Marvel at the Gosden ace
Simon Holt previews this afternoon's feature action at Newbury and Ripon.
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2pts win Soul in 15.05 Newbury at 7/2 (General).
2pts win Masked Marvel in 14.30 Newbury at 4/1 (General).
1pt e.w. Lexi's Hero in 15.30 Ripon at 14/1 (General).
The big race at Newbury on Saturday is the Betfred Hungerford Stakes in which it seems Strong Suit is likely to start favourite and certainly on best of his form he has an undeniable chance.
However this is a horse who has been beaten over 40 lengths in his last three outings at the Breeders' Cup, Royal Ascot and in the July Cup.
These are not enticing credentials and until we see signs of Strong Suit returning to his very best I'm going to oppose him here with Godolphin's representative Soul.
He ran a cracker when fourth behind Black Caviar in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, form which has been franked solidly since by the runner-up Moonlight Cloud.
Soul then he subsequently went on to win impressively by four lengths at Newbury over six furlongs on heavy going. On that performance he threatens to be equally as effective over this trip.
Earlier we have the Betfred 'The Bonus King' Geoffrey Freer Stakes and an interesting feature of this is that John Gosden fields a pacemaker, a horse called Dartford, for last year's Ladbrokes St Leger winner Masked Marvel.
In the final Classic of 2011 Masked Marvel beat Brown Panther by three lengths and although the tables were turned in the King George at Ascot last time when Brown Panther finished a creditable seventh behind Danedream, Masked Marvel would have finished pretty close to him had he not been eased significantly by Frankie Dettori in the closing stages.
With a fast pace guaranteed by his stablemate and indeed Harris Tweed, I think Masked Marvel's stamina could provide the answer with all respect to the progressive Mount Athos who steps out of handicap company for the Luca Cumani team.
In the William Hill Great St Wilfrid at Ripon the draw is hugely important and there is a suggestion that high numbers could now be favoured, so the one I like is Lexi's Hero.
He has not been disgraced in recent starts yet has seduced the handicapper into dropping him several pounds. This pacey front-runner could be hard to catch against the stands side rail and warrants an each-way interest.