Extra furlong should help following debut success
13:15 – Dukebox
His Kempton debut success has worked out okay, with the runner-up winning next time – though the ones in behind haven’t done much – so it will be interesting to see what this Holy Roman Emperor colt can do stepping up in grade. The extra furlong must be a positive looking at his pedigree but he did show plenty of pace at Kempton. We will see. The ground will be an unknown, obviously.
Good Listed race but he has his chance
13:50 – Spycatcher
All his best form has come on good or quicker ground so far, though he ran okay at Redcar on soft, so maybe he wouldn’t want too much more rain. But he was a good 2yo, finishing second to Gear Up in the Acomb Stakes, and he returned to that level of form when third at Ascot last time. He has his chance in a competitive Listed race.
Easier ground could suit but this is tough
14:25 – Thunderous
This is clearly a very warm race with Logician and Al Aasy in the line-up, and that makes life hard for the rest of us. But Thunderous is a course winner who stepped up on his reappearance run when third for me in the Jockey Club Stakes last time, and this easier ground could suit him. He has a tough job on against the top two, though.
I’m expecting him to go well
15:00 – Bay Bridge
This is usually one of the better 3yo handicaps of the season, so hopefully Bay Bridge has something in hand of his mark. I wasn’t on board for his reappearance win at Newcastle but he looked pretty good to me when improving to win there, with the third winning earlier this week as well, and he certainly has the kind of profile you look for in a winner of this race. I’d expect him to go well.
Palace the one to beat but we’ll give it our best shot
15:35 – Lope Y Fernandez
He was pretty luckless last season, running four great races in defeat in Group 1 company from 6f to a mile, and was unfortunate not to pick up at least one of those. So it was great to see him back winning so impressively at Leopardstown on his return, albeit in lesser company than this. He clearly has a lot of pace but we are hopeful he can prove himself over a mile this season in the best company, and this is an obvious race for him. Palace Pier is clearly the one to beat after his impressive return at Sandown and the ground looks like being more in his favour than ours, but we will give it a shot.
Improvement likely but she’ll need it
16:10 – Companionship
She looked good in a couple of all-weather runs last season, winning over 1m at Chelmsford, and you would have thought this step up to 1m2f will suit this Galileo filly. She will need to improve to win this – it looks a hot race, with her stablemate Sea Empress, among others, apparently well thought of – but progression looks highly likely. It looks a good race, though.
Goes well fresh and has course form
16:45 – Blue Mist
He is pretty good on his day, as he showed when winning for me over 7f on fast ground at Ascot last summer. Conditions will be different here but he gets a mile and handles ease in the ground, so hopefully he will fine on that score. He doesn’t have any secrets from the handicapper but he goes well when fresh and has run well on both starts here, so he has chance in a very competitive handicap. And hopefully his wind op will have helped him.