Haydock, Deauville, Windsor and Pontefract all in the bank, Yarmouth, Newbury and almost certainly Ascot still to come, it’s not what you’d call a quiet time at present in the week I’m currently slap bang in the middle of!
It’s very much peak season now, and with all that going on I’ll also be keeping a watchful eye on the three days of the ever-enjoyable Newmarket July Meeting, which kicks off on Thursday.
Looking ahead to day one there, the boss, John Gosden, runs Waldstern in the opening Group 3 Bahrain Trophy over a mile and five furlongs at 1.50pm.
This is a horse I know well having won on him first time out at the July Course back in August. He was gelded after failing to back up his debut promise shown over a mile, and it’s fair to say the tight turns of Chester just didn’t suit him the last day.
I’d love him to cause a minor upset, but if he can run well, get back in the groove, and regain a bit of his mojo, it’ll still be a satisfying display.
Of the likelier candidates, this is traditionally an informative race looking ahead to the likes of the Great Voltigeur and especially the St Leger later in the season, and the one who’ll surely be all the rage after his third behind Japan at Royal Ascot is Eagles By Day.
Michael Bell’s runner has obviously got lots going for him, but even so my eye is drawn to Ryan Moore’s mount to find the bit extra to give him something to think about, Barbados.
By Galileo, Barbados was a big improver upped in trip to a mile and three quarters for the first time in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, and you sense there could well be more to come at longer distances.
He’s the one I’d want to be on if there was a spare ride going anyway.
Moving on, race two is the six furlong Group 2 July Stakes at 2.25pm.
I doubt it’ll surprise anyone if I suggest my good friend Frankie Dettori looks to be in the best seat here, getting the leg-up on Mark Johnston’s once-raced, unbeaten, course and distance scorer Visinari.
Visinari won his race at the July Course in a good time, plus he was very easy on the eye.
Being drawn in stall one against the fence will be a big help as he’s got bags of speed. I doubt Frankie would swap him.
Later on, the day one feature is the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes over a mile and a half at 3.35pm.
It’s good to see Mirage Dancer having another shot at this prize after being narrowly denied 12 months ago, but with Masar in the line-up my suspicion is he’ll have to settle for minor honours once again.
It’s great to see Masar back. The 2018 Derby winner had absolutely no luck in his comeback run in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot, but nonetheless all the vibes from the Godolphin team in Newmarket are that he’s back to something like his best.
At Ascot pretty much anything that could go wrong did go wrong for him, with the slow pace a hindrance after a bad stumble exiting the stalls.
Given half a chance, I’d certainly be choosing him.
Lastly, fingers crossed for a bit of luck for our own team as Turgenev takes on five rivals in the listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes at 4.40pm.
A tight race on ratings, our lad comes into it after running a blinder at the Royal Meeting and hopefully can go one better. Frankie will be the first to admit he might have gone for home a shade too soon last time, but with a bit of luck in-running he might be the one to beat.
Don’t forget, he was only half a length behind Japan in the Dante, form which now looks pretty smart.
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