TULIUS (best price 8-1) proved last time out at Epsom that there’s still life in the old dog yet and with the rain which has fallen in the last 24 hours more beneficial to his chances than quite a few others, he rates the percentage each-way call. Andrew Balding’s charge has pretty much dined at the very top table for most of his career and in the first-time visor at the Surrey venue back in June, he arguably turned in one of his best ever performances when getting the better of the very smart Decorated Hero in a driving finish. Having proven stamina courtesy of a win in the Skybet York Stakes here last year and plenty of top-class form on soft ground, the son of Le Vie Dei Colori has a fine chance of maintaining his unbeaten track record.
This should turn out to be a proper test for three-year-olds and the two that catch the eye under the prevailing conditions are INJAM (best price 18-1) and EMPEROR NAPOLEAN (best price 9-1). Although the former only won a three-runner affair at Haydock last time out, there was certainly no hiding place as both he and Kaatskill Nap went at it up front like a couple of heavyweight prize fighters. Jedd O’Keeffe’s charge, therefore, did really well not only to come through that little joust for the lead, but to then outstay the more patiently ridden Project Bluebook in the latter stages and it’s that stamina which should allow him to become a more potent force in this contest than his odds imply. The latter never really got a chance to show what he could do at Goodwood last time due to him being far too keen in the early stages, but the fact that he loomed up looking a threat three out before paying for those exertions was enough to suggest he has enough raw ability to be a huge consideration in these type of events in future.
Despite creeping up in the ratings due to a series of consistent performances in quality handicaps of late, there’s enough mileage left in HAVE A NICE DAY (best price 13-2) to suggest he’s worth keeping on side. A winner over today’s C&D three starts ago, Sabrina Harty’s inmate has performed extremely well in two subsequent contests at Galway and Roscommon, and with the latest effort coming courtesy of a very brave display when runner-up to Great Wide Open in an extremely strongly run affair at the latter venue, another big run looks on the cards in this similar heat at his favourite track.
SHE IS NO LADY (best price 11-1) looked a stayer of some potential when pitched into pattern company for the first time at Sandown on her latest outing and if she can transfer that sort of performance to the vagaries of the Knavesmire, Ralph Beckett’s charge has a decent chance of scooping the big pot. Having proven her stamina with a smooth success at Chelmsford the time before, the daughter of Lope De Vega also coped with the rise in class with aplomb at the Esher venue with a display of quality and tenaciousness in her narrow defeat, and with subsequent Lonsdale runner-up, Pallasator, back in fourth, the form has a solid look.Having shown a liking for today’s track in recent times, SHREWD (best price 12-1) also comes into the mix on the pick of his form. A winner over the C&D two starts ago when he stayed on very strongly in the latter stages, Iain Jardine’s charge also ran with great credit in a much more demanding examination back at the track last time out. Although only fifth in that listed race won by Pamona, the son of Street Sense probably just found the ground a little quick for his liking that day so the rain that has fallen during the last 24 hours will aid his cause more than most.
Having run an absolute blinder when third in the Galway Plate last time out, confidence is high that BALLYCASEY (NAP) (best price 9-4) can end a frustrating run of negative results in this slightly less taxing contest. The way he went through that hot handicap at Ballybrit suggested that Willie Mullins’ charge is beginning to get back some of his old swagger and with the form of that race 24 days ago working out extremely well with the likes of stable mates, Alelchi Inois and Devils Bride both going on to win subsequently, there’s a decent chance that the son of Presenting will following suit under his optimum conditions.