BLAIR HOUSE (best price 7-2) gave the impression that the track beat him last time rather than he wasn’t good enough and he remains a promising sort worthy of continued support. Impressive when landing a maiden at Nottingham in a smart time, naturally, Charlie Appleby’s charge was a warm order to hit the mark on his first start in handicap company at Musselburgh but after dwelling in the stalls and finding himself behind the eight-ball early on, he couldn’t quite make up the lost ground at a track where the front runners often don’t come back. Racing over a more conventional course this time, the son of Pivotal should find the galloping nature of the July venue to his liking and he rates a decent bet to take the step up the ladder towards pattern company.
Backing top weights in nurseries is usually a fruitful strategy and that theory is put to the test again with AFANDEM (best price 3-1) a strong fancy to overcome the steadier of 9st 7lb. Impressive both visually and on the clock first time up at Doncaster, Hugo Palmer’s charge was slightly disappointing to get beat under his penalty next time out at Goodwood but in fairness he did bump into the useful Yalta who clearly knew his job on his racecourse debut. Back on song with a facile win at Brighton last time out, the Vale Of York colt has the qualities to score off a mark of 95.
Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong for MASTERPAVER (best price 9-2) last time out at Carlisle, but he did more than enough to suggest that loss was just a blip. Potentially well drawn in that big 1m 4f affair at the Cumberland venue (stall one), Richard Fahey’s charge kept getting shuffled back through the field as horses were constantly dropping back in his lap down the inside fence and, as a result, he found himself with fresh air behind him as they turned their heads for home. Staying on strongly once out into the clear, the son of Mastercraftsman finished best of all to snatch a place return from the wreckage, and now racing over a track that should suit his big frame much better, he’s fancied to put that nightmare well and truly behind him.
MAYFAIR LADY (best price 7-2) confirmed two things when she scored here on her seasonal return, firstly that she’d trained on from two to three and secondly, her liking for the Knavesmire. Now 2-2 over the C&D, Richard Fahey’s inmate clocked a spectacular time when making virtually all the running a month ago and with the prospect of even more to come now she has that initial run under her belt, the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor looks set to blitz this field in similar fashion.
RIO RONALDO (best price 12-1) is a bit of a hostage-to-fortune character, but as he’s shown on his last two starts, he’s a force to be reckoned with in these type of races when everything falls just right. A last-to-first charge saw him mow down a decent field in a very fast time at Windsor two outings ago and although he failed to back up that performance with victory back over the same C&D 13 days ago, he ran with a great deal of credit on ground he wouldn’t have appreciated. Well drawn right in the middle of the field and racing under his optimum conditions, Mike Murphy’s charge looks set fair to put up a massive display and he rates a seriously good each-way bet at 12-1 with four places on offer.
LIBRISA BREEZE (best price 2-1) was a well-documented big eye-catcher in the Hunt Cup and compensation awaits Dean Ivory’s charge if he can run to a similar standard dropping back in trip. One of the best backed horses to land the traditional mile cavalry charge at the Royal meeting, the son of Mount Nelson couldn’t quite land the gamble, but in finishing a gallant second to Portage, he came out of the race with a massive amount of credit. As it transpired, he was drawn on the wrong side as all the action took place towards the far rail, but having beaten all those around him with a bit to spare, the four-year-old gave out signals that he remains a well-handicapped horse on turf.
If the favourite doesn’t manage to put his best foot forward, FIELDSMAN (best price 20-1) appeals as one of the chief beneficiaries and he’s worth a small saver at the morning prices. A game winner of a competitive heat over on the Rowley course at the first time of asking for George Scott, the experiment to try a mile and, race alone up the stand-side rail unfortunately backfired on his most recent outing at Epsom. Seemingly at his best when asked to race over seven furlongs on good ground, he should get the decent pace he desires and based on yesterday’s action, stall three doesn’t appear to be too bad a spot either.
SATCHVILLE FLYER (NAP) (best price 5-2) scored with contemptuous ease over tonight’s course last week and he rates a good bet to follow up that facile success despite dropping back a furlong. Showing bright pace throughout, David Evans’ inmate pulled readily clear of a field which contained plenty of course specialists and with his overall and sectional times suggesting it was a performance of a horse far removed from one of his current rating, the son of Compton Place should prove difficult to beat especially on ground that he will appreciate even more than 10 days ago.