The decision to give DOUGAN (best price 12-1) a mid-season break will hopefully have paid off by the end of the campaign and he can begin his charge towards some of the big sprinting pots with a positive display on his return to action after a 57-day sabbatical. Following a productive all-weather campaign, David Evans’ charge showed he’s just effective of turf with two excellent place efforts at Newmarket and Newbury and although plans to run in the Wokingham had to be shelved because of his rating being too low, that leap into the deep end may turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Although it’s conceivable that he will always be best over six furlongs, the son of Dutch Art exhibited the sort of gear change at Kempton three starts ago that suggests he has the capabilities to cope with a furlong less and remains one to keep on side whatever the outcome over the weekend.
MUTAKAYYEF (NAP) (best price 11-2) simply oozed class when winning on his seasonal return at York and considering his yard wasn’t particularly firing at the time, it was probably a better performance than the bare figures suggest. Although today’s Group 2 contest demands another step up the ladder from the son of Sea The Stars, he has the qualities to take the test in his stride, and having already proven himself over the course when runner-up to the smart Cannock Chase in the Tercentenary Stakes two years ago (Postponed back in third), he rates a solid each-way bet to keep his amazing record of never being out of the first three in 11 starts intact.
SOUTH SEAS (best price 5-1) impressed by the way he exploded away from his field on debut at Windsor and this potentially classy two-year-old is strongly fancied to continue his progression in this much sterner test. Being by Lope De Vega, Andrew Balding’s charge handled the soft ground at the Berkshire venue better than most and although it’s usually a wise policy to take a cautious approach with wide-margin winners under such conditions, the final split times he posted suggest otherwise on this occasion. Running the last three furlongs three seconds quicker than any other horse on the card points towards this colt having a smart turn of foot, and if he can translate that sort of pace on to a quicker surface, the sky’s the limit for this quality chestnut.
Things didn’t really go MAGICAL MEMORY’S (best price 6-1) way when he was a close-up fourth in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot but racing back over a C&D where he was successful last season, Charlie Hills’ charge has a fine chance of winning the race for the second season in succession for the stable. Improving through the ranks ever since that victory in a valuable handicap at the July meeting last year, the son of Zebedee has made the transition from top-class handicapper to bona-fide Group-race performer a seamless one and even though he is currently 0-4 in the head-to-head count with Twilight Son, today’s race conditions give him every chance of gaining his revenge on his old rival.
MARSHA (best price 7-1) looked an absolute aeroplane when scoring at Ayr last time out and with the likelihood of a very strong pace in store courtesy of Caspian Prince and Kachy in the line-up, Sir Mark Prescott’s charge should get the perfect tow into the business end of the race. Not quite seeing out the stiff six furlongs of the Curragh the time before, the daughter of Acclamation needed no second invitation to capitalise on the return to the minimum trip at the Scottish venue three weeks ago and providing the rain keeps away, she has all the necessary tools to run a big race.
WAVE REVIEWS (best price 7-1) has been keeping good company in recent times and he looks on a fair enough mark on handicap debut for his in-form trainer. Runner-up to subsequent Britannia Handicap hero, Defrocked, at Windsor back in April, William Haggas’ inmate finally just his just rewards for plenty of placed efforts when defeating Gibbs Hill at Salisbury last time out and with that horse going on to advertise the form at Sandown last weekend, confidence is high that the son of Fastnet Rock can hit the frame at the very least.