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Wordsworth was baffling yesterday, that's the only way I can sum up his performance. I don't understand how he can run so well in previous races (ignoring Goodwood), to then be so poor.
I don't think he was given the best of rides, as we all know he is a slow horse, so to have him held up like he has the pace of Frankel seemed a bit daft. Either way, he doesn't look straightforward, and if they don't geld him or reach for headgear I'd be very surprised. Anyway, today's action looks brilliant, and I'm quietly confident in the French selections.
She is slightly shorter than I was hoping for, as I was expecting her to be bigger due to the connections she represents, but despite the price JUST BEAUTIFUL should be hard to beat. This filly wasn't disgraced by any stretch of the imagination when she stepped up to Group 1 company last time at Newmarket in the Falmouth Stakes, finishing 6th. If she runs to anywhere near that level, then she will be very tough to beat.
This race is no where near as competitive as the Falmouth was, so you'd expect Ivan Furtado's filly to put this race to bed. She tried the mile for the first time at Newmarket, and you can't say that she didn't stay the trip, as she travelled well, but when she was passed, she didn't fall through the field, she stayed on well, but was just beaten by superior horses. She is a horse who likes to run from the front, so hopefully she will get an uncontested lead, and if that's the case, then the fillies in behind will struggle to get past her. The ground will be quick, and that appears to suit, as she won a Listed race at Musselburgh in fine style on good ground, and lto was on Good To Firm, and she seemed to handle that perfectly fine. This track could be better suited than Newmarket, as it isn't as stiff as the July Course, so her speed will be a better weapon on this track.
The French trainers have a great record in this race, winning it 3/3 times, so their horses shouldn't be underestimated. However, if they are to win this, they will need to show a much better level of form than what we've seen so far.
I strongly fancy MILLEBOSC in this race, and he should definitely be considered as the one they all have to beat after his huge run to finish 3rd in the French Derby behind St Mark's Basilica.
That run at Chantilly was a very big improvement from what we had previously seen from this horse, but there's no reason why he can't follow up and prove he is up to that level. He is a horse who stays this trip well, so wouldn't want it to become a crawl, but with horses like Tasman Bay in the field, I can't envisage it being a slowly run race, as he does stay further than today's trip. As for the ground, people who study the racecards will probably think this horse needs soft ground to be competitive, but in fact that isn't the case. The ground for the French Derby was described as ‘Soft' ground, but the time of the race suggest it was more like Good ground, as it was 0.70s slower than standard, which at most makes it Good To Soft, Good in places, in my opinion. The ground at the time of racing will be fast ground, and that should be fine based on his pedigree, and the fact he's finished 2nd on good ground before.
I'd imagine Philomene is the main danger as she was 2nd to Joan Of Arc in the French Oaks, and that is probably the best piece of form on offer, outside of Millebosc. Joan Of Arc is a very good horse, but I think the form of St Mark's Basilica is better, and if they both raced, I'd like to think St Mark's would come out victorious. Philiomene will get the 3lb weight allowance for being a filly, but if they both run to the form of their last run, I think the selection has the beating of her. Derab will more than likely be popular, as he is a brother to Enable. Frankie has come over for the ride, which generally means that connections fancy their chances, but I'm not totally sold on his ability, but he will enjoy the quicker ground.
A competitive race, as you would expect with 20 runners, but I think I have found a couple to back against the rest of the field. Like I've said on a few occasions, I'm not fond of backing multiple horses in a race, but when there is 6 places on offer, you can take advantage of it.
The first selection is GHATHANFAR, who has been in cracking form all season long, and it would be fitting for him to get a win like this under his belt. His most recent run at York has worked out extremely well, with multiple wins coming from multiple different horses in their next races. Since that race, the 1st, 2nd, 8th, 13th (won twice), 17th and 18th have all won since, which is ridiculous. You also have horses who have gone close in their next couple of races, including Mr Wagyu, who was 2nd, he was placed two times, and Music Society who has been beaten by a short-head and a nose in two of her last three starts. Last time, Ghathanfar led for most of the race, and in recent time that hasn't been his way of running. Tom Eaves, his normal jockey, takes the ride again and he knows what way is best to ride this horse. Despite running from the front, he was only beaten by a neck, and was battling all the way to the line, which shows the rich vein of form he is in.
He has to carry 9st 9lbs in this race, which won't be an easy task, but his current handicap mark of 84 does seem within reach. His trainer is extremely happy with him, but is a little concerned if the ground gets very quick: “I think high draws have done well in these races in the past but we just hope the ground doesn't dry out too much for Ghathanfar. He's desperate for a run and kicking the place down as he was supposed to run at the Sunday Series meeting at Haydock last week but it was abandoned. He's very well and we are very sweet on his chances.” As Tracy Waggot stated, he has a high drawn (stall 20), which is deemed to be the best place to be in this race, as the last five winners of this race have come from double digit stalls.
The second selection for this race is MYTHMAKER, and I am expecting a big run from the old boy.
At nine years of age, he is no where near the same horse which he was a couple of years ago, but off his current rating of 78 he can definitely do some damage in this handicap. His handicap mark is in theory 71 for this race, as Gianluca Sanna takes off a very handy 7lbs, which means he is 9lbs lighter than he was for his most recent run, as he was dropped 2lbs by the handicapper. His run lto was a decent enough run on the back of a 168 day break. He travelled well from the front, but got tired when entering the final furlong, which was a sign that he probably wasn't 100% ready for his first run of the season, and he will definitely strip fitter for this race.
This is a competitive race, but so was the race he contested last time, and he wasn't disgraced in that. Bryan Smart, his trainer, appears to be optimistic with him: “He ran a cracker at York last time and we are taking 7lb off him to help his chances. He's well drawn and we are looking forward to it.” He is drawn in 19, so hopefully he will break well, and potentially run from the front next to the rail. Considering he was once rated 107, he is very well handicapped, and based on his most recent run, he still has love for the game. He could definitely outrun his odds.
The big handicap of the day is the William Hill Great St Wilfrid Handicap at Ripon, and like the consolation race in the race before, there are many in with a chance. A horse I'm taking a punt on and hoping he will return to form is the well handicapped JUSTANOTHERBOTTLE. This lad used to be notorious for running from the front in all of the big sprint handicaps, but in recent times they have opted for a change in style with him, and I think that was a way to get his handicap mark lowered, which is if that is what they've done, it has worked.
The last five renewals of this race has been won by a horse who has made all, so it might be best going for a horse who races from the front, and is pitched towards the stand's side. Justanotherbottle has dropped down to an appealing handicap mark of 92, which has been a result of a couple of poor efforts this season. That being said, he hasn't run without total promise, as the runs at Newcastle & Pontefract were good enough to suggest he retains ability at the age of 7yo. On both of those runs at Ponte and Newcastle he was behind some good horses.
An interesting fact about today is that Kevin Ryan has opted for the first time blinkers, which gives the impression that they are really going for this race, as like I said previously he hasn't been racing how he normally would (from the front). He is a strong travelling type, who normally races from the front, so the fact they were doing the complete opposite and having him buried away in the midfield or the rear makes you think that they were trying to get his handicap mark to drop, so he would have a much better chance of landing a big pot (hopefully today). He has a good draw in stall 19, so if he remains chilled, and behaves himself in the stalls, he should have a good chances of making all in this race. There are 7 places on offer in this race, and he definitely is a good EW chance.