Racing TV columnist Ross Millar has a couple of fancies for this week, reveals a newcomer who has been pleasing his trainer at home plus suggests a number of "winners in waiting"
There were a few worthy contenders, but the electric change of gear shown by Romantic Time when winning the Group Three Dick Poole Stakes at Salisbury really impressed me.
While many may be keen to point out that she undoubtedly benefitted from having the run of the race, her jockey, Hollie Doyle, surely could not have hoped for better luck.
I think it would be foolish to underplay the turn of foot she showed as it enabled her to come from a position a few lengths off the leaders and quickly get to the front plus there certainly did not appear to be a collapse of pace.
The step up to six furlongs has certainly brought about significant improvement from her and, given the way she powered home, coupled with the stout pedigree of her dam, it is not inconceivable that seven furlongs can elicit an even higher level of performance.
As we head into Autumn, and the prospect of softer conditions becomes more likely, it will be to her advantage that she has already shown, when winning at Sandown, an ability to handle heavy ground.
Eve Lodge was one of the first horses to feature in this column as a “winner in waiting” before duly obliging on her next start.
My affection for the Charlie Fellowes-trained filly had, however, been somewhat shaken since that success.
I strongly fancied her to run a big race at Royal Ascot, but she could only manage tenth in the Albany Stakes before producing what seemed a disappointing effort when beaten at odds-on in a run-of-the-mill novice stakes at Yarmouth.
Her conqueror on that occasion was Romantic Time so, with hindsight, it was not a bad run at all.
I was thrilled to see her get back to winning ways in the Group Three Sirenia Stakes at Kempton where she looked in total control at pretty much all stages of the race.
She is another that will be well suited to softer ground conditions and I expect her to push on from here.
Horse: EQUAL SHARE
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute.
It is no secret that the two-year olds from Sir Michael Stoute’s yard show significant improvement with racing and, if Equal Share can do just that, she will develop into a very decent performer.
She made her debut over seven furlongs at Salisbury and was, understandably, entirely unfancied in the market.
She broke well for a debutant and travelled nicely enough in the early stages, then as they approached three furlongs from home, the tempo quickened, and she showed greenness plus was unable to respond. She possibly did not truly handle the undulations of the track, either.
She rallied well under a considerate ride when the penny dropped and made eye-catching progress in the closing stages.
Given natural progression, I would expect her to win a race of a similar standard, with her chances further increased on a less undulating track.
Trainer: Eve Johnson Houghton.
Eve Johnson Houghton has had a strong season having already bagged a Royal Ascot winner courtesy of Chipotle and Dreaming, who is a son of Territories, was sent off relatively well-fancied for his debut at Ascot.
Having travelled well, he found himself stuck behind a wall of horses as the race started to develop. Once he found some daylight, he picked up well only to be severely hampered inside the final half furlong.
This experience will not have been lost on him and I would expect this youngster to win on his next start, if faced with similar conditions.
Trainer: Jedd O’Keefe.
This son of New Bay has been given an opening mark of 63, and I think there are solid reasons to think this is more than workable.
He was given a nice experience on debut over seven furlongs at Newcastle where he finished a never-involved seventh and on his next outing at Thirsk, over the same trip, he stepped forward considerably to finish a staying-on third having struggled to negotiate the bend into the home straight.
His final run came over the same course and distance where he was dropped out last and given plenty to do before not receiving the most forceful ride to finish an unsighted seventh.
If his first and third starts are reflective of his ability, then a mark of 63 is going to be tough. However, I think his second outing (above) is where the clues lie, given it is the only ride he received that could be in any way considered vigorous.
On this occasion, he was beaten seven lengths and six lengths by the winner and the runner-up but, given the winner, Tuscan, is now rated 88, and the runner-up, Mahagoni, is on a mark of 82, it is reasonable to think he ran to a mark in excess of 63.
I will be following him closely over a stiff seven furlongs, or a mile.
Ed Bethell: “I’ve been thrilled with the two-year olds that have already run. The one I’m looking forward to seeing on the track is Khurumbi. She is a half-sister to our own Moss Gill who is rated 108, and to Ulshaw Bridge who won as a two-year old. Khurumbi has shown up well in her work and I’m looking forward to getting her started.”
Horse: VINCE LOMBARDI
He found five furlongs at Sandown too much of a speed test last time but stuck to his task well and did good late work.
This extra furlong will suit here, and the handicapper has dropped him a pound to a mark of 66. His run at Nottingham, when close-up behind horses rated 82, 77 and 74 makes his mark look lenient, and I would expect him to go very close.
Horse: THE ORGANISER
The Flying Childers has a hot favourite in the form of Armor, who is undoubtedly a high-class performer, but on forecast quick ground over an easy five furlongs, I want to be against him.
I have been keen to see The Organiser drop back to the minimum trip as I think he has been too keen over six furlongs.
My hope is that Oisin Murphy gets a flier from the stalls and plays ‘catch me, if you can!’.
At a double-figure price, I think he is an outstanding each-way bet.
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