My Seal Of Approval
Man On The Spot previews Saturday's live Channel 4 racing from Sandown Park and Haydock Park.
Steps will need luck in-running from stall one as he has to arrive late on the scene but he ran a cracker in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot after being squeezed out at the start. He can reverse that running with gallant second Stepper Point and should again beat Green Door and Rex Imperator but fifth AHTOUG almost certainly needed that run, his first since March, and looks the one to beat on past form. Extortionist was just beaten in this grade at the Curragh last week and will be a threat on that form, though was well beaten behind Wind Fire, Hay Chewed and One Chance in a Listed race here three weeks ago. Shamshon beat One Chance at York before fading over 6f at Haydock while Kingsgate Native has done nothing wrong this year in exalted company, though has only won once since 2010. Dinkum Diamond has done better this year but looks held on the form book.
A prolific winner in Australia, Complicate was competing in Group sprints at Meydan earlier this year. He's preferred to stablemate Soul but this looks wide-open. Barkston Ash should be reversing earlier running at this track on better terms with the winner Bear Behind while ANNUNCIATION finished ahead of Morache Music when runner-up over track and trip in May. The former looks high enough in handicaps at present but has as good a chance as any on today's terms. Justice Day drops in class but three-year-olds don't have a great record in this while Captain Ramius is usually at his best over 7f with some cut in the ground.
Busatto is preferred to the three-year-olds Lyn Valley and Ifwecan of Mark Johnston's trio in a hugely-competitive handicap but we like the look ofVELOX. Luca Cumani's charge would almost certainly have been placed at Epsom last month had he not been badly hampered close home. He still wasn't beaten far and Busatto was among those behind. Russian Realm never figured when favourite for the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and Secret Art was also well beaten. Jersey Stakes sixth Brazos can't be ruled out, however, and makes more appeal than Burano,Gabrial's Kaka and Prince Of Johanne who all finished unplaced in the Royal Hunt Cup. The classy Baltic Knight has a good record when dropped into handicaps and looks the pick of the remainder ahead of northern raider St Moritz.
Having to guess at the likely ground conditions