Andy Holding has five selections for Thursday's racing, with a NAP at Salisbury
Queen Power takes a marked drop in grade after mixing it with some of the best fillies around at Royal Ascot and Goodwood respectively, but at the same time, she’s sometimes not appeared to be the strongest of finishers, especially when tried beyond a mile, so she might well turn out to be vulnerable to something that keeps on galloping and shows a bit more willing and AWARD SCHEME (best price 3-1) strikes as being a filly who ticks all those particular boxes.
Off the mark at the fourth time of asking over today’s C&D back in June, William Haggas’ filly displayed extremely likeable battling qualities to get the better of Arriviste once headed inside the final furlong and with runner-up going on to run well in a Group 3 at Deauville next time, the form rates fairly solid for a fillies’ handicap. Up in the ratings and in grade at York last time out, the daughter of Siyouni made mincemeat of her six rivals by running out an impressive six lengths winner and with the overall time figure and backend sectionals backing up the visual aspect of the performance (ran the last three furlongs in the same time as Group 2 winner Aspetar), she clearly is a filly on the rise. Obviously she will have to improve again to be rubbing shoulders with fillies already proven in pattern company, but she looks in every way ready for the task at hand and if it boils down to who wants it more in the latter stages, hopefully her tenacious attitude can be seen as the telling factor.
ALMAREEKH (NAP) (best price 11-4) didn’t score in the manner her skimpy odds suggested at Doncaster last time out, but that narrow-margin win might turn out to be a blessing in disguise as it means she still sits on a fairly handy mark, and one that she has the potential to exploit to the max.
Handed an opening rating of 77 based on her commanding success in a decent maiden at Yarmouth the time before, it appeared Sir Michael Stoute’s filly had got away quite leniently given the time figure she posted at the seaside venue and although that turned out to be the case 19 days ago, she ended up putting her supporters through the mixer. That said, she still found plenty for pressure when pressed close home by the patiently-ridden Guroor and in any case, she was also in front plenty long enough over a track that often plays into the hands who tend to play their cards late in the piece. Sure to have learnt valuable lessons from that scare on Town Moor, hopefully connections will order the daughter of War Front to be held onto a little longer with a view to pouncing late and if so, this classy-looking filly can complete her hat trick.
A wide-open affair with many arriving here with solid claims and of the 18-strong field ULTRA PRIDE (best price 9-1) and LYRICAL ATTRACTION (best price 10-1) have certainly shown enough in recent times to suggest they can both make their presence felt.
The former has only managed to win once in 14 starts, but there have been plenty of times when he’s looked like adding to that tally but he’s either just not quite seen out the trip when they’ve tried him over 1m4f or they’ve got the tactics all wrong when racing over shorter distances. Take last time out at Galway as an example. The one thing which will get a stayer beaten is to blast off in front with an inefficient ride and that’s exactly what Robbie Colgan did at Ballybrit in a mile handicap 12 days ago. Setting off like scalded cat, the son of Thewayyouare was eyeballed for the lead by On The Balcony and, as a result, he predictably got softened up and fell back through the pack as he met the rising ground. Prior to that tepid display, the four-year-old gelding travelling like the winner until not seeing out the trip over today’s course, but the way he went through the race at the Dublin venue strongly suggests that if given a similarly patient ride over two furlongs shorter he might have a chance of coming up trumps. Nicely drawn in stall one, hopefully he will be taken back and allowed to bowl along nicely around the inside with plenty of cover before being delivered with a potent challenge inside the final two furlongs.
The latter arrives here having run a blinder to finish a creditable fourth in a red-hot and strongly-run handicap over today’s course and a repeat of that effort should see the Dandy Man filly right in the mix.
Seemingly struggling towards the rear having missed the break and finding herself in an uncompromising position, Jarlath Fahey’s inmate picked up nicely in the closing stages to get within hailing distance of the three main players and with the third home, Place Des Vogses, going on to score since, the form looks worth following. Moreover, the four-year-old returns to the scene of that fine effort racing back over here optimum trip and providing she can work herself into a better position at an earlier stage her this afternoon, she’s likely to have some sort of say in the final outcome.
BRIDGE NATIVE (best price 3-1) doesn’t have the sexy profile that several of her rivals have, namely Goodbye Someday for one, but what she does have on her side is plenty of track knowledge built up over a period of time and that vital component will hopefully count for plenty in the final analysis.
Tried unsuccessfully over three miles at Bellewstown two starts ago, the daughter of Stowaway was dropped down a full mile when sent back over fences here 19 days ago and having tracked a strong pace set by Bective Cave, she stayed on powerfully on the run-in to score in convincing fashion. Taking her course stats to 2411 with that victory, the nine-year-old mare looks set to capitalise on a hurdle mark significantly lower than her chase one.