This is a great week in the racing calendar with the Dante meeting at York getting us through the week before the first older horse Group One in the UK with the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury.
The Lockinge has the potential to be a cracking race with potential cast including Laurens, the continuation of the rags to riches story of Lord Glitters, and one of my favourite horses in training in Beat The Bank.
This son of Paco Boy has always shaped like the top level was well within his grasp, but in his six career attempts at the top level he has disappointed.
But given his winning return at Sandown in the bet365 Mile and the stable’s current form, I am hopeful that Beat The Bank can finally bag his first Group One success.
It is a competitive day of racing around Britain on Wednesday with big fields everywhere. I’m focusing on York and Bath.
This looks a good renewal of the Duke Of York Stakes and Yafta looks like he can make a splash ahead of a very exciting season.
This son of Dark Angel was progressive last year, posting a career best effort to win the Hackwood Stakes at Newbury.
His seasonal reappearance second to Keystroke at Newmarket in the Abernant Stakes was positive, not least because if Brando had not leaned on him going into the dip, causing him to check his momentum slightly, he might have kept his head in front at the wire.
Also, the ground at York will definitely suit as he prefers fast ground, something the favourite, Invincible Army, may not enjoy as much.
She is a filly who has run well in four tries in handicaps and drops to the lowest grade of race that she has run in on the turf.
Her past two runs on turf have been on good and good to soft ground, and the firm going at Bath should suit her more than her previous turf experiences this season.
In fact, her best run on turf was when runner-up on debut at Thirsk, on good to firm ground, behind subsequent Group Three winner Queen Of Bermuda.
She is fit after racing all winter and Franny Norton rides her for the first time.
Handicapping has been the key for this son of Al Kazeem as he has won or been placed in all three of his handicap starts to date.
Last time out he broke his maiden over course and distance on firm ground and looks to strike while the iron is hot, carrying a 5lb penalty today against the second and third from last time.
His final margin of victory was only a neck, but he did appear to always be holding the runner-up, Champs De Reves.
Also, while Simbirsk seemed to absolutely bounce off the firm ground, Champs De Reves looked out of his comfort zone, and sometimes at Bath on firm ground horses will act well on it once, but will let not themselves down on it a second time.
Alex Dunn’s yard is flying at the moment and Gendarme looks to back up his maiden success last week with another win at Bath.
The addition of the first-time blinkers seemed to make a difference as Gendarme absolutely cantered past Agent Gibbs in the stretch before staying on well to the line, suggesting that the extra furlong and a half of today’s race should be well within his comfort zone.
From a pedigree perspective the 1m5f distance should suit, as his dam Gravitation won the Lillie Langtry at Goodwood. Gendarme is looking like becoming a Bath specialist.