Somewhat of a good thing
Conditions at Chester could play to the strengths of Somewhat in Friday's Dee Stakes according to Chris Wilson.
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ASCOT: 5.35 Stinky Socks, 6.05 Chocala, 6.40 Marsh Daisy, 7.15 Clear Spring, 7.50 Lady Frances, 8.20 Homestretch.
CHESTER: 1.45 Big Johnny D, 2.15 SOMEWHAT (NAP), 2.45 Hillstar, 3.15 Blithe Spirit, 3.50 Gabrial's Bounty, 4.25 Polar Eyes, 5.00 Running Deer.
CORK: 5.20 Shield, 5.50 Age Of Glory, 6.20 Hell Cat Maggie, 6.55 Sonny B, 7.30 Lo Siento, 8.05 Mr Eko, 8.35 Oneforlill.
DOWNPATRICK: 5.10 Oscar Vespasian, 5.40 Catchin Time, 6.10 Jim Bowie, 6.45 Quigley, 7.20 Waltz Legend, 7.55 Walden, 8.25 Better Part Of Me.
LINGFIELD: 2.05 Libran, 2.35 Kosika, 3.05 Stomp, 3.35 Pearl Blue, 4.10 Paradise Spectre, 4.45 Backstage Gossip, 5.20 Southern Cross.
MARKET RASEN: 1.55 Vinstar, 2.25 Mixed Message, 2.55 Tayarat, 3.25 Grandads Horse, 4.00 Touch Back, 4.35 Presenting Junior, 5.05 Towering.
NOTTINGHAM: 5.15 Pearl Noir, 5.45 Polar Vortex, 6.15 Navajo Dream, 6.50 Nimble Kimble, 7.25 Cape Samba, 8.00 Norse Star, 8.30 Winter Spice.
RIPON: 5.55 Cabbies Lou, 6.25 Chanceuse, 7.00 Angus Og, 7.35 Amaze, 8.10 Galvanize, 8.40 Jan Smuts.
DOUBLE: Somewhat and Hillstar.
Conditions at Chester could play to the strengths of Somewhat in the Betfair Cash Out Dee Stakes.
Mark Johnston's high-calibre colt has such a high knee action that any cut in the ground on the Roodee would be most beneficial.
That appears likely, as there is rain forecast throughout the week.
Although he would not want it like a quagmire - Somewhat failed to act on very soft ground in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster last term - he is expected to be a far fitter horse than at Newmarket last month.
The son of Dynaformer was comprehensively outgunned by leading Derby hope True Story, but, like a lot of his fellow Middleham inmates, improvement from one run to the next looks a virtual given.
That blip at Doncaster aside, Somewhat had a really good juvenile campaign, highlighted by a runaway defeat of Be Ready at Newbury and a close second to Berkshire in the Royal Lodge.
With this step up to a mile and a quarter likely to suit, Somewhat could feasibly make a late dash for the Derby if he does what is expected of him at Chester.
The Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes looks tough but Hillstar's class should come to the fore in the Group Three over a mile and five furlongs.
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute has always been a huge admirer of the four-year-old colt, but he can admittedly turn in the odd curious display, such as when he was well beaten in Dubai in March.
That said, his clinical Royal Ascot victory last summer, in which he coolly outfoxed Battle Of Marengo by a length in the King Edward VII Stakes, should be succinct enough evidence to make a case for the defence.
Hillstar is from a good staying family, so should readily take this further ascent in trip, while he is equally adept on fast ground as he is on soft.
It is is entirely possible that we have not yet seen anything like this horse's true potential.
Bilthe Spirit must have a great chance in the Crabbie's EBF Stallions Handicap.
With only seven declared runners, the chances of hitting trouble in running from stall four look remote for the three-year-old filly, who has won two races from four starts at Chester.
Eric Alston's inmate might be on a career-high mark, but she returned to action with a good second at Thirsk last month and is only going to get better.
Clear Spring is respected in the Miles & Morrison Handicap at Ascot's evening meeting.
John Spearing's six-year-old continues to rise in the weights, but he is clearly still on the upgrade.
The manner in which he finished off his race in a good race at Ripon last month also tends to indicate he is already pretty fired up.
As long as the ground does not deteriorate too severely, the gelded son of Chineur holds every chance in what does not looks a particularly spellbinding encounter.
Pearl Blue was not the first horse to dislike Epsom last month, but she should be in a far happier place in the Ladbrokes Download The App Handicap at Lingfield.
Angus Og will appreciate the step back up to six furlongs for the Theakston of Masham Paradise Ale Handicap at Ripon, with Winter Spice taken to put to his course form to good use in the Racing UK Anywhere Handicap at Nottingham.
Mixed Message was a good third at Perth last month and will find the Ladies Day On 19th July Handicap Hurdle at Market Rasen far less exacting.