Time Test and Fair Eva both impressed in different ways on Saturday as Roger Charlton unleashed a couple of the Beckhampton big guns to score and he could enjoy further joy today with HIGH SHIELDS (Best price 8-1) in the opener. I was taken with the selection two starts ago when he landed his maiden over course and distance in relative comfort and his subsequent performance when fourth over 12 furlongs at Ascot last time was another upward move on his graph. The step up in trip didn’t seem to bring the best out of him that day and a strongly-run ten furlongs look ideal conditions for High Shield at this stage of his career.
The consistent MONTSARRAT (Best price 18-1) is a big price because of his draw but, if Franny Norton can gain an early position near the front, his odds might appear too generous. He is too big a price not to support in a small way given the way his yard have started the meeting.
BLUE POINT (Best price 8-11) routed a weak field at Doncaster and the level of form doesn’t look up to much, however, the time was extremely swift for a race of that nature and there is every chance the Godolphin inmate is an above average juvenile and one worth following. Bookmakers have taken few chances in pricing up the son of Sharmadal and many will feel his last-time out win was difficult to quantify, but the speed figure suggested he is a high-class colt in the making.
SWORD FIGHTER (Best price 13-2) looks the latest cab off the Aidan O’Brien Cup ranks and he could be a tough horse to reel in if allowed to dominate. A recent Curragh Cup win was achieved in trademark front-running style and the son of Galileo certainly lacks little in the bravery department. This race represents another sizeable step up in class but he is thriving at present and worth backing to maintain his progression.
KINEMA (Best price 16-1) has improved since joining Ralph Beckett and was a smooth winner here over 14f before producing a strong burst to land a warm Ascot handicap. He looks over-priced.
This race presents more questions than answers with favourite Pamona holding a leading chance providing her temperament holds. She looked a useful conveyance upped in trip with the headgear on at York but having missed the wedding at 25-1, I’m not sure I want to be at the funeral at 5-2. John Gosden holds a strong hand with CALIFORNIA (Best price 8-1) and Mill Springs and the return to a trip on fast ground appeared to suit the former so she is risked in a race where confidence is at a minimum. Her Ascot success featured a good deal of tenacity, an attribute which could be handy given one or two of her rivals haven’t previously appeared the heartiest in a tight spot.
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