Rory Delargy: No Gouging, No Biting, No Eminent

6 min

@helynsar likes a good battle, but Eminent is a biter, not a fighter, and in the words of Kimberly (Sweet Brown) Wilkins, “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That”.

1:50 Bombay Sapphire Glorious Stakes

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There isn’t much the odds compilers have got wrong here, although it could be argued that favourite Mirage Dancer is a little too short on form. He won the same listed race here in May that Second Step won in 2017, and the pair are closely matched in terms of profile and form. It could be argued that Mirage Dancer, in typical Stoute style, is still improving, and opposing such horses has not been a winning strategy of late.

If there is a weak link among the market leaders, then Eminent could be it, for all he looks a big enough price on the pick of his form. He seemed to stay well enough when fourth in the Derby last year, but it’s probably significant that he’s been kept to shorter since, and he’s hardly been seeing his races out particularly well even then. He ran better last time, but in trying to take a chunk out of Suedois in the Summer Mile, he again showed that his mind is not on the job in hand. He did something similar in last year’s Eclipse at Sandown, and while everyone loves a battler, nobody appreciates fighting dirty, especially at Goodwood, and another performance in similar light will see him shunned in polite society. A lack of gentility is no bar to success in the world of racing, but Eminent, like many who would resort to underhand tactics, is no battler when it comes to a fair fight, and we can lay him for a place (2 places) at around 3.5. That’ll do for starters.

  • Recommended: Lay Eminent for a place @ 3.6 or shorter (max liability 5.2pts)

2:25 Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes

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Threading was a disappointment in the Falmouth Stakes, but it isn’t hard to find a reason for that, and Mark Johnston’s filly simply seems to hate Newmarket, which is not unique among thoroughbreds or humans for that matter, and having won on her debut at this meeting last year, she’s taken to bounce straight back. She has some very solid form in the book, and her second to Alpha Centauri in the Coronation Stakes is good enough to win this if she can repeat the effort here. That was hardly a standout on her card, either, and she has shown enough in winning a listed event at York in May to suggest she could beat the boys in receipt of weight.

There are several who want to make the running, and it’s doubtful the jockeys will want to see Silvestre de Sousa pull their figurative pants down like he did when winning AScot’s Britannia Stakes on Ostilio, which suggests that they could end up going too fast in front, a feature which would suit the selection down to the ground.

  • Recommended: Back Threading at 2.86 or bigger (liability 2pts)

3:00 Unibet Golden Mile Handicap

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A low draw really is significant in the Golden Mile, although the defection of Zhui Feng means it’s a race that could be run at a muddling pace, which complicates matters. It’s often said that the best place to be when riding in a slowly run race is at the front, but when the question was put to Richard Hughes some time ago, his answer was an emphatic one. “The best place to be is on the fastest horse!” He replied, and it’s worth remembering that a good position on a one-paced handicapper is not much benefit in such circumstances.

My idea of the winner here is Escobar, who has his quirks, but looks an improved performer for David O’Meara, running the well-handicapped Tigre du Terre (ante-post favourite for this until being sold) close at Sandown last time having won at Haydock in June. He has a potent turn of foot as he showed when reeling in a will-ridden sort at Haydock, and he won’t be inconvenienced by a stop-start gallop.

  • Recommended: Back Escobar @ 7.0 or bigger (liability 1pt)