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ONE of the potential stars of the flat season, BAAEED, makes his long awaited return to the track in the Group One Lockinge Stakes (Newbury, 3.20) and it will be a major shock if he is beaten in what looks a straightforward start to his second season in training (having never raced as a juvenile).
Unbeaten in six starts last year, including a sensational victory in the Group 3 Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood, followed by a smooth success in the Prix du Moulin, many then crabbed his last win in the QEII at Ascot on Champions Day. However, he could just have been feeling the effects of a long hard 2021 when he edged out Palace Pier by a neck.
A very strong looking colt, who perhaps doesn’t have the physical demeanour of a 10 furlong horse, has the ability to travel at a high cruising speed and then pick up his rivals with a classy turn of foot at the end of his race, marking the son of Sea The Stars as a global superstar in the making, should he to stick to a mile.
His biggest danger could well be that classy filly Alcohol Free who had a lovely pipe opener when third in the Sandown Mile, any ease in the ground will be a bonus for her, and she in turn is preferred to former 1,000 Guineas’ heroine Mother Earth who looked laboured on her comeback victory at the Curragh.
The London Gold Cup (2.45), a 10 furlong handicap for three-year-olds, is always a race worth following as the season unfolds and several of the 13 entries are likely to be plying their trade at a higher level through the summer and autumn months.
Fans of Desert Crown will be looking for a big form boost from four race maiden, Mr Big Stuff, who finished six lengths off that promising colt when third at Nottingham. But I am not so sure this is his trip, and I much prefer the claims of the INVERNESS and Red Vineyard.
The last named hated the soft ground on his second juvenile start and put that well behind him when a strong, staying winner of a 10 furlong handicap at Sandown (5lbs higher here). Inverness quite obviously didn’t handle Epsom in the Blue Riband Derby Trial last time out, but was still only beaten five lengths off what was only a medium gallop.
This track should play more to his strengths and the son of Highland Reel can use this as a stepping stone to something like the King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot, where the mile-and-a-half should suit him even better.
Also, at the Berkshire track, have a second look at both THE ORGANISER in the opening Carnarvon Stakes at 1.50 and NOTRE BELLE BETE in the mile handicap at 5.04. The former will relish the return to a more forgiving surface in that listed opener and remains unexposed, while the last named, only beaten four lengths in the Lincoln Handicap should be much more at home over this bare mile than the nine furlongs of Suffolk Heritage Handicap at Newmarket last time out.
At Newmarket, the fields are rather disappointing, and I will be having just the single interest on MISS HARMONY in the fillies’ handicap at 4.45. Michael Bell has his yard in good at the moment, and this daughter of Zoffany has been crying out for a trip in excess of seven furlongs on her three career starts to date.
My strongest selection at Thirsk comes in a quite a hot class three handicap sprint at 4.05. But several of these probably want some ease in the ground, and unless we get some unexpected rain, the field could decrease significantly in size.
That could open the door for the classy speedster TINTO (nb) whom I tipped up first time out. He looked to be coming with a winning run here over the course and distance that day, until fitness told at the distance.
That run should have put a nice edge on him and with the bonus that the handicapper has kept him on his current rating of 87, despite being beaten less than a length and a half, I think he can see off this field on his favoured fast ground before stepping back up in grade.
Intrinsic Bond is one of those aforementioned entries that probably wants more dig, but he looks sure to strike shortly, while it will be interesting to see if there is any money for Quest For Fun following a long spell on the side lines.
Later on at Chelmsford, BADRI (4.20, nap) who is going to absolutely adore the end to end gallop in this seven furlong event. I fancy that he could even be tried over a mile this season and so defy his breeding line, but for the time being this trip could well be his optimum one.
Later on, BRONZE RIVER may well be good enough to defy top weight in a basement grade contest at 5.40.
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