 furlongs at Haydock on debut and the return to an easier track in Goodwood should suit him well; he is fancied to fare best of the Coventry runners in today’s race. Tom Dascombe produced Devious Company (Fast Company x Seren Devious (Dr Devious)) to finish 2nd in Tuesday’s Vintage Stakes and Lauded can prove himself to be another useful 2 year old from Manor House Stables and give part-owners Al Shaqab Racing a good spin in a race that they sponsor in the process.
Qaader (Night Of Thunder x Redinha (Dansili)) produced one of the smarter juvenile performances in the opening two weeks of June when running out a 4 length winner of a 6f novice at Newbury, looking better the further he went (despite failing to run straight through the final furlong of the race). He followed that up with a 2nd placing in the Coventry, where he proved a touch tapped for toe in the closing stages but once again did his best work late, staying on all the way to the line (once again failing to run entirely straight) to finish a length adrift of big-priced winner Nando Parrado (Kodiac x Chibola (Roy)). The good late work in both of Qaader’s first two starts strongly implied that another furlong would have proved very much to his liking; it was therefore a touch surprising that Qaader was not taken to the 7f Superlative Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting, instead kept to 6 furlongs for his 3rd start in the July Stakes two days prior, a race in which he was nevertheless sent to post as the 3.09BSP market leader. In the race itself, Qaader was sent forward and ultimately did little wrong, overhauled in the closing stages when once again failing to run straight under pressure, not moving with his usual fluency in the rain-softened going. Qaader is respected to a degree on the form of his three starts but he has to step up to figure here, which is not a given over a sharp 6 furlongs; further improvement can surely be unlocked when stepped up to 7f+.
On the whole however, Mark Johnston’s juveniles have yet to show themselves to be an outstanding bunch so far this year: Eye Of Heaven (Exceed And Excel x Risen Sun (Shamardal)) very much caught the eye on debut but has performed a considerable way below market expectations on his two tries at Stakes class, with similar comments also very much applicable to the likes of King Zain (Kingman x Shreyas (Dalakhani)), Sands Of Time (Bobby’s Kitten x Starlit Sands (Oasis Dream)) and, to a lesser extent, Golden Flame (Golden Horn x Flame Of Gibraltar (Rock Of Gibraltar)) and Pelekai (Kodiac x Pelerin (Shamardal)). Qaader has so far proven to be the pick of the Johnston juveniles but he needs to find improvement from somewhere to figure today, and it does not look obviously forthcoming.
Supremacy (Mehmas x Triggers Bloom (Arcano)) brings an intriguing formline to the table as the 3¾ length winner of a 6f maiden at Windsor earlier this month that has produced two next-time-out winners as well as a handful of improvers out of the race. Leading throughout under Adam Kirby, Supremacy looked professional in the way he went about his business, given four stern smacks from Kirby but responding to each of them to finish nicely clear of his rivals in a slick time of 70.79s. Trainer Clive Cox took this race last year with subsequent Group 1 winner Golden Horde (Lethal Force x Entreat (Pivotal)) and has been having a good month with his juveniles, producing 7 individual 2yo winners (from 20 individual runners), as well as a Listed 2nd and a 4th placing at Group 3 level. Moreover, it must be noted that Supremacy hails from a family that Clive Cox has done particularly well with, as Supremacy shares a page with multiple Group 1 winners Xtension (Xaar x Great Joy (Grand Lodge)) & Harry Angel (Dark Angel x Beatrix Potter (Cadeaux Genereux)), with all three tracing back to mare Great Joy (Grand Lodge x Cheese Soup (Spectacular Bid)). Supremacy looks to have plenty going for him this afternoon and can be expected to take this step up in grade very much in his stride; he poses a threat to all.
