Mark Johnston drew a rare blank at Royal Ascot last week but the ground was unseasonally soft and any follower of the great man will know that the majority of his horses targeted for the likes of that course and Goodwood are invariably fast ground lovers.

One of the absentees from activities as a result of underfoot conditions was Buratino but that could prove a blessing in disguise for the Exceed And Excel colt who looks a solid option in the Group 3 Betfred Chipchase Stakes on the tapeta at Newcastle (2.30).

Buratino was a model of consistency in his first season and, more importantly, showed himself to be a high class performer as he displayed when scooting home by two lengths from Air Force Blue in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at the Royal meeting 12 months ago. The position were reversed in the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh in July when he was beaten two and a half length into third by his old adversary and he ended the campaign with another courageous effort when beaten only half a length by Shalaa in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket (6f) in September.

Buratino could only finish ninth to Galileo Gold in the Qipco 2000 Guineas on his reappearance at Newmarket (1m) at the end of April but he clearly found the mile beyond the limits of his stamina and showed more of his old sparkle in the Group 3 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock (6f) on his latest start at the end of may when fourth, beaten three and three quarter lengths, to subsequent Group 1 winner Quiet Attraction when attempting to concede 6lb to the winner.

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The conditions of this event mean that Buratino is no longer penalised for his Coventry Stakes success and, as a winner on the AW at Chelmsford first time out at two, he clearly handles an artificial surface. He was in grand form according to connections prior to Ascot and this race can provide some compensation for his omission from the Royal Stage. A 2pt win is recommended.

Richard Fahey has some tasty juvenile fillies at his disposal with Queen Kindly (close third in the Albany Stakes) and Kocollada (fourth in the Queen Mary) both giving a good account of themselves at Royal Ascot.

Fahey’s visitors to Newmarket’s July course are always worth a second look and I am hopeful that Marie Of Lyon can confirm the impression of her debut success at York earlier in the month in the Listed Cambridge Magazine Supporting the AHT Empress Stakes (3.20). The Royal Applause filly showed a touch of class when cutting down the experienced Final Reckoning to score by a length and a half and the runner-up hardly came off the bridle to get off the mark at Yarmouth yesterday.

Marie of Lyon can be expected to come on for that experience and she looks worth a 1pt investment.
Buratino - 2pts @ 4/1
Marie of Lyon - 1pt @ 7/2