BEST OF DAYS (NAP) (best price 5-4) carried a big reputation on his shoulders on racecourse debut at Sandown and in running out an impressive six-length winner, Hugo Palmer’s charge certainly lived up to the hype. Slowly into stride at the Esher track, the son of Azamour powered his way to the front with a relentless charge down the centre of the course in the home straight and with his winning time turning out to be the fastest furlong-per-furlong recording on the six-race card, the performance was highlighted to an even greater extent. Now in the colours of Godolphin silks, this race looks the ideal stepping stone for this potentially smart two-year-old and being a son of a listed winner who stayed 1m 2f well, he should hopefully take this contest in his stride before tackling much bigger assignments further down the line.
Despite the class act of the race, Postponed, being a worthy short-priced favourite, this renewal still has a wide-open feel to it and one of the biggest dangerous floaters could turn out to be the improving MUTAKAYYEF (best price 12-1). Unbeaten in two runs this season, William Haggas’ inmate appears to have really matured since his gelding operation and even though both of those victories have come over a mile, he has enough decent form over further to suggest he’s now worth another try at today’s trip. Indeed, one of his best efforts came here on the Knavesmire last season when he just got touched off by recent Arlington Million hero Mondialiste in the Strensall Stakes and given that run came after a 294-day break, the performance deserved plenty of credit. A strong traveller who thrives of a sound pace, the son of Sea The Stars, who has yet to be out of the frame in 12-career starts, more than deserves a shot at the big time in this prestigious Group 1 prize.
BOTANY BAY (best price 8-1) arrives here off the back of a convincing display at Leopardstown last time out and he looks to have plenty in his favour in this competitive staying handicap. Not only was Charles O’Brien’s charge very tenacious in fending off a series of challengers in the straight at the Dublin venue, he also clocked a very fast time into the bargain and with the third-placed horse, Udogo, going on to win subsequently, the form looks solid. On top of the list of positives, the Galileo gelding has proven track form courtesy of an excellent, close-up, fourth in the ultra-tough Melrose Handicap last season and being drawn in stall one and with Frankie Dettori on board, a massive run looks on the cards.
Away from the obvious ones at the front end of the market, REPEATER (best price 22-1) makes quite a bit of appeal at much bigger odds. Following a breakthrough victory at the Curragh three starts ago, the son of Montjeu went on to run a stormer in the big 1m 4f handicap on Derby Day at Epsom when he came from an unpromising position to finish third behind Green Light. Confirming his wellbeing with another big effort in a competitive contest at Galway recently, Amanda Mooney’s inmate has the sort of cruising speed that could just allow him to creep into the business end of the action without sapping too much of his unproven stamina out of his legs.
HORSEGUARDSPARADE (best price 7-2) was a shade unlucky to bump into a useful sort from the Brendan Powell yard here last week, but he did more than enough to suggest he can be a potent force in future contests of a similar nature. The key to that improved performance can be put down to the decent surface he raced on for the first time in his career over hurdles and having coped with the strong pace that was in evidence that day, the son of Montjeu will be glad to see the presence of the front-running Carrigkerry in the field.