He has run two contrasting races so far. He was a big eye-catcher when getting no run when third at Goodwood first time out and I was on board when he was ridden more prominently in the Convivial at York. Even though he ended up finishing well-beaten last time, he stuck on pretty well, and the form of that race couldn’t have worked out much better. The winner may have disappointed at Doncaster but the next three home have all won since. It’s a competitive maiden but hopefully he has as good a chance as any in here, though Emaraaty did shape very well at Sandown first time out and looks a good prospect.
This is a good Group 3, and you wouldn’t be in a rush to rule any of them out, bar the one down the bottom maybe. Second Step hasn’t run a bad race all season. He beat Desert Encounter, albeit getting 3lb, at Goodwood in May and the merit of his second to Poet’s Word at that track was underlined by the winner finishing second in the Irish Champion Stakes. I knew I was beaten by a good horse at Goodwood, and so it proved. He got his head back in front at Windsor last time and I think he will be very competitive on a course where he always runs well. It is a pretty deep race for a Group 3, though I do think this could lie between my horse and Eclipse third Desert Encounter.
He won over this trip at Windsor first time out but was then stepped up to 7f in the Acomb last time, where he made big strides to finish third. He clearly needs to come on again to beat the form horses Invincible Army and James Garfield – the latter finished well ahead of him at York – but the potential is there and a well-run race over 6f would suit him here. I am not sure whether he will reverse the form with James Garfield but I do think that he will get a lot closer. He did well to finish as close as he did at York given his outside draw and the fact that he was still very green – a wide draw over 7f at York is a big disadvantage for a 2yo having just his second start – and that experience will stand him in good stead here.
I think he has a fair bit going for him here, albeit this is obviously a very competitive handicap, as you’d expect for a 75k prize. It’s been a while since Luca won this race but Banksea has very solid claims. He won well for me over a mile here in April and you can forgive him his two runs since. He had no chance from his low draw in the Hunt Cup and he wouldn’t have liked the soft ground after a short break at Ascot a fortnight ago. The handicapper has ignored those two runs too, which isn’t ideal, but I think he is still fairly treated off a 4lb higher mark than his victory here earlier in the season and he has winning form over this 1m2f trip. I sat on him on Tuesday morning in an easy gallop and he is fresh and well; we backed off him in the summer as he wasn’t quite right but he seems in good order now. He would not want any rain though; he wants decent ground.
He has gone backwards since a good second over 1m6f at Salisbury earlier in the season, though to be fair the extreme trip in bad conditions wouldn’t have been ideal when he finished last at Goodwood last time. He has form over this trip and he has been dropped 4lb, so he could bounce back to form here and have an each-way chance.
This is the first time I have ridden him since he ran poorly at Doncaster earlier in the season. But he is two from two, both over this trip, when encountering decent ground since then, so he wouldn’t want any rain. He has gone up 5lb for his Yarmouth win last time but the form looks solid enough and hopefully there is more to come from him. This is a stronger race than he has been competing in though.
He cost a fair amount earlier in the year and he shaped with real promise for me at Lingfield over 7f on his debut last month. The easy winner looks a fair prospect and my colt certainly shaped as though this longer trip was worth trying. This could be a fair maiden for the track but hopefully he will have learned a lot from his first start – a horse jumped the road in front of us there, which wasn’t ideal, as it put us on the back foot – and make the Saturday night trip here worthwhile. Given his breeding I think he will better suited to synthetics than the good to soft ground at Lingfield, and I think we can put it up to Kind Act, who finished second to a good horse in Chilean at Chelmsford last time, here.
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