Up for the Cup
Anita Chambers previews Friday's racing and she believes that Times Up can retain his title back on Town Moor.
- Related Content
BANGOR: 1.50 Ravi River, 2.20 Another Hero, 2.50 Tough Talkin Man, 3.25 Apollo Eleven, 4.00 Mostly Bob, 4.35 Mist The Boat, 5.10 General Miller, 5.40 Knockgraffon Lad.
DONCASTER: 1.40 Ambiance, 2.10 Shwaiman, 2.40 TIMES UP (NAP), 3.15 Ihtimal, 3.50 Invincible Strike, 4.25 Gramercy, 5.00 Zain Eagle.
DOWN ROYAL: 4.10 Nine Carat, 4.40 Myamo, 5.15 Meebo, 5.45 Diamond Daze, 6.15 Tabaary, 6.45 Valley Of Stars, 7.15 He's Our Man.
SANDOWN: 2.00 Invoke, 2.30 Danjeu, 3.05 Magic Of Reality, 3.40 Calm Attitude, 4.15 He's A Striker, 4.50 Naaz, 5.20 Ishikawa.
WOLVERHAMPTON: 5.30 Tornado Battle, 6.00 Cross My Heart, 6.30 Luckster, 7.00 Sing Out Sister, 7.30 Rocky Hill Ridge, 8.00 Another Name, 8.30 Pearl Queen, 9.00 Nelina.
DOUBLE: Times Up and Ihtimal.
Times Up claimed a famous victory in the Speedy Services Doncaster Cup last year and is taken to retain his title back on Town Moor.
The seven-year-old really blossomed late last year allowing John Dunlop a glorious send-off before he retired from the training ranks.
Times Up then transferred to the care of Dunlop's son, Ed, and has duly taken a while to find his feet since the switch.
His opening sixth in a Group Three at Sandown in May did not exactly promise much, while his effort at Royal Ascot would hardly have inspired any confidence as he finished well adrift of winner Estimate.
Given a break after those lacklustre efforts, Times Up looked to be coming back to form in the Lonsdale Cup at York last month, finishing a creditable third and faring best of those who did not race on the pace.
Times Up evidently appreciated slightly easier ground that day and with a mixed forecast for Doncaster, he could well get his conditions for this Group Two event.
Godolphin have claimed the last three renewals of the Barrett Steel May Hill Stakes and Ihtimal can make it four for Saeed bin Suroor.
She has some excellent form in the book, most notably when finishing second behind Kiyoshi on her debut and third to Berkshire in the Chesham at Royal Ascot.
However, she really marked herself as one to follow when winning the Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket, holding a good yardstick in Midnite Angel in impressive style.
Ihtimal steps up a to a mile here but she should appreciate the extra furlong judged on both her style of running and her pedigree.
Ambiance has been going well in good company this term and can add a deserved Group Two success in the Polypipe Flying Childers Stakes.
Mick Channon's colt was a respectable fourth over six furlongs in the Phoenix Stakes last time but also showed plenty of dash to finish third in the Molecomb at Goodwood, form which has been further boosted as winner Brown Sugar has gone in again at Pattern level.
Ambiance clearly falls a touch short of some of next season's Classic hopefuls but the drop back to the minimum trip in what is a weaker event should help his cause.
Zain Eagle is also worth a mention in the closing Frank Whittle Partnership Classified Stakes after running out a nine-length winner at Ripon last month.
Magic Of Reality suffered a minor blip when only second at Newmarket last time but can regain the winning thread in the Sungard Handicap at Sandown.
Luckster should deliver the goods in the 32Red.com Handicap at Wolverhampton, while Knockgraffon Lad, who has placed twice already this year, can finally get his head in front in the second division of the Bangor Handicap Hurdle at the Welsh venue.