@helynsar fancies an unexposed AW winner to put it up to her supposed betters in the Lillie Langtry
1:50 Matchbook Best Value Exchange Handicap
A fiendishly difficult start to the day, and stakes are kept small as a result. It could be argued that this should be an 8/1 the field race, and while Communique was quite impressive in a decent contest at Newmarket last time, he looked every inch a stayer at the trip, and races over this C&D tend to be unevenly run due to the nature of the track, with the meeting’s opener a fine example of how such races can pan out. Communique was outpaced at a crucial stage before staying on to win the London Gold Cup at Newbury, and again looked tapped for toe briefly last time, while he ran poorly at Ascot and York in between. I can see him bouncing back, but the winner of this is likely to have excellent tactical speed and for all Mark Johnston’s colt is likely to keep progressing in the way the yard’s 3-y-o’s do, he will probably produce any further progress when returned to a mile and a half. He’s not particularly well drawn in stall four, either, and if he’s unable to quicken when the pace increases, however brief that flat spot might be, it could prove fatal if he is still positioned towards the inner, where traffic awaits like Jaws in the waters around Amity.
- Recommended: Lay Communique for a place @ 3.0 or shorter (max 3pts liability)
2:25 Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes
I’m not a fan of God Given, who is smart but not exceptional, and her draw in stall one is not the blessing it might appear. Rather than laying her, however, I intend to oppose her by backing the dark horse in the race. Pilaster was enormously impressive when routing her rivals in what had looked a hot fillies’ novice at Kempton last time, and that notion was backed up by the subsequent handicap win of runner-up Galmarley at Newbury. There have been other winners from that contest, and I think it has largely been ignored because of an inbuilt cynicism towards all-weather racing. There is plenty of quality on show at Kempton these days, and it is an excellent venue at which to bring on future stars, a point I hope Pilaster can hammer home now stepped up in class. She is already a match for any of these in terms of speed figures, and while I’m often wary of horses who produce big numbers when getting an easy time, she did look something special last time, and I’m happy to stick with my initial impression.
- Recommended: Back Pilaster to win @ 4.0 or bigger (2pts liability)
3:35 Qatar Nassau Stakes
There is a growing feeling in some quarters that Urban Fox rather fluked the Pretty Polly at the Curragh last time, and that she will be found out in a more competitive race. I don’t see it that way at all, and I thought she ran a huge race, ridden as if certain to stay the mile and a quarter trip, and justifying that confidence with a commanding victory. It’s true that Forever Together ran some way below form in second, but the winner was in no way scoring by default, and looks an improved performer now she’s proven her stamina. I’d put her almost on a par with a peak-form Rhododendron, and with Aidan O’Brien’s fillies a bit in and out at present, I’d say she deserves to be clear favourite.
- Recommended: Back Urban Fox to win @ 4.0 or bigger (2pts liability)