The sun is finally here and what better way to spend your Monday evening than at Windsor, watching over a competitive and intriguing seven race card. As enjoyable as the coverage is of Windsor on ATR with Matt Chapman at the helm, nothing beats being there in person. It is a lovely track and the paddock and parade ring are always open giving insight, which we will hopefully be passing on as the evening progresses. Some of the big yards hold a number of entries and Clive Cox and Adam Kirby team up once again, with a few live chances.
5 45 – C4 2YO Maiden Fillies, 6F, Good to Firm
This race is all about Tropical Rock, trained by the red-hot Ralph Beckett. It seems unlikely any of the newcomers are capable of turning over the 1/3 shot on debut, and nothing has had a hint of support in the race outside of the favourite, who continues to shorten up. Richard Hannon and Tom Dascombe’s entries both have the benefit of two and three starts respectively, but between them they have only managed to muster up a sixth place finish. It is certainly a race to watch, rather than take a gamble on.
6 15 – C5 Maiden 3-4YO, 1M2F, Good to Firm
It looks again like this race may hinge on a odds-on favourite entered for a big yard, but Roger Charlton’s Makzeem may have slightly more on his plate than Tropical Rock. David Simcock’s 4YO, Nonios, ran creditably on his first two starts in November and December on the all weather, finishing runner-up both times. Vermeulen is the interesting one for us, having only raced once before when tailed off in the Tattersalls 2YO Trophy at HQ (worth 500,000). He was obviously thrown in at the deep end here, and this is a lot simpler. Up in trip considerably, there has been a lot of support for John Gosden’s runner, shortening from 10/1 overnight to around an 11/2 shot. Slyvester Kirk’s 50/1 outsider, Spinners Ball, is also of interest and has never looked out of place when running on quick ground. There is undoubtedly potential there and at 50/1 is well worth a check or two.
6 45 – C5 H’Cap, 1M2F, Good to Firm
This is a very open and competitive looking affair, and there is little in the way of horses in form. Most seem to be on the slide, rather than progressing and these are never enjoyable heats to try and predict. The favourite, Absolute Zero, is dropping down in class and would appear to thrive on quick ground; but, has been far from competitive in any of his recent outings and at 3/1 we would be leaving alone. The Cox and Kirby combination is always a tempter in a race such as this, and on handicap debut off a mark of 71, the 3YO must be in with a shout. The concern with the Kirby runner is that very little is known, none of his runs so far have convinced and it would be a jump into the dark somewhat. The horse we are siding with is Barren Brook for Laura Mongan. The veteran won a seller last time out and is only up 2lbs for it, with the ground also a positive, a price of 7/1 seems worth a shot. There is little else to catch your eye and the race should not take much winning for any horse finding some form or improvement.
7 15 – C4 H’Cap, 6F, Good to Firm
Race Four brings us another handicap not easy to read at a glance. Pixeleen is the favourite, and rightly so in our eyes. All of her last three runs were impressive and she is only up 4lbs in total for all of these efforts – she will take some beating this evening. The quick ground is welcomed and Oisin Murphy rides once again. Lightning Charlie is second favourite, but represents more of an AW type making the ground somewhat of a question mark. The outsider we like Parkour for Marco Botti. He ran well on the AW over the winter and the pedigree very much suggests that quick ground is perfect. It is also interesting to see that he has been gelded since his last run, and we will check the preliminaries for any effect this might have had.
7 50 – C3 H’Cap, 5F, Good to Firm
The best race on the card and also one of the most open. There are lots of older horses hoping to find some form for their trainers, and then there is the 3YO Go On Go On Go On for the Kirby and Cox double act. There has been some support for him, but we are not as convinced and would side with Foxtrot Knight instead, a consistent 4YO for Ruth Carr. He has two solid runs in July so far and is only up a mark of one. We have always liked Equally Fast as a horse, and a return to his best with a smoother start would certainly see him in the frame. Oh So Sassy is in good nick, but a rating of 90 seems to have halted any progression, despite a return to quick ground certainly a plus.
8 20 – C4 H’Cap, 1M3.5F, Good to Firm
There are six runners left in this Class 4, as the Mark Johnston runner, Rhythmical, has withdrawn. We are surprised to see that Safira Menina has drifted to as big as 8/1 in some places. The quick ground will suit the fillies galloping style and Natalie Hambling takes off 7lb to negate the recent rise in weight. Fashion Parade is the other pick, we have always liked Charlie Hills as a trainer and this 3YO came good last time on only her third start. In time a mark of 80 will be a distant memory and this may be the time to side with her on handicap debut. There is little else that catches our eye and the favourite we would certainly be opposed to.
8 50 – C5 H’Cap, 1M, Good to Firm
Onto the lucky last and yet another race most definitely up for grabs. Bunbury is far from a convincing favourite and we would leave well alone, as a lot seems to be based on reputation here that is not getting delivered on. We like Snappy Guest at 12/1, the last run has to be forgotten and had been running smartly before this blip. 1M is no issue and neither is the ground, connections are local to Windsor and Snappy Guest is overdue a win. The 11YO Shifting Star would be a popular winner, however the ground is not in his favour as is the case with Sheila’s Treat. This is a very open race and we certainly would not be laying our mortgage on the line for anything.