MY OBERON (1.45) is going the right way for William Haggas and the lightly-raced three-year-old is taken to land the Betfair Superior Mile at Haydock.
After running out an easy winner of a Novice Stakes at York, My Oberon was involved in a controversial finish at Glorious Goodwood when winner Tilsit cannoned into him on the rails. Odds-on favourite Khaloosy was more than two lengths away in third and that pair clash again.
Royal Hunt Cup winner Dark Vision holds Top Rank on a line through Montatham but a bigger threat could be Stormy Atlantic, second to classy Persian King at Chantilly.
Only five runners are declared for the 1m 6f handicap, with the Haggas camp doubly represented. FAVORITE MOON (2.15) is readily preferred to stablemate Midraar and is taken to bounce back from an abject show behind Coltrane at York when beating only one home.
On his previous start, Favorite Moon had taken full advantage of a huge weight concession from subsequent easy Goodwood winner Subjectivist to score over course and distance (soft). Arthurian Fable finished second to Coltrane on the Knavesmire but I’m banking on Favorite Moon having had a bad day at the office.
Midraar beat a poor type in Horn Of Plenty at Chester but the filly has scope for improvement now moving into handicaps. Charlie Appleby’s Al Dabaran ran third to Santiago in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot before occupying the same position in the Bahrain Trophy behind Al Aasy. The top weight should go well down slightly in grade.
The Betfair Exchange Old Borough Cup has attracted 17 runners and what a conundrum to unravel. The pace is likely to be strong, giving hope that a hold-up horse like DARK JEDI (2.50) can come through to grab the loot.
Tim Easterby has stepped him up gradually in trip after scoring over an extended mile at Hamilton (soft) in June. The four-year-old finished fourth to Sinjaari in the John Smith’s Cup at York and Dark Jedi found only John Gosden’s Alfaatik too strong over 1m 4f on a return visit to the Knavesmire last month. His stamina has to be taken on trust but Dark Jedi is clearly in the form of his life.
Easterby’s other runner, Glencadam Glory, heads the weights, going up 5lb for his brave second to Fujaira Prince in the 21-runner Ebor Handicap. Usual waiting tactics were deserted for a positive ride from the front but he may not find it so easy to dominate with headstrong Brandon Castle, in terrific form lately over hurdles, sneaking in at the foot of the handicap under Hollie Doyle.
Euchen Glen can also lead and was a touch keen when restrained at York. He finished four places behind Glencadam Glory but is 6lb better off.
Ian Williams is a master trainer of staying handicappers and Reshoun won the race in 2018 (heavy). Reshoun ran third to stable companion Time To Study last year but finds himself 7lb higher today. He won’t be far away if the mud is flying.
Future Investment is up 6lb for beating Vindaloo at Chester, while Cape Coast has an extra 5lb for a gallant Newmarket success in July, edging out Ghostwatch. Rhythmic Intent is another pitching up in grand form and his runaway victory in the soft at Newbury hasn’t escaped the bookies’ attention.
Calling The Wind had a neck to spare over consistent Rajinsky at Ascot, and further down the weights Roger Varian’s Australis, runner-up in the Northumberland Plate at Newcastle, bids to bounce back from a disappointing effort at Ascot.
At Ascot KIPPS (3.05) may benefit from the application of cheek-pieces in the 1m 4f handicap. Hughie Morrison’s grey has been knocking on the door all season and his third to Coltrane in the 1m 6f Melrose Handicap at York was another solid effort. Kipps finished behind Zabeel Champion at Newmarket in July but is 13lb better off.
Dangers abound in a cracking middle-distance contest, with the likes of unbeaten My Frankel, improving Shandoz and consistent Grand Bazaar just three strong opponents.
At Kempton, the Unibet Sirenia Stakes can fall to MIGHTY GURKHA (2.00). He made a sparkling racecourse debut on the Polytack at Lingfield in early June, dashing clear to win by more than seven lengths. Mighty Gurkha chased home unbeaten Method in a Listed event at Newbury and his latest defeat in France came when he reared in the stalls. Mystery Smiles took the measure of odds-on Zamaani at Chester and there shouldn’t be much between the pair.