Shock 25/1 winner of the Rockingham Stakes, Rebel Assault, will bid to make it back to back listed wins but taking 7/2 about her repeating or building on that effort does not look value. Never Back Down may well force the pace with Rebel Assault but after a good return in the Two Year Old Trophy at Redcar, could well feel the effects of such an effort after and needs to improve to be in the mix. That said Hugo Palmer has a good record with his two year olds at Doncaster along with a 30% strike rate when Ryan Moore is booked. With a little juice in the ground Staxton is a good performer and could be the value @ 6/1 finishing only two lengths behind Rebel Assault last time on good ground. The unknown quantities are Speak In Colours and Mutaaqeb with any market moves to be respected while Ulshaw Bridge could run well @ 20/1 after finding seven furlongs a stretch in the Acomb Stakes.
It is easy to see why Singlefarmpayment is favourite after going so close at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ultima Handicap Chase back in March. That was over four furlongs further but being only seven years of age, improvement should be forthcoming and presuming Tom George’s charge is fit, will likely take all the beating @ 9/2. It would be dangerous to underestimate 2016 winner Coologue and though he may have not gone on to better things last season he is back down to the same mark as he was a year ago and should make a bold bid. Doing Fine warmed up for this with a run over hurdles at Fontwell, looks well handicapped on Quickened Clear’s ratings and will be doing his best work at the finish and should get the strong pace he needs with Sonofpresenting and Perfect Candidate in the field . Viconte Du Noyer won here at the Open Meeting last season and is only two pounds higher today, he is an interesting runner @ 10/1 while Tanit River and Minellacelebration can all go well at prices.
Danehill Kodiac was victorious last time with a game, front running ride in the Cumberland Lodge and could well repeat that feat here at Newbury. With no other horses likely to force the pace, Danehill Kodiac may be allowed to dictate proceedings again though his penalty does make life a bit more difficult. Architecture will be suited by a return to this distance but like, Raheen House, will have to accelerate from off a likely slow pace, which is not ideal. Godolphin are doubly represented, Frontiersman got his head in front at Newmarket with blinkers fitted but it was not a strong race and is probably best suited by quicker ground. Best Solution is of more interest returning to these shores after two runs in Germany. He has not really carried his three year old season on since winning the Lingfield Derby trial in May but performed with credit in Munich on his penultimate start and will enjoy a little give in the ground while sitting close to the pace. He could be value @ 13/2. Ayrad managed to get his head in front at Salisbury in what was a four runner handicap on heavy ground, this is a completely different proposition but he is talented. Mountain Bell has not been since coming second in this race last year and could well be primed by Ralph Beckett for a big run and should not be ruled out.
With the absence of Defi Du Seuil, Bedrock, only six lengths behind Defi Du Seuil at Aintree, has to be the one to beat and has a fitness edge on his closest rival, Twobeelucky. Tactics will be all important and it could be that Bedrock will attempt to test the stamina of this small field having stayed further last season. Golden Jeffrey is an interesting runner for Iain Jardine after a good summer novice hurdling while Twobeelucky is open to improvement and they rate the main threats to Bedrock with Arthington up against it on the figures.
An intriguing Horris Hill with market leaders Dream Today and Mythical Magic likey to ensure it is a truly run race. Dream Today returned to form in the Autumn Stakes proving that his maiden win was no fluke with a good second to the impressive Ghaiyyath. Mark Johnston’s son of Dream Ahead sets the standard but has to show consistency and it is worth noting that his below par run at Doncaster came on ground softer than good. Mythical Magic found things too hot in Group One company at Chantilly but was a good third in the Champagne Stakes and should be thereabouts, presuming he does not get involved in a scrap up front with Dream Today. A duel on the front end on the other hand could set things up for Nebo, who has not raced over this trip since a good second to the talented Gustav Klimt at Newmarket, has been crying out for a return to seven furlongs and may finally get his chance to win a group race. Tangled, who’s trainer Richard Hannon has a good record in this race and Alba Power, need to find a little more to trouble the principals while potential improvers Vintager and Archie Mckellar are worth noting for market moves.
