Race 1 NORFOLK STAKES (Group 2) -16/06/2022
Trainer: Andrew Balding – Jockey: Jack Mitchell
Knowing why BAKEEL has not run since his impressive debut success in April would assist in the level of staking for the Sioux Nation colt, who can now put that experience of this track and trip to good use in a sizzling juvenile sprint.
A further run from which to judge him would have helped, but that’s also the case with BRAVE NATION, who is by the same sire and also returns from a seven-week break.
More threatening to the selection is THE ANTARCTIC, a dual scorer from the Coolmore academy who is a full brother to champion sprinter Battaash. The way he’s delivered in those outings in Ireland suggests there should be a lot more to come, but like so many juveniles that Aidan O’Brien saddles here he is likely to be over bet, and start at a price that doesn’t accurately reflect his chance.
This is one of the best Norfolks we’ve seen in a while, and another with very solid claims for inclusion that can earn is WALBANK, a son of Kodiac who is a course and distance winner here, and who trotted up at York.
Prediction: 1st BAKEEL, 2nd Walbank, 3rd The Antarctic
Race 2 KING GEORGE V HANDICAP
No6 SCHMILSSON (Each Way)
Trainer: Andrew Balding – Jockey: David Probert
As the only unbeaten horse in the field, and from a trainer very much amongst the winners, SAVVY KNIGHT needs to be taken seriously. He took out a Ripon handicap with any amount in hand, and James Doyle is an eye-taking booking for him.
ISRAR did us a good turn under a peach of a ride from Crowley at Newbury, but has gone further up in the weights. He could be a Group horse, but will need to be to win.
That remark applies to Jessie Harrington’s contender YASHIN and the William Haggas hope MANDOBI, but the one that can trump them all is SCHMILSSON. This colt by champion sprinter Muhaarar floored a filly with Pattern race form at Bath, and has gained a huge confidence boost from the wide margin success. He should relish the step up to a mile and a half and I expect to see plenty of positivity behind him in the betting ring.
For a smash up, and one that has to go into exotic permutations, consider an earning run from the Mark Johnston-trained ACHNAMARA, who is probably better than his form tells us he is.
Prediction: 1st SCHMILSSON, 2nd Savvy Knight, 3rd Achnamara, 4th Israr, 5th Mandobi, 6th Yashin
Race 3 RIBBLESDALE STAKES (Group 2)
No6 SEA SILK ROAD
Trainer: William Haggas – Jockey: Tom Marquand
Only six fillies contest the historic Ribblesdale, in which the one with her star in the ascent is SEA SILK ROAD. The daughter of Sea The Stars graduated into a black-type filly when cosily taking out a Listed race at Goodwood and will enjoy stretching out to the mile and a half distance.
She can get the better of LIFE OF DREAMS, an equally well-related filly representing Godolphin who chased home Emily Upjohn in the Musidora, and should have plenty more to give.
Irish-trained filly MAGICAL LAGOON makes a certain amount of appeal for an earning performance, rather than for win purposes.
Race 4 GOLD CUP (Group 1)
No6 MOJO STAR
Trainer: Richard Hannon – Jockey: Rossa Ryan
The baking heat is going to rule out Trueshan and it might not favour ante-post favourite KYPRIOS, for whom my messages are worryingly mixed.
And while it’s easy to think this means it’s going to fall into the lap of STRADIVARIUS, the ageing former champion will still need to be on his A-game if he is to post a fourth victory in the blue riband of the meeting.
The now eight-year-old got the job done well enough in the Yorkshire Cup but could find PRINCESS ZOE and MOJO STAR too hot to handle. Princess Zoe chased home the now sidelined Subjectivist in this 12 months ago but importantly endorsed her liking for the track with a success over Quickthorn in the Sagaro Stakes in April that has worked out.
With MOJO STAR, it’s a case of whether he can carry his 2021 Derby and St Leger placed efforts to greater heights over a new trip. Richard Hannon reports him to be in great form, and granted a married man’s gallop as occurred in the Ascot Stakes earlier in the week he could do the others for toe, but he is very much a speculative selection.
Prediction: 1st MOJO STAR, 2nd Princess Zoe, 3rd Stradivarius
Race 5 BRITANNIA HANDICAP
No30 JIMI HENDRIX (Each Way)
Trainer: Ralph Beckett – Jockey: Rob Hornby
Extended places apply to this wickedly difficult three-year-old only handicap and I’ll put my head on the block and say JIMI HENDRIX can leave his supporters in a purple haze if turning up the same horse that he looks at home. The flashy chestnut creeps in at the foot of the weights following an eye-taking Haydock success in which his impressive turn of foot proved a key ingredient. He works like a horse that’s some way better than his mark, but in a race of this nature, a certain amount of luck in running is required.
TRANQUIL NIGHT looked better the further he traveled when scoring at Newmarket while stablemate KING OF TIME landed some chunky bets to complete a hat-trick and remain unbeaten at the same venue.
THESIS has figures of 222 for Roger Charlton but has been unfortunate to bump into very smart foes like My Prospero and Red Rambler, and could easily take home a decent cheque.
Prediction: 1st JIMI HENDRIX, 2nd Thesis, 3rd King Of Time, 4th Tranquil Night
Race 6 HAMPTON COURT STAKES (Group 3)
No6 REACH FOR THE MOON (Nap)
Trainer: John Gosden – Jockey: Frankie Dettori
Everything has fallen into the lap of REACH FOR THE MOON, who barring accidents will become the most popular winner at the meeting so far in the silks of Her Majesty. A minor setback prevented the Sea The Stars colt contesting the Derby, but he ran well to finish second in a Listed race at Sandown behind a rival who was narrowly beaten in a Group 1 here on Tuesday. He holds a couple of Group 1 entries going forward, and without wishing to add to the pressure, many will think nothing but a win will do.
It’s hard to make a case for one to beat the odds-on favourite, but for the exacta I fancy CRESTA to get into the argument. The New Bay colt improved for the fitting of a hood to chase home Star Of India in the Dee Stakes, and can improve on that showing.
Prediction: 1st: REACH FOR THE MOON, 2nd: CRESTA
Race 7 BUCKINGHAM PALACE HANDICAP
No15 MONTASSIB (Each Way)
Trainer: William Haggas – Jockey: Tom Marquand
Unbeaten MONTASSIB stands out like a beacon as the kind of unexposed horse that you want to be with in a race that should be wide open, but might not be. With his unbeaten sequence of three successes spread out over three separate seasons the Exceed And Excel gelding can mirror the ability he displayed when taking out a Goodwood handicap.
CHIEFOFCHIEFS has a good record at this track and was fourth in the 2021 Wokingham. He failed to menace in the Victoria Cup, but could easily leave that form some way behind.
TANMAWWY is another to have on your mind with a record of three conversions from only four career starts, while on course support for VAFORTINO would also come as no surprise.
SILENT FILM has landed his last three starts for Godolphin, he’s on the up and up and must also go into all exotic permutations.
Prediction: 1st MONTASSIB, 2nd Vafortino, 3rd Silent Film, 4th Chiefofchiefs, 5th Tanmawwy