There is nothing like a week’s holiday in the UK to guarantee a break in the weather and it appears that for the time being at least the Indian Summer has relented.
Today’s action sees all three turf meetings feature soft somewhere in their going reports, so all form study needs to bear in mind these conditions may be different to those under which most of a horse’s recent form has been achieved.
Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois romp by Alpha Centauri potentially throws up an interesting ante-post involvement in the QEII at Ascot on Champions Day. Alpha Centauri has very much been the star of the season and reinforced that with another dominant performance on ground that looked potentially softer than ideal.
As is often the case, her dominance is partly due to the fact that, in general, this looks a weak division and with the Breeders’ Cup looking certain to be her main late season target then an appearance just a fortnight earlier on Champions Day looks improbable.
In her likely absence the 10-1 available looks very reasonable about Lord Glitters for whom autumn ground and Ascot would look an ideal combination.
Bursting on to the scene on the same card twelve months ago in the Balmoral Handicap when runner-up on his debut for David O’Meara he has progressed into a genuine Group performer this season being placed in both the Queen Anne and the Sussex Stakes.
On neither occasion did he have either the ground or the tempo completely to suit and the return to the straight course could also be more to his liking than the round track he raced over in the Summer Mile.
Whilst speculating on likely conditions so far in advance can be tricky, that is the nature of ante-post betting and the reward looks to outweigh the risk at the current odds and he looks worth a decent each-way bet.
Rather closer to hand here’s hoping the following quartet will be suited by the change in underfoot conditions.
Things haven’t quite gone to plan since her debut at Yarmouth behind the very smart Pretty Pollyanna.
She went too hard to last home over six furlongs at Kempton next time and then, having dwelt from the stalls, found trouble in running at Windsor last time when the yard’s horses were a little quiet.
She has never faced ground with cut but her dam won on debut on soft ground.
Andrew Balding’s yard have burst into life in the last week and on only his sixth career start Duration, who hasn’t looked blessed with much in the way of speed, may find soft ground assisting (his half-brother Master Carpenter revels in the mud) as can the fact he is ridden by a senior rider for the first time.
Has dropped a fair way in the weights since joining the stable from Richard Hannon for whom he won with cut in the ground.
His run a week ago at Catterick suggested he had reached a mark of which he can be competitive and the stable have provided Emily Bullock with three of her four career winners.
Has been well placed by Paul Midgley and whilst Bengali Boys is dangerous on soft ground he shaped at Hamilton as if he needs 6f theses days.
Tarboosh is best suited by the minimum trip and can use that ability to quicken to his advantage in this small field.