Our racing expert gives his verdict on the televised action.
1:50 1m2f (1m1f197y) Matchbook Best Value Exchange Handicap (Class 2) (3yo)
Mark Johnston’s COMMUNIQUE has been raised 5lb for his short head victory at the Newmarket July meeting, but that rates as very strong three-year-old form and having been given a hands and heels ride by Silvestre De Sousa (back on board) to snatch the spoils there’s almost certainly more to come from him. Rock Eagle looks to be on a a fair mark for what is just his fourth start / handicap debut and Ralph Beckett’s dual novice winner rates the main danger.
RESULT: COMMUNIQUE WON @ 7/2
2:25 1m6f Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Pilaster looked classy when winning over 1m4f at Kempton last time and she has stamina in her pedigree, but she’s a skinny 3/1 for that is an open race and ISABEL DE URBINA is preferred at a double-digit price. She has posted two strong-finishing Listed wins (one here on her reappearance under today’s rider Harry Bentley) over 1m4f this season and her latest short head success at Pontefract can be marked up as she was trapped on the inside and would have won by further with more daylight. Her trainer Ralph Beckett (writing in a Stable Tour this week) feels that this is her best trip and rates her as his best chance of the meeting, while we know she handles the track.
3:00 6f Qatar Richmond Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 1) (2yo)
Likely favourite Konchek is respected after his rock-solid second behind Advertise at the Newmarket July meeting, while Marie’s Diamond is a tough and progressive sort coming off a Group 3 success at the Curragh. But there should be more to come from SHINE SO BRIGHT and Andrew Balding’s charge may well improve past that pair to land the spoils. An easy winner over 5f at Nottingham on his debut – he took an age to pull up after that race, which is always a good sign – he was purchased by his new owners for £375,000 before running a highly creditable fifth in the Coventry Stakes on his next start. Now making his stable debut in a race that often goes to a more lightly-raced sort like him, I reckon he can repay some of that outlay and give us a 15/2 payday.
3:35 1m2f (1m1f197y) Qatar Nassau Stakes (Group 1) (British Champions Series) (Fillies & Mares) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Aidan O’Brien has won the last two renewals with Minding and Winter last year and he’ll have high hopes of a hat-trick with likely favourite Rhododendron. However, she’s a year older than her winning stalemates and past results suggest that a three-year-old is the way to go – since the race was opened to older females in 1975, the Classic generation have dominated with 33 victories to ten. She also has a below-par effort at Ascot last time to put behind her and while she probably did too much too soon on that occasion, the gut feeling is to take her on.
Indeed, Urban Fox might do best of the older fillies as she won comfortably when upped to this trip in Group 1 company last time, with Oaks winner Forever Together (who was getting weight) well beaten off in second. That form gives her a leading chance here.
The trio of three-year-old runners include shock 1000 Guineas winner Billesdon Brook, who has since finished a well beaten fourth in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot and she is again likely to see the backside of the third horse home VERACIOUS, who gets the pick. The latter filly was making her seasonal reappearance on that occasion, which makes her effort even more creditable, and the daughter of Frankel surely has more to offer after just three starts. The fact she is trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who has been enjoying a great run of form at the top level, is reflected in her odds of 100/30, but she still makes more appeal than the remaining three-year-old, Oaks runner-up Wild Illusion, who might find this trip on the sharp side.
All odds were correct at time of posting.