An open race to start proceedings as the betting would suggest and preference for LEXINGTON ABBEY (Best price 11-2) can only be marginal. Obviously, the assistance of top Australian rider Kerrin McEvoy is a huge plus for the selection who didn’t gain the clearest of passages in a warm handicap won by Danzeno over course and distance last month. Hopefully the ground will continue to dry out and he can give a good account for a yard enjoying a decent run of things at present.
The girls’ team appear to hold a strong hand in this renewal with recent Ascot runner-up Niblawi and the resurgent MUKHAYYAM (Best price 6-1) appearing big contenders, while Kapstadt adds a powerful third string to the girls team as he ran with credit in a valuable hurdle last time and had previously chased home Dylan Mouth at Haydock. The former looks to be peaking for his shrewd stable and probably bumped into a live one over course and distance on King George day in the shape of Royal Associate and the ninth home has won since to boost the form. However, Mukhayyam has hit a rich vein of form in recent weeks and he looked as good as ever in scoring handsomely at Ripon, enjoying the easy surface in the process. Raised 6lb for that cosy win, he is tactically versatile and should be thereabouts if in the same form.
Stall one on the round track could be a little tricky for smooth Chester winner Breakable who is reluctantly overlooked in preference for NICHOLAS T (Best price 8-1) who couldn’t land a blow over seven furlongs in a Class 2 affair here a fortnight ago. The selection did make a little late headway from an uncompromising position and could go well at a price with Kerrin McEvoy on board now that he is returned to a mile. Jim Goldie appears to have a couple of live chances on the card and it could be worth recalling he has already enjoyed one successful venture south to the Berkshire venue this summer courtesy of Jack Dexter’s recent win.
The unexposed NOBLY BORN (Best price 5-2) was having just the fifth race of his career when narrowly beaten in a hot Newmarket handicap last time and there is every chance there is more to come from John Gosden’s talented sprinter. A lack of experience was arguably the only thing that was missing from his performance that day and, as a son of Mayson, underfoot conditions should be to his liking here. Private Matter was seventh that day after being hampered late on and the first-time hood looks an interesting move by connections. I toyed with a saver, especially as there isn’t much juice in the price of the selection, but the claims of Private Matter aren’t quite compelling enough.
DANCE DIVA (Best price 4-1) looks ready for a step up to seven furlongs judged on her Ascot performance behind the classy Nyaleti. There is every chance she may have bumped into an improving filly that day and is afforded another chance to confirm the impression she created over six furlongs at this venue last month in Listed company. She should be at home with any cut in the ground and the only slight reservation about her chance is her position on the track in stall nine if the near side rail and the low draws enjoy a marked advantage.