Hoof It to score at Ascot
Man On The Spot previews Saturday's terrestrial TV action from Newmarket, Ascot and Redcar.
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Wedding Ring is the obvious choice given she's the highest rated filly in the race and beat most of today's rivals in a similar event over 6f here a fortnight ago. But OXSANA was beaten less than a length in second and had won her maiden over today's longer trip before that. Willie Haggas' filly is taken to reverse running and come out best on this occasion. Fashion Fund and Zawiyah finished further behind in the above race along with the selection's stablemate Amnesia. Away from that line of form, a third Haggas runner in Flippant has some catching up to do, as do both Night Song and Wedding Wish.
Extortionist and Fast finished third and fourth in the Flying Childers at Doncaster but HOT STREAK arguably brings the best form into the race. He was third in the Mill Reef at Newbury but had the pace to win over this shorter trip at York in August, when Excel's Beauty was only fourth, and can come out on top today. Royal Mezyan is also interesting as he was fifth in the Norfolk Stakes over track and trip in June before easily landing a maiden at York while Hay Chewed is heading in the right direction. The once-raced Outer Space may be the pick of the remainder as Scruffy Tramp holds a verdict over Umneyati from earlier in the campaign but looks held by a number of these on the form book.
Jallota boasts the highest rating but he blew his chance in a similar contest here a fortnight ago when starting favourite. He found Toofi too good on that occasion and the latter also had a handful of these further behind including Muir Lodge and Bon Voyage. Roger Varian's charge has strong claims stepping up in trip but OKLAHOMA CITY is preferred. The Ballydoyle colt has gone close in a couple of Group races in Ireland, including the Beresford Stakes over a mile at The Curragh last week, and will find life easier in this company. Recent winners open to further improvement include Postponed and Signposted with Ensuring and Extremity others to consider for each-way purposes.
Gospel Choir responded to Ryan Moore's urgings to win a handicap under a big weight at Goodwood last time but the runner-up was well beaten earlier this week so the merit of the form is questionable. Royal Empire has a penalty for beating Red Cadeaux in the Geoffrey Freer at Newbury in August but shouldn't be far away again and is preferred to the Godolphin three-year-old Secret Number, who was sixth in the St Leger but has had a busy season. GATEWOOD was sent off favourite on his first start back in this country at Doncaster but couldn't quite reel in the positively-ridden Out Of Bounds. The longer trip here is definitely in his favour and, a winner in this grade in Australia a year ago, he may be the one to beat. Repeater needs further but Hajras should have benefited from his comeback run and makes more appeal than the enigmatic Mijhaar.
VALIDUS hasn't progressed as expected but may be up to winning off his current mark before the end of the season. A four-length defeat behind Mont Ras at York in August reads well enough in this company and doubts surround his chief rivals. Recent course and distance winner Mabait steps up a grade while Intrigo remains 8lb higher than when scoring at Doncaster in June. Directorship looks in the handicapper's grip now so Mister Music is a bigger danger on his earlier conditions race victory at Bath. Fort Bastion has a shout on last year's best form but Jodies Jem was engaged to run at Ascot yesterday.
HOOF IT finished third in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock last month, a length ahead of fifth Soul with Kavanagh and Heeraat further behind. He wasn't disgraced under a big weight in the Ayr Gold Cup subsequently and could be good enough here reunited with Kieren Fallon, though it's more than two years since the six-year-old last won a race. Soul was well behind Hitchens in a Listed race at Chester earlier when David Barron's charge beat Intransigent by half-a-length. That form should be confirmed here while it would be no surprise to see Jimmy Styles run well on his return from a break. Ladyship is also worth a second look as she ran well in this grade at Goodwood before winning over today's trip at Newmarket. Farmleigh House went very close at the Curragh last month but finished behind Tropics in a Listed race at Newmarket the time before.
Most of these have an official handicap mark with Anticipated just coming out best at the weights. He's well enough drawn in the centre and should be in the shake-up. Trading Profit couldn't manage the step up to Group 2 company at Newbury after his Windsor victory but was by no means disgraced. Tim Easterby won this last year and will be hopeful of a big run from Ventura Mist, who has been competing at a high level and wasn't beaten far in a Group 3 at Ayr last time. Azagal has the best form of those from the yard but a low draw will probably put paid to her chances. Deeds Not Words has plenty to do after his three nursery victories though he's well drawn as is EMIRATES FLYER. The latter hasn't had much experience but chased home the very impressive Kingman over an extra furlong at Sandown and won't have anything of that winner's calibre to trouble him here. Ireland have never won this but David Marnane's Celtic Man is just the type of tough individual who can go well in first-time blinkers.
A cracking handicap in which a number are potentially well treated. Ascription was a late withdrawal from last week's Cambridgeshire on account of the fast ground. He was raised 11lb after winning by five lengths at Doncaster however. Sirius Prospect and 2011 winner Pastoral Player have been generally campaigned at a higher level and could go close but Royal Rock carries a penalty for winning a minor contest over 6f at Yarmouth and Richard Hannon's pair, Wentworth and Magic City, both looked to be in the handicapper's grip last time. REDVERS is a bit of an enigma but goes well here and also likes these big-field handicaps. He's only been raised 3lb for last month's course and distance victory and should run his race again. Ed Vaughan's charge can get the better of the frustrating Bertiewhittle, though the latter is still preferred to stablemate Big Johnny D who may be biting off more than he can chew in this grade. Es Que Love beat Loving Spirit on worse terms on the Polytrack in the spring but has been a little disappointing since, though his second at Warwick two runs ago looks better now than it did at the time.