Our racing expert has a tip for each of the ITV races.
1:55 5½f (5f89y) Sky Bet And Symphony Group Handicap (Class 2) (3yo+ 0-105)
Plenty of possibles in what is a wide open handicap but one who could go close is Paul Midgeley’s FINAL VENTURE. While his losing run is mounting up, he is back on a good mark (10lb lower than his last winning one) and wasn’t beaten far on his last visit here in May, when less than a length behind the winner Mr Lupton. He’s since run a respectable sixth in Listed company and I’m not concerned by his absence of 74 days as he has gone well fresh in the past and his stable is in cracking form. Oisin Murphy, who steered him to his most recent success, is back on board.
2:25 7f Tattersalls Acomb Stakes (Group 3) (Class 1) (2yo)
All bar Pogo are running in group company for the first time and as he was beaten and needs to find extra to land this, it’s a case of finding one with the most potential. Watan certainly has plenty of that having won a Goodwood maiden in great style and he has plenty of fancy entries later in the season.
But that also applies to several of his rivals and, of these, PHOENIX OF SPAIN is preferred at a bigger price. Charlie Hills’ colt caught the eye on his Sandown debut and he duly lost his maiden tag when favourite at Wolverhampton (7f) last time, going through that race in a very taking manner. His in-form trainer won this race with this in 2014 with Dutch Connection, who was a similar type.
3:00 1m4f (1m3f188y) Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes (Group 2) (Colts & Geldings) (Class 1) (3yo)
The current St Leger favourite Kew Gardens arrives here chasing a hat-trick after wins at Royal Ascot and Longchamp, the latter in a Group 1, but he looks vulnerable under his penalty and a close defeat here certainly wouldn’t damage his Classic claims too much. Cross Counter, who broke the track record when easily winning the Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last time, albeit against three rivals, two of whom underperformed, therefore has to be considered in receipt of 5lb.
However, he’s plenty short enough at around 13/8 and the value surely lies in backing WELLS FARHH GO at11/2. He landed the Acomb at last year’s meeting and that was a bonus as he was always going to better at three, although it too him three outings before coming good in the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket (1m5f), where he kept finding from the front. It would be no surprise to see David Allan attempt to make all again over this shorter trip, to make use of his stamina, and he might not be caught.
3:35 1m2½f (1m2f56y) Juddmonte International Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) (Class 1) (3yo+)
Sir Michael Stoute’s Poet’s Word looks the one to beat having taken his form to a new level when getting the better of stablemate Crystal Ocean in the King George last time. But this is no cakewalk with the winners of the Guineas, Irish Derby, St James’s Palace and Eclipse in opposition, along with two Group 1 winners from the Dubai Carnival. He may well still win but on the premise he had a hard race at Ascot – not unreasonable given the amount of ground he made up from an uncompromising position – he looks worth taking on.
I’m looking no further than John Gosden’s ROARING LION as he has winning course form in the book and may just have too much speed for his older rival, who has to concede him 7lb. An easy winner of the Dante run over track in trip in May before a fine third in the Derby, he showed this was his best trip when avenging his two previous defeats to Saxon Warrior in the Eclipse. While he had just a neck to spare over that re-opposing rival, he can be rated value for a little better as he defied the track bias, which was favouring those that raced handily. He was also hanging a bit close home possibly on account of the fast ground and while they’re calling it ‘good to firm’ this afternoon, I can’t believe it’s as quick as at Ascot.
Benbatl failed to fire at Royal Ascot (ground?) but he’s had an exemplary season otherwise, winning a German Group 1 (1m2f, good) on his most recent outing, and looks one for each-way backers at bet365’s 10/1.
All odds were correct at time of posting.