Secret can bring House down
Man On The Spot previews Saturday's televised action from Newmarket and Goodwood.
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Boonga Roogeta began her winning run in October in a Leicester seller but has now won half of her 14 starts. She's taking on better company here but can't be ruled out while Rye House is certain to attract support having had a very light campaign last year, catching the eye of many pundits. Licence To Till may do better back on this quicker ground but it's WHISPERING WARRIOR who is handed the vote. David Simcock's charge improved dramatically over the winter landing a hat-trick in very easy style on Polytrack. He's been given a break in preparation for a Turf campaign and looks on a very lenient mark. Basseterre won three times last year including over a mile here and looks set for another good season in this sort of company.
Coquet won a Listed race over 1m2f here on last year's reappearance but doubts remain regarding her stamina over today's distance. Lily The Pink, Jehannedarc and Khione finished in that order behind Gallipot at Newmarket in September but the first-named was tailed off on her recent comeback. Souviens Toi is hard to assess on her winning form in Italy as she makes her debut for Marco Botti but Newmarket winner Bite Of The Cherry gets every yard of the trip and should be thereabouts. RECKONING's third at Doncaster in November looks more impressive in hindsight as subsequent dual Group One winner Sajjhaa finished runner-up in that race. Jeremy Noseda's filly is entered in a Group Two contest at York later this month and gets the vote on her return.
The North has taken this for the past two years and can make it a hat-trick via PEARL SECRET. David Barron is a master at training sprinters and his four-year-old went into last year's Nunthorpe unbeaten. He got no sort of run that day and finished behind several of today's rivals but is given a chance to make amends and prove himself a top sprinter. Sole Power doesn't win very often though when he does it's generally a top event. He'll love the ground and has returned from a spell in Dubai where he ran well without quite getting there. Spirit Quartz, runner-up in the Nunthorpe, also ran at Meydan before landing a minor race at Nottingham so he's in good enough shape to make his presence felt. Heeraat looked a really smart sprinter when returning with a victory in a Newbury handicap and deserves a crack at this level.
Bravo Echo and Head Of Steam came out best of those who finished behind Grey Mirage at Kempton three weeks ago. But both were beaten over three lengths and Kakatosi also has something to find with Bravo Echo on earlier running on the Polytrack. Democretes finished closer when third over 6f at Windsor last time and Justineo has the form to figure, though his poor strike-rate tempers enthusiasm. SILVERHEELS scored over today's trip at Chantilly in November and a punt is taken on Paul Cole's charge on his reappearance in what looks something of a lottery, though The Confessor demands respect given his excellent course record.
Wigmore Hall has been an outstanding performer for Michael Bell and rarely runs below Group One level but he's penalised for his victory in the Northern Dancer at Woodbine, his second in the race. Dandino won this in 2011 and has continued to perform with credit at the highest level but the vote goes to UNIVERSAL, who will need to raise his game though there's every chance he will do so. Mark Johnston's charge is a big, long-striding type who gallops all the way to the line and though he looked about to be swamped by Noble Mission in the John Porter he battled harder than that rival for success. This track looks ideal and he can take advantage and make all.
There have been some shocks in this over the years but it's very difficult to imagine anything but the unbeaten pair DAWN APPROACH and Toronado being successful.Jim Bolger's colt has done everything right and has always looks as though this straight mile was made for him, so the Dewhurst winner - reported to have been sparkling at home - is taken to come out on top. Toronado was a very impressive winner of the Craven Stakes and though that race rarely works out well in the first colt's classic, he could hardly have done any more and his trainer believes whatever beats him will win. George Vancouver was behind the selection and Leitir Mor in the Dewhurst but definitely improved at Santa Anita so it's a surprise to find Joseph O'Brien on board Cristoforo Colombo, beaten a length by the selection in the Coventry Stakes. O'Brien also runs Mars, the very easy winner of his only start at Dundalk last summer. Richard Fahey thinks the world of the Free Handicap winner Garswood, who will need massive improvement to get involved but could be capable of finding it.