MITCHUM SWAGGER (2.05) will be one of few runners in the mile handicap to act on very deep ground at Haydock (morning inspection) and gets the vote over Barriston The Bold.
Mitchum Swagger hasn’t been out since finishing in mid-pack in the Royal Hunt Cup but usually strikes peak form in the autumn. Ralph Beckett saddled him to score at Newmarket last November and he was a running-on third to Safe Voyage in the Group 3 John Of Gaunt Stakes over seven furlongs here in June. Barriston The Bold represents course specialists Tom Dascombe and Richard Kingscote, and he has been in rattling good form this summer.
HIGHLAND CHIEF (1.50) posted an excellent third to flying machine Pinatubo in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and could have the measure of favourite Kameko in the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket. Paul Cole’s son of Gleneagles was quick enough to make a winning debut over five furlongs at Newbury but is bred to relish this step up to a mile. Kameko built on his Sandown maiden success by running Positive very close on a return visit to the Esher track at the end of August.
Andre Fabre probably holds the key to the outcome of the Cheveley Park Stakes, a Group 1 for fillies over six furlongs. He saddles TROPBEAU (2.25), unbeaten on her last three starts, the latest coming at Deauville on soft, so any significant rain at HQ could be a factor. Fabre’s very speedy Earthlight defeated today’s favourite Raffle Prize at Deauville, so the French maestro will know where he stands with Tropbeau and hasn’t been scared off. Raffle Prize has been a credit to Mark Johnston, scooping the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and beating Daahyeh at Newmarket in July. She is the one to beat.
The colts get the chance to strut their stuff in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes over six furlongs and what a crackerjack of a contest is in store. Siskin has had tongues wagging after some mightily impressive displays in Ireland and he won the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh with a bit in hand. However, the vote goes to EARTHLIGHT (3.00). The Gallic challenger looks rock solid and his trainer doesn’t cross the English Channel just for the duty free. Mums Tipple was simply awesome at York and adds even more lustre to a mouth-watering event.
The bet365 Cambridgeshire Handicap is the first leg of the autumn double and John Gosden is usually the first port of call for many seasoned punters. Wissahickon dotted up under Frankie Dettori last year and he rides another Gosden three-year-old in the fairly unexposed LORD NORTH (3.40). The son of Dubawi got close to bang-in-form Bless Him over Ascot’s straight mile 22 days ago and although still inexperienced when it comes to the hurly-burly of these big-field handicaps, Lord North could simply be ahead of the assessor. Good Birthday, Fifth Position and Le Don De Vie are also progressive three-year-olds (all drawn high like Lord North), while Royal Hunt Cup winner Afaak can do best of the older brigade. He is berthed on the opposite side of the track in stall two.