Heading the market at the time of writing is the William Haggas-trained Yazaman (Kodiac x Online Alexander (Acclamation)), and deservedly so based on the form of his three starts to date. On just his 2nd start, Yazaman very much caught the eye in last month’s Windsor Castle Stakes, tacking over to the stand’s side group in the early stages and proceeding to make an impressive amount of ground up late, passing 12 of his 17 rivals inside the final two furlongs only to be denied by a Royal winner in Tactical (Toronado x Make Fast (Makfi)), who had enjoyed a charmed run up the stand’s side rail through the race’s entirety. The pair were to clash again in the July Stakes, with both horses having their first try at 6 furlongs and once again Tactical confirmed the placings but that did not stop Yazaman emerging with a great deal of credit, clocking a smart time in defeat; only Nunthorpe Stakes-bound Golden Pal (Uncle Mo x Lady Shipman (Midshipman)) has clocked a smarter time in defeat amongst the juvenile colts so far this year. Yazaman arguably brings two of the best pieces of form to the table here and, with that in mind, could take a bit of beating this afternoon.
Gussy Mac (Dark Angel x Masaya (Dansili)) has done little wrong in winning two of his three career starts to date and comes forward for trainer Roger Teal, fresh from enjoying his breakthrough Group 1 success in the July Cup earlier this month with Oxted (Mayson x Charlotte Rosina (Choisir)). Gussy Mac was the winner of the Listed Dragon Stakes over 5f at Sandown earlier this month, but it must be said that the race looked Listed class in name only with the favourite underperforming, both the overall time & the closing splits coming out poorly and several early runners out of the race finishing well-beaten in respective races (save for the well-placed Jojo Rabbit (Due Diligence x Berkshire Honey (Sakhee’s Secret))). Greatly in Gussy Mac’s favour is the step up to 6 furlongs, but whether that can unlock sufficient improvement to see him competitive in today’s race remains to be seen.
The field is completed by Talbot (Gleneagles x Sea Chanter (War Chant)), who showed Stakes class potential when making a winning debut but has been unable to match that form in two subsequent starts. He has plenty to prove in first-time cheekpieces but, with Oisin Murphy resuming his assocation with the colt, he is not without hope for minor honours.
Yazaman is a strong selection in this race, bringing far and away the most solid form to the table; he can take plenty of beating for the same owner/trainer combination that took this prize with Saayerr (Acclamation x Adorn (Kyllachy)) back in 2013. Lauded is fancied to bounce back from his Coventry run, with this track sure to play more to his speed at 6 furlongs; Supremacy completes the shortlist.
JOHN PEARCE RACING GORDON STAKES – 2.45pm – 1m4f 3yo Group 3
The Derby form failed to make a significant impact in the Sussex Stakes yesterday and comes under the microscope once again as no less than 4 of today’s 6 runners were last seen at Epsom.
The best place to start is with Derby favourite English King (Camelot x Platonic (Zafonic)), who was burdened with stall 1 in the Derby and proceeded to make matters all the worse for him at the start of the race by ducking out to his left upon leaving the gate, in the process losing ground in what can often be a crucial part of the Derby. Never better than midfield through the majority of the race, English King did stay on late in the race and was noted for clocking one of the fastest closing splits in the race (alongside Russian Emperor (Galileo x Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock))). Essentially however, English King was unable to get involved in the Derby, nor was he able to show the top-class potential that he did at Lingfield. Back in a smaller field and down the grade, English King can take plenty of beating today, although the market appears to agree !
Drawn next to English King in stall 2 in the Derby was Mogul (Galileo x Shastye (Danehill)), and he is another who can certainly have his Derby run marked up not only for his difficult draw, but also for his position; he spent the first 11 furlongs of the race about a length ahead of English King, and it was only in the final furlong that the placings were reversed. Mogul has noted for carrying his head a little high in the closing stages and, having now been unplaced in his last 3 starts, he is becoming a little disappointing, not least in relation to his 3,400,000gns yearling price tag. However, Aidan O’Brien has done very well with his Gordon Stakes runners in recent years, with his five runners in the last 10 years finishing 41232. The market has long suggested that Mogul is better than what he has been able to show thus far on the track, and he rates a good each-way chance in this context.
