FIRMAMENT (2.10) endured a desperately unlucky run at York 17 days ago and David O’Meara’s gelding is well worth another chance back on the Knavesmire.
James Doyle had his passage blocked on more than one occasion through the final couple of furlongs and Firmament finished full of running behind stablemate Orbaan. Danny Tudhope takes over the reins and stall four is a handy slot racing round the bend.
MAGIC J (1.55) showed a smart turn of speed to chop down Konchek at Sandown and can confirm superiority over that rival in the sprint at Ascot. Ed Vaughan will relinquish his licence at the end of the year but has his team in cracking form, and Magic J can defy a fairly hefty 8lb rise under Oisin Murphy. Sandown fourth Blue De Vega scored at Newmarket yesterday.
William Haggas fields a strong hand in the 1m 4f handicap, courtesy of well-touted Country and Dal Horrisgle. The former is just preferred of that duo but SAM COOKE (2.30) should strip sharper for his recent fifth to Cape Coast in what appeared a stronger contest at Newmarket.
That was his first outing in 428 days and Ralph Beckett’s gelding hasn’t stood a lot of racing over the past couple of seasons. There remains scope for some improvement.
BILLESDON BROOK (3.05) ran out of her skin in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket when just denied by Nazeef and can go one better in this less daunting Group 3 contest. Richard Hannon’s mare can end Miss O’Connor’s unbeaten sequence, although the Haggas-trained five-year-old would demand closer inspection if the heavens open as she revels on soft ground.