For the second week in a row we are heading to Windsor for another summer night on the flat. The big yards from the area are once again in attendance with entries in some smart looking maidens and the calmer waters of low grade handicaps for their lesser types. Clive Cox once again sends a solid string of entries, although Adam Kirby is given the evening off after victory in France yesterday in the Robert Papin. William Haggas has a number of hotly fancied runners, as does Roger Charlton.
5 55 – C5 2YO Maiden, 5F, Good to Firm
The opening maiden pits a few experienced horses with moderate levels of form, up against a couple of interesting debutants from Richard Hannon and William Haggas. Both have lovely pedigrees and have remained relatively strong in the betting, without being dominant. Grey Galleon ran positively on debut, staying on well to suggest the run could have only benefitted and brought him on for this evening. He takes favouritism and has shortened up this morning. The horse we side with in the opener is John Moore’s Sheila’s Palace. He has two solid runs so far and the second last time out looks to have been behind a very strong 2YO in a hot field. He has raced here before and better ground should bring further improvement. It’s frustrating that due to William Muir’s non-runner, it leaves us with a field of seven meaning only the top two are paid.
6 25 – C4 2YO Maiden, 6F, Good to Firm
Here we have another 2YO maiden, this time over 6F. Mr Pocket is the warm favourite after running well here to finish second on debut where he stayed on nicely, to suggest the extra furlong this evening suits. If Grey Galleon runs well in the first race it will only add to the positivity around Mr Pocket, as Clive Cox’s runner was fourth in Mr Pocket’s debut outing. Hugo Palmer’s Evergate adds another exciting dimension to the race and has three previous runs that all showed encouragement on differing scales. He was second on debut, followed by a third behind two good ones at Leicester. The 7F race last run seems to have been a mistake despite running reasonably. You have to feel it is only a matter of time before he gets his head in front. Company also needs a mention in the Cheveley Park colours after a game third on debut. Bar these the field stands at 14/1, with the bookies believing a three-horse race is on the cards. It will take a big improver or a mighty debut to disrupt the apple cart here.
7 00 – C4 H’Cap for Fillies, 6F, Good to Firm
The top of the market is dominated by the 3YOs in the first handicap of the evening. Inclination has won his last three starts, all on a fast surface and has been an improved horse in handicap company. He is up 6lbs for his last win and up in grade, but deservedly starts as favourite. Shypen has been well supported this morning, mainly due to a couple of prominent tips in newspapers. They have valid reasons however; with his Yarmouth win working out nicely and back at 6F he has a role to play for sure. Symposium for William Haggas is shortening up considerably and we believe this is due to connections. He is owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club, and last summer they sent out Projection here who duly bolted up. It is undoubtedly a competitive race, but one outsider it may prove wise to side with is Bint Aldar for Robert Cowell. This will be his first run as a 3YO, after racing against some top company during his juvenile campaign. He is with a new trainer, quick ground suits and any positive signs in the market should be considered a plus.
7 30 – C4 3YO H’Cap, 1M, Good to Firm
The 7 30 is a tough race to dissect, despite the small field, as so often is the case in these 3YO handicaps. Chester Street, Feed the Goater and September Stars could all start favourite and Handytalk will be no bigger than 4/1. Ocean Eleven is seemingly the only one safe to disregard. Feed The Goater has the most proven form this summer and on Good to Firm his form reads 211. However, Chester Street for Roger Charlton and September Stars for Ralph Beckett are both relatively unexposed and are due a big run. Chester Street has been tried over 9 and 10F and has more to prove, but 7 and 8F seems to be the optimum trip judged on results. September Stars is on handicap debut and the opening mark is more than workable for a horse that again has been tried on further, but 1M has brought the best results.
8 00 – C4 H’Cap, 1M2F, Good to Firm
This race looks to be the most open of the evening and there are plenty of chances. Rock Steady is unexposed and we would take a chance here. There has been support overnight and although the pedigree questions the longer trip, Charlton must have seen it as the best option moving forwards. There were excuses last time out and the previous form is encouraging. Banish was unlucky not to win here two weeks ago and had the race been 20 yards longer, his late surge would have got him home. Only up 1lb for this effort, connections will be more than hopeful. Prendergast Hill had slowly been dropping down the weights before winning last time out, beating Rotherwick who re-opposes tonight. Both will be amongst the favourites on ground that favours.
8 30 – C5 H’Cap, 1M3.5F, Good to Firm
The non-runner leaves the field at that annoying number of seven once again, and the top five in the betting are all between 7/2 and 6/1, which tells the story. It is far from a betting heat and if we had to stick out our neck Officer Drivel looks interesting at 6/1. The run at Brighton was encouraging on a quick surface and the trip is certainly no issue to this former hurdler. The last two runs were less positive, but better ground could see these ignored. Glenns Wobbly is favourite despite the 8YO not winning for a long time, and we struggle to see many positives in this camp. King Muro is perhaps another jumps horse, who’s mark of 69 could be exploited as a 119 rated hurdler. He hasn’t raced on the flat for over three years, but there has been some encouragement over the jumps.