Khalifa Sat (Free Eagle x Thermopylae (Tenby)) fared clear best of those behind runaway Derby winner Serpentine (Galileo x Remember When (Danehill Dancer)) and, with the benefit of hindsight, it is not hard to see why as the combination of a high draw, a positive ride and some initiative by Tom Marquand saw Khalifa Sat make the first attempt at cutting down Serpentine’s huge lead entering the closing stages. To the eye, Marquand did not quite appear to have the horse underneath him with the necessary speed to make an impact on the leader, with Khalifa Sat very much shaping as a St. Leger prospect of the future through this race and one who might get found out at 1m4f in today’s race. Whilst he is respected as the winner of both of his visits to Goodwood, it would not be a surprise to see Khalifa Sat struggle to confirm the Epsom form with the likes of English King & Mogul, and he can be taken on today.
Al Aasy (Sea The Stars x Kitcara (Shamardal)) is an intriguing contender, bringing forward an entirely different set of formlines to the table. Al Aasy has won his last two starts, both at Newmarket over 1m4f & 1m5f respectively, most recently when running out a ready 1¾ length winner of the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy in a smart time for the grade. Just four horses have attempted to shoulder a 3lb penalty in the last 10 years, finishing 5123. Al Aasy has won his last two starts in spite of soft ground, and looks sure to improve for better going. With a sharply upward profile, he demands plenty of respect in this context.
Subjectivist (Teofilo x Reckoning (Danehill Dancer)) clocked a very smart figure in defeat in a 1m6f handicap at Haydock earlier this month and followed that up with victory in the Listed Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton over 1m3f, with his beating of Tritonic (Sea The Moon x Selenography (Selkirk)) tying in with the Golden Gates Handicap form at Royal Ascot, which saw the aforementioned Tritonic finish half a length behind Highland Chief (Gleneagles x Pink Symphony (Montjeu)), albeit in receipt of 6lb in weight. Highland Chief ran an excellent time that day in victory which prompted connections to pitch him into the Derby, a move which did not work out as he raced keenly through the early stages of the race and was ultimately never able to get involved from the rear. It is a little surprising to see Highland Chief persevered with at 1m4f, as he looks likely to show his best form at 1m2f in the longer term. All told, he can be left out of calculations today.
This looks a trappy enough heat of the Gordon Stakes. However, if one horse is to set himself apart from the remainder this afternoon, it is most likely to be English King, who had valid excuses in the Derby and ran well all things considered. Provided that race has not left too much of a mark, he is the one they all have to beat. Mogul is fancied to hit the frame at the very least following a respectable effort in the Derby. Al Aasy has long been held in high regard by connections and a 3lb penalty is unlikely to stop him from featuring in the finish.
QATAR NASSAU STAKES – 3.15pm – 1m2f 3yo+ Fillies Group 1
4 year old’s finished 1-2 in yesterday’s Sussex Stakes, and the Classic generation face off with their elders at Group 1 level once again this afternoon as 7 fillies & mares go to post.
As stamped passports go, you would do well to find two better-travelled ladies of late than Group 1-winning mares Magic Wand (Galileo x Prudenzia (Dansili)) & Deirdre (Harbinger x Reizend (Special Week)), who have remarkably appeared on the same racecard in five different countries over the last 18 months but have only clashed twice, with Magic Wand narrowly coming out best on both occasions. Magic Wand has been a standing dish in some of the top 10 furlong races across the globe over the last couple of years, finishing in the first two on 5 of her 7 lifetime starts in Group 1’s over 1m2f, with her two ‘misses’ coming in the 2019 Cox Plate and this year’s Eclipse Stakes; she finished 4th in both. Essentially, Magic Wand is a wonderfully consistent and tough mare and, in today’s conditions, demands the utmost respect.
Deidre is no slouch in the consistency department either, maybe not quite hitting the frame as often as Magic Wand but certainly running the same sort of high-class numbers on a regular basis, most pertinently when wearing down Mehdaayih (Frankel x Sayyedati Symphony (Gone West)) inside the final 50 yards to take last year’s running of the Nassau Stakes. Deirdre has some excellent form banked, the pick of which makes her the one to beat in this race. However, if she is to be seen at her very best, Deirdre will need both genuine fast ground and a strong pace to aim at, neither of which look guaranteed today.
There has not been a horse in quite some time that has risen through the ranks as persistently as Nazeef (Invincible Spirit x Handassa (Dubawi)), who has gone maiden/novice/handicap/Listed/Group 2/Group 1 for her last six starts and has emerged victorious in all of them, most recently when grinding out a narrow victory in a bunched finish to the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket. Nazeef is a hard one to weigh up, as she clearly possesses a good amount of ability and a fantastic will to win, but has yet to run any sort of time indicative of a Group 1 filly, with the Falmouth a slowly-run affair and the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes proving an underwhelming contest on the clock. Whilst she is massively respected, Nazeef is a hard one to be bullish about in this context, especially as she tackles the unknown of 1m2f for the first time.
Fancy Blue (Deep Impact x Chenchikova (Sadler’s Wells)) brings top-drawer 3 year old form to the table, having seen off wide-margin Coronation Stakes winner Alpine Star (Sea The Moon x Alpha Lupi (Rahy)) to narrowly capture the Group 1 Prix de Diane at Chantilly, in the process giving trainer Donnacha O’Brien his first Classic victory with just his 2nd ever winner on turf. Fancy Blue is the winner of 3 of her 4 career starts and proved in the Prix de Diane that she is tactically versatile, an attribute that looks likely to serve her very well in what looks a heat devoid of obvious pace angles. In receipt of a generous 9lb weight allowance from her elders, and with Ryan Moore taking over riding duties, Fancy Blue looks to hold excellent claims of giving Donnacha O’Brien his 2nd Group 1 win as a trainer.
One Voice (Poet’s Voice x Zaaqya (Nayef)) is the other runner for the Classic generation and does not quite bring the desired level of form to the table, but she has met plenty of bad luck in-running on her last two starts, most recently when sent off a well-supported 2.7 BSP favourite in the 1m1f Group 2 Kilboy Estate Stakes at the Curragh prior to getting no run whatsoever, only coming off the bridle inside the final 50 yards to finish a close-up 5th. One Voice has done very little wrong to date, and it would be a major surprise if there was not more to come from her; whilst this represents a major step up in class, she rates a lively outsider from a stable that can count Group 1 winners Alpine Star (Sea The Moon x Alpha Lupi (Rahy)), Millisle (Starspangledbanner x Green Castle (Indian Ridge)), Albigna (Zoffany x Freedonia (Selkirk)) and dual Group 1-placed Cayenne Pepper (Australia x Muwakaba (Elusive Quality)) amongst their 3 year old fillies.
The septet is completed by 4 year old fillies Queen Power (Shamardal x Princess Serena (Unbridled’s Song)) and Lavender’s Blue (Sea The Stars x Beatrice Aurore (Danehill Dancer)), who were both last seen chasing Nazeef’s tail in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes at Royal Ascot. Queen Power has not done a lot wrong but has not done a lot right either, winning just one of her last 6 starts, a touch disappointing considering she has gone to post as favourite in four of those races. She is a keen-going filly who is beginning to look a touch ‘tripless’ and, whilst she can give a good account of herself, it is hard to envisage Queen Power troubling the judge today. Finally, Lavender’s Blue has a lot of building to do on her indifferent reappearance at Royal Ascot and is best watched today, for all that a step back up to 1m2f might help her.
The result of this year’s Nassau Stakes looks likely to hinge quite heavily on the pace of the race: none of these fillies & mares have made the running on any of their last three starts. It would be little surprise to see some initiative seized by either of the Coolmore-owned pair Magic Wand & Fancy Blue, both strong stayers at the trip who can prove very dangerous indeed if left alone at the head of affairs. Ready preference is for the 3 year old Fancy Blue, who has proven herself versatile with regards both ground & tactics and looks sure to have plenty more to offer at the highest level; the admirably consistent Magic Wand can chase her home. Deirdre would have been a big fancy if there was a level of assurance of a fast pace, but she looks set to battle out for minor honours with One Voice.