A strongly run race looks likely with Foxtail Hill, Some Plan, Theflyingportrait and Lord Ben in the field backed up by prominent racers Cobra De Mai and Sizing Platinum. Le Prezien heads the market and is well handicapped after his novice exertions last season but his jumping can be a little sloppy and the breakneck pace that this will likely be run at, will certainly test it. Double W’s looked a chaser of some potential at Aintree before being pulled up at Punchestown and with a slightly disappointing return at Kelso first time out is best watched @ 5/1. Sizing Platinum, second in this race last year, will no doubt be primed again by Colin Tizzard but he would not want to be too close to a strong pace, the same applying to the improving Cobra De Mai who should go well but has suffered from a fibrillating heart in the past. Paul Henderson’s lively outsider Un Beau Roman goes well at Cheltenham and has now dropped to a winning mark. He won a similar chase to this at the Open Meeting last season and forgiving his run on heavy ground last time can put up in a bold showing @ 25/1 even though he is four pounds out of the handicap. Paul Henderson’s other runner, Doitforthevillage is also worth consideration and like the favourite, Le Prezien, needs to brush up on his jumping but the 18/1 is worth the risk.
A fascinating renewal of the Racing Post Trophy as Aiden O’Brien unleashes his two main 2018 Derby hopes in search of group one win no. 26. Saxon Warrior, the choice of Ryan Moore, won the Beresford Stakes well with the form looking strong and looks a colt of some potential though whether this son of Deep Impact is a value bet @ 7/4 remains to be seen. The other main Ballydoyle hope is The Pentagon, himself a colt with a good future, won his race nicely at Leopardstown and will surely be on the premises. Fellow Irish trained entry Verbal Dexterity sets the standard on ratings in this final group one of the flat season on British soil. After finding six furlongs in the Railway Stakes on the short side, Verbal Dexterity ran out an emphatic winner of the National Stakes reversing form with solid yardstick Beresford in the process. Jim Bolger’s two year old should really be vying for favouritism on that showing and it is interesting to note that Bolger’s previous winners of that race include the likes of New Approach, Dawn Approach and Teofilo. Representing the British challenge are Roaring Lion and Chilean. Roaring Lion won the Royal Lodge nicely, always holding on from Nelson and stays well, but would not want too much give in the ground given his US pedigree but should handle the forecast good to soft. Chilean defeated some decent types at Haydock but that was on heavy ground and he will likely encounter a much sounder surface here. He is talented and could be value @ 14/1, especially if there is any rain and given his rider Andrea Atzeni seems to possess the magic touch in this race, having ridden the einner in the last four renewals.
Thomas Campbell performed well in handicaps last spring and looks the type to improve for trainer Nicky Henderson. The way he finished his races suggests this step up in trip will suit and his dam stayed three miles so looks the one to beat here @ 6/1. That price is a little on the short side for a nineteen runner handicap at Cheltenham in October and there is more value to be had in a field of this size, not least Stick To The Plan who would have made it a first time out win had it not been for Bridget Andrews’ error on the run in at Southwell. The 12/1 looks fair assuming he handles the unique contours of Cheltenham. Similarly to Stick To The Plan, Quarenta is steadily improving and should come into calculations for Aiden Coleman and Jonjo O’Niell. At prices Nachi Falls is interesting @ 25/1, in good heart after some good efforts chasing he was third behind Coeur De Lion and Defi Du Seuil here last December and a reproduction of that form makes him a contender. Veterans Anteros, Rolling Maul and The Tourard Man should not be ruled out along with Luccombe Down who was fifth in this race last year.
There will be no hiding place here with Just Glamorous in the line up alongside the forward going Erissimus Maximus, East Street Revue and Soie D’Leau. The strong pace should serve it up for the closers with Portland winner Spring Loaded, returning to Doncaster an obvious contender, but over this trip he will have to make his move early and as usual, will be finishing well. Richard Fahey’s improving three year old Boundsy, maybe a little big @ 8/1, bids for the hat-trick and is the one to beat over this minimum trip. The interesting runner is Atletico. Lightly raced for a five year old, he shaped well at York after a short break and is obviously talented as he has started favourite on his last three starts. Roger Varian has a good record at Doncaster and with Andrea Atzeni booked plus a little give in the ground, could be worth a bet @ 14/1. Mick Channon’s Lincoln made a fair return after three months at Ascot and should also be considered, East Street Revue can go well again and Global Applause is intriguing dropped back to the minimum trip.
Quickened Clear’s Best Bets:
Staxton – 1.45 Doncaster – 1pt win @ 6/1
Un Beau Roman – 3.10 Cheltenham – 1pt win @ 33/1
Doitforthevillage – 3.10 Cheltenham – 1pt win @ 18/1
Nachi Falls – 3.45 Cheltenham – 1pt win @ 25/1
Atletico – 4.00 Doncaster – 1pt win @ 14/1