Our racing expert marks your card for Thursday's action.
Two of Owen Burrows eight winners in his rookie season as a trainer have come in the last fortnight, with three others finished second, and that bodes well for his MASSAAT in the feature Group 3 Sovereign Stakes at Salisbury (due off 4.10pm).
The son of Teofilo has the best form on offer in the nine-runner field having signed off his juvenile campaign by chasing home Air Force Blue in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes and again filling the runner-up spot on his reappearance in the 2000 Guineas behind Galileo Gold. His next race was in the Derby and it’s easy to forgive his ninth place finish at Epsom as he clearly didn’t see out the 1m4f trip, which was no surprise given his pedigree.
Back over a mile this afternoon and taking on inferior rivals – he has 3lb in hand over the 113-rated Sovereign Debt and is even further clear of the remainder – he’s entitled to be favourite. I rate him an odds-on chance and he is with some firms, so the 5/4 on offer needs snapping up.
Henry Candy is another trainer who has hit top form of late with four winners on the board this month, including a double here on Wednesday (11/2 & 4/1), and his PERESTROIKA is therefore worth considering for the 1m4f fillies’ handicap at the 10/1 on offer. Having run well to finish fourth behind King Bolete at Ascot on her reappearance back in May, it was disappointing to see run below that form in two subsequent runs. However, the stable is in much better form now and her trainer was always of the opinion (source: Stable Tour) that she would continue to improve during her four-year-old career, now that she had filled her big frame.
This is quite a competitive handicap and a couple of her rivals, Eager Beaver and Dubka, are chasing hat-tricks, but they are priced accordingly, whereas the selection is a shade of value.
The 6f sprint handicap on the card has drawn a field of 11 and the vast majority are struggling for recent form. The glaring exception being the Malcolm Saunders-trained BABYFACT, who looked desperately unlucky not to follow up her recent Bath win when returned to that track last time, having missed the break and then being stopped in her run inside the final furlong. Switched wide to take second close home, there appeared to be plenty of petrol left in the tank and compensation awaits. All three of her wins have come at Bath, but she wasn’t beaten far into fifth on her last visit here off just a 2lb lower mark.
Bookmakers are taking no chances by pricing up Ralph Beckett’s Alyssa at just even money for the closing 1m6f handicap. That’s understandable as she hacked up by 10 lengths over 1m4f at Epsom last time and is bidding for a hat-trick after winning on the all-weather at Wolverhampton previously. However, that winning margin flattered her as the race fell apart after the leaders went too hard early, and she could prove vulnerable off a 10lb higher mark and now taking on another rapidly improving filly in Charlie Hills’ FASHION PARADE.
She too is chasing a hat-trick following wins at Brighton and Windsor and is just 5lb higher than for the latest of those. Hills said in his excellent Weekender column that he hopes she will be up to Group level one day and, indeed, has made her an entry in the Group 1 Fillies & Mares Stakes on Champions Day at Ascot in October. That may be a tad ambitious – she’s been given a 33/1 quote – but there is surely another handicap in her off her current mark, and the 11/2 on offer is real value.