There are a few unexposed horses in here – most obviously the likes of Midterm and Crimean Tatar – and progressive ones too, such as Dai Harraild, but we know that Second Step is fully effective in this grade and he makes his first start for Roger Charlton since leaving Luca Cumani. I think the main reason for the move was simply a change of scenery, and to get him away from the hustle and bustle of a busy Newmarket. Luca obviously did a great job with the horse, and I won a Group 1 on him in Germany, as well as the horse landing a Jockey Club Stakes. His form tailed off towards the end of last season but he had earlier run a great race first time up when not beaten far in the Yorkshire Cup and we were by no means disgraced when fifth to Postponed in the Coronation Cup. If he runs up to that level of form – and he doesn’t carry a penalty for his Group-race wins here – then he has definite each-way chances, but he is a 6yo now and a few of these are going forwards and have more improvement in them, as I mentioned earlier. Then again, my horse is also two from two at the track. I think Crimean Tatar is probably the one to beat.
With John Gosden’s horses in flying form you have to respect the chances of Boussac third Dabyah – and clearly there are fillies in here who are going to leave their juvenile form behind now they have strengthened and matured – but I think you have to be pretty positive about my filly’s chances. Her only disappointment last season came in the Cheveley Park but that wasn’t her true running, and her stand-out performance was clearly her defeat of Roly Poly and Fair Eva in a very good time in the Lowther, even if the runner-up was giving us 3lb that day. The questions for her to answer here are if she stays 7f and has progressed over the winter and in early spring – she wouldn’t have been the biggest last season and clearly doesn’t lack pace – but I’m led to believe that her homework against solid yardsticks has been very good, so I will be going into the race with a very positive mindset. You have to, as on the York form I am on the most talented filly in the field on what we have seen so far.
He went off favourite for the Cambridgeshire last September after two good runs in defeat over a mile at Doncaster and York, but we could never really get into the race from off the pace. It was undoubtedly a disappointing run and he actually races off a 1lb higher mark here. But he has been gelded since and we know he is better than that – I was actually on the winner when he was beaten into second at Doncaster previously – and he has big-field form in 1m handicaps, and seemingly goes very well when fresh, so I have chances in what is clearly a very open race, though no doubt the talked-about, and less exposed, Chelsea Lad will be a strong favourite.
There are a couple in here with some fair form but my colt can hopefully put up a good show on his debut and he is bred to be useful. He is a Mastercraftsman half-brother to a few winners and, while there is plenty of 7f/1m form in his pedigree, let’s hope the 1m2f trip is a good starting point for him first time up.
He showed promise in two starts for Luca last season and I was on board when he finished fifth at Doncaster in June, by far his best effort to date. He hasn’t been seen since but he seems to be on a fair mark on his handicap debut here and he is related to some very good horses, such as the likes of Group 3 winner Wannabe Yours – I think he is a full brother to him – and Wannabe Loved. I’d be pretty hopeful of a good show.
Like a few of these in here, he is a lightly-raced sprinter with the prospect of more to come. He showed promise on turf before putting up two good efforts, last time out winning a maiden on his first start over 5f. A mark of 75 seems fair enough.
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