When Luca Cumani maps out a plan it invariably comes to fruition and his decision to step down Second Step in class in the Listed Sri Lanka August Stakes at Windsor (6.35) at Windsor looks a masterstroke from a master trainer.
The Dalakhani gelding commenced the season with a gallant effort under Andrea Atzeni when finishing third, beaten three quarters of a length, to Clever Cookie in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup at York in May where he didn’t appear to quite last home after hitting the front over two furlongs out.
Since then the Craig Bennett-owned five-year-old has been trying to ply his trade in tougher company without success but only seven and a half lengths adrift of Postponed in the Group 1 Yorkshire Cup, seven lengths behind Big Orange in the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket’s July meeting and, although last of seven, was beaten only six and a quarter lengths by Highland Reel in the Group 1 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Ascot in July.
Afterwards. Cumani intimated that Second Step needed a easier test to get his head in front again and he appears to have found just the right assignment this evening.
Andrea Atzeni has won on Second Step on three occasions including when beating the odds-on Telescope a head in the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes at Newmarket in May of last year and the application of blinkers for the first time looks another positive move. Second Step has been given just over a month to freshen up and he looks worth a 4pt investment with the likelihood he will be taking in loftier targets later in the Autumn.
Sir Michael Stoute could be in luck earlier in the evening at Windsor where Ulysses is fancied to carry on his climb up the ranks in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes (6.00). The Galileo colt earned a place in the Investec Derby after hacking up by eight lengths from New World Power over this evening’s mile and a quarter trip at Newbury in May but was just overphased in the Epsom Class and finished out with the washing in Harzand’s Blue Riband.
It was back to the drawing board for UIysses but he confirmed Stoute’s high opinion of him when beating The Major General half a length in the Group 3 Gordon Stakes over a mile and a half at Goodwood in July. That will have boosted Ulysses’s confidence and the return to a mile and a quarter should hold no fears for the offspring of 2007 Oaks winner Light Shift. He looks worth a 2pt investment.
Earlier in the day, Grecian Light could well prove the answer to the Group 3 Prestige Stakes at Goodwood (2.45). The daughter of Dubawi made a winning debut over seven furlongs at Newmarket in July when beating Voice of Truth half a length and followed up with highly creditable effort in the Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes on her return to that course and distance this month when runner-up, beaten a length and a half to Nations Alexander where two of today’s rivals, On Her Toes and Urban Fox, were just behind. Those rivals went into that race with much greater experience and Grecian Light is fancied to confirm the form and looks worth a 1pt investment.