A good sprint in stall which sees the return of Hoof It who made steady progression last year into group class, finishing the year with a very tight 3rd in the Haydock Sprint Cup behind Bated Breath and Dream Ahead. Added in with a close run in the Nunthorpe and convincing handicaps wins here in the Skybet Dash and in the Steward’s Cup, on form he must be close to being the one to beat. My worry is that he was beaten the only two times last year he ran on softer than good and he may just need this.
One who won’t need this race and has made huge progress already this season is Mayson who has won his last two starts, both at Newmarket. Firstly he was an easy winner of the Abernant over 6f and showed the drop to 5f was no problem when taking the Palace House in good style from Definightly. He was 3rd on debut but may have needed that, as seen by his beating of Jimmy Styles on his run after. The ground is perfect and he looks best at 6f and he goes in with a huge shout.
The Cheka beat Mayson at Doncaster and hasn’t been seen since but he may have his work cut out to confirm that form. It was good to see him take to sprinting though after running most of the time over slightly further. Again the ground should be absolutely fine for him, with Eve Johnson Houghton’s gelding going on virtually all surfaces. On figures he will need to improve but if running to the same level as he did last time, he goes in with an each-way chance.
Last year’s Golden Jubilee winner Society Rock showed himself to be a top sprinter on his day and thoroughly deserved that notable group 1 win. He confirmed the form over in France when 2nd to Immortal Verse in the Maurice De Gheest. He ran a solid race in the sprint cup at Haydock when 4 lengths behind Hoof It but was below par after that at Ascot and then in Hong Kong. He now has to bounce back after that and he was a beaten favourite on his reappearance last year but on figures should get involved with ground being no problem.
Although more rain would suit, Definightly should come on for his first run back when behind Mayson and could also be one to go close. If the rain did come he’d be of significant interest though he does need to find more in better grade. The trip is ideal however with the ground now edging towards good, that may be enough to hinder his chances
The 3yo’s have a number of representatives, the most significant being French raider Restiadargent. It’s hard to judge her form in France but she did win twice at 6f while also running well over 7f, last time behind 1000 Guineas flop Mashoora. She was officially beaten a length that day but that flatters here as the winner was heavily eased. She has won on better ground before but also has strong form with cut while she also gets a good weight allowance. Still her form doesn’t look that inspiring at a glance and this is a whole new test against seasoned sprinters.
Bannock has been well tried already this year but was disappointing behind The Cheka and Mayson at Doncaster. He ran well next time at Newmarket over 7f which regularly seems to stretch him while then ran Gusto close on the a/w last time. He has the ability to win, especially in receipt of 9lb but he may still need to improve.
Similar can be said for Bogart who was well behind the French raider when last seen in November. Before that he had Bannock in behind when winning the 2yo Trophy at Redcar and he also won a valuable sprint here before that. It’s always tough for 3yo sprinters though and he needs to find more.
However one who looks overpriced is LIBRANNO who has always looked like a sprinter to me. He went extremely close in the July Cup and although I felt at the time he was flattered by that, he justified it with a great run on Champion’s Day when behind Deacon Blues. He was poor next time on soft at Doncaster but has never seemed to enjoy that ground and the same can be said for his reappearance. He has won on good to soft though and the drying ground looks an absolute blessing. His form figures at 6f are 11654343 and that includes runs at the highest level and he looks really well priced for one so talented.
Elnawin has been off for just under a year but was a very good winner of a listed race on that start on soft. This kind of race could suit but she looks the stable second string and i’ll be surprised if she didn’t come on a lot for this.
Tiddliwinks was well beaten by Mayson last time while Sirius Prospect has also been behind that rival the last twice. He hasn’t lived up to last year’s expectations but if he does then he comes into the reckoning but he’s not a betting proposition until showing it.
The consistent Doncaster Rover is usually a cut under this standard and his best form is at 7f anyway while Soul, who represents last year’s winning connections was an impressive winner of a handicap at Meydan in March but put up a no show on the main night itself. A return to turf will suit and although he may need to find a bit more, there is certainly a possiblity he can do that.
A few may come on for this run and Hoof It comes under that category. On form and figures he must go close. The same can be said for Golden Jubilee winner Society Rock who was a beaten favourite last year on his reappearance. It’s tough to oppose Mayson who looks a sprinter going places with back-to-back victories at Newmarket to his name and conditions to suit. He was beaten by The Cheka on his first start back but seemed to need that run and that form may be turned over. French raider Restiadargent is a fascinating runner while Bannock and Bogart, the two other 3yo’s may find this tough. Definightly ran well last time behind Mayson in the Palace House and should come on for this but the gorund is going against him. However LIBRANNO looks great value for one that seems to at his best over 6f. The drying ground is perfect for him and he went close twice in big sprints last year. if running to that form he can go very close. Sirius Prospect has a bit to prove after two below par efforts behind Mayson this season. Soul is another interesting runner who could be anything while Elnawin will need this. Doncaster Rover and Tiddliwinks will probably come up short.
Advice – Libranno 1.5pts e/w @18/1 BetVictor
Mayson/Libranno 0.5pts reverse forecast