Our racing expert has three to back at Ascot this afternoon.
There’s Listed action at Ascot this afternoon with eight set to go to post for the Noel Murless Stakes over and extended 1m6f, with Sir Michael Stoute’s MEKONG getting the pick.
A decent juvenile over a mile last season, he has thrived since tackling middle distances and was winning his third race of this term (two at this trip) at Haydock last month. That was a handicap but he won it in the manner of a horse who would be able to hold his own at a higher level, pulling seven lengths clear of the second Natural History, who is a smart performer himself. Granted the heavy ground may accentuated the winning margin and the selection has now won twice in such conditions. However, he has looked just as happy on a faster surface, including when a close up fourth in the ultra competitive Melrose Handicap (won by the re-opposing Ghostwatch), so today’s good ground is no concern. With Ryan Moore renewing the partnership, he’s going to take plenty of beating.
Moore gets the leg up on the Joseph Title-trained MACHINE LEARNER in the 2m handicap and that’s enough to persuade me to back the five-year-old. I’ve been waiting for him to step up to this trip after his trainer said he needs 2m now in a Stable Tour back in August, which makes his defeats the last twice over shorter excusable. That said, he still managed to win over 1m6f here back in May and if his trainer is right, he may well be able to find the necessary improvement to defy a 4lb higher mark. In a wide open race, he’s got to be worth a small each-way interest at a big price.
The 6f handicap is competitive on paper but one that catches my eye is Jeremy Noseda’s MISSY MISCHIEF, who has the services of Silvestre De Sousa for the first time. She’s more lightly-raced than most of these after just four starts and having been injured at Royal Ascot last year, which curtailed her season, she has been making up for lost time in two runs this term. An easy winner of a Doncaster novice on her reappearance in August, she stepped up on that when just caught close home at Chelmsford on her handicap debut. Given that she gave away a little ground when swinging wide into the straight, she can perhaps be considered unlucky not to score and must be open to further improvement off just a 3lb higher mark.
All odds were correct at time of posting.