Gabrial The Great fights for favouritism in this and just looks the unexposed type to go well. He showed his liking to soft and the 1m4f when chasing home the smart Rosslyn Castle at Chester on his reappearance. Upped 2lb now, but that seems fair and a strong bid is likely.
Nicholascopernicus has been in good form lately with two wins in two, including his last a week ago. He gets in off just 4lb extra and bottom weight and has improved for this trip on testing ground but an 11lb raise in better grade means more will be needed.
Although not a certainty to do so on pedigree, Anomaly may like the step up again to 1m4f and was a taking winner of a maiden last time over 1m2f. Again ground, if turning soft, has to be proved while Silvestre De Sousa rides and it was good to see him leave his poor patch behind with a treble at Kempton last night
Godolphin have Samba King who looks exposed off this mark but also have HANDSOME MAN who Frankie Dettori just got home at Newmarket last time out. More may be to come but it is a little worrying that he is third choice on bookings. However Dettori wouldn’t have been able to do the weight while Harry Bentley, who I really rate, takes off 3lb. He looks unexposed over this trip and has form on soft to match.
Uriah Heep has been given a mark of 90 and was well beaten behind Astrology in a Chester Derby trial when seen latest. Whether he can live up to that mark (still a maiden), is questionable. Commitment didn’t convince he stayed 1m4f last time at Musselburgh in a race where SPARKLING PORTRAIT seemed a little unlucky. He is well regarded by Richard Fahey but didn’t travel with his usual fluency when trying 1m4f for the first time. He got a good 1m2f though the time before at Ascot and may now be overlooked.
Cameron Highland was touted to go well in the Epsom Derby Trial but he couldn’t pick up in the heavy ground. He may not be the most straightforward as a hood is now reached for. Irish raider Moldowney doesn’t inspire on form but connections have had Royal Ascot winners before. Pilgrims Rest must go in with an each way chance as he’s improving and has form on all ground. Hannon also runs Misdemeanour who couldn’t quicken over 1m2f last time and this test may suit. Open Water runs for the same ownership but was third behind Sparkling Portrait on her penultimate start, though did run well again on Derby Day.
Mark Johnston has two and he usually does so well at this meeting, especially in races like this. Fennell Bay only won on saturday and that was in the style of a well handicapped horse but winning just four days later may be tough and he has the trip to prove. Prussian is progressive and has won three of her last five but this race is another level and she must step up.
Advice – Sparkling Portrait 1.5pts e/w @16/1 generally
Handsome Man 1pt e/w @16/1 generally