15:00 – Qatar Richmond Stakes (6f)
Wednesday’s rain will see a shuffling of the pack, and there is a risk of non-runners, with Invincible Army expected to defect given he’s engaged in the Molecomb as I type. I want to be with a runner who has proven stamina and the ability to handle testing ground, and Nebo ticks both boxes.
He’s also drawn in the centre, which I prefer over this trip, and I can’t see him out of the frame given that a few of these have questions to answer. He appeals as a win bet, but I’m going to play it safe and bet him place only, where anything bigger that evens would be value in my eyes.
Nebo was drawn away from the action in the Coventry Stakes on his second start having won well on soft ground on debut, and while he was probably flattered to get so close to Gustav Klimt in the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, that still represented a smart effort on form, and he looks open to further improvement.
Headway is obviously respected on the form of his second in the Coventry, but that improved effort came on very fast ground, and subsequent defeats for the winner, third and fourth make the form of the Ascot race look somewhat shaky. I’d suggest Carsdsharp as a bigger danger, his Norfolk Stakes defeat sandwiched by better efforts on easier ground.
15:35 – Qatar Nassau Stakes (1m 1f 197y)
The Nassau Stakes looks a cracker, but the combination of soft ground and ten furlongs is asking a lot of the speedy Winter, and she must be taken on at shorter than 2/1. My fancy for the race is Queen’s Trust, although my confidence is slightly eroded by the extent of the rain which has hit the track.
That said, I don’t think it can be argued that Sir Michael Stoute’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner needs the top of the ground, and she has had excuses for defeats on easy ground in the past, seeming to handle such conditions perfectly well in the Ribblesdale Stakes last summer, and simply in need of the run on her seasonal return at York.
If it rides soft or worse, that would level the playing field to some degree, so I’ll go fairly small with the win bet, and look to profit more from a Winter defeat.
15:35 – Qatar King George Stakes (5f)
Battaash is well drawn to blast away up the centre, but while he’s been impressive at Sandown on his last two starts, he does need to show he can repeat the feat elsewhere, and he’s opposable at less than 3/1. Marsha isn’t proven on anything softer than good, so could do with drying conditions on the day, but she has the best piece of form on offer courtesy of her impressive Palace House Stakes win at Newmarket in the spring, and she has been unfairly crabbed for a narrow defeat at the hands of Caspian Prince at the Curragh, and that sees her much bigger in the betting that she should be.
On balance of form, she really ought to be favourite, and I’m more than happy to put going concerns on the back burner given her attractive odds.
Rory’s Recommended Bets
- 15:00 – Back Nebo Place only – £150 @ 2.20 or better
- 15:35 – Back Queen’s Trust to win – £50 @ 7.4 or better
- 15:35 – Lay Winter – £100 @ 2.9 or shorter (to lose £190)
- 15:35 – Back Marsha to win – £75 @ 7.6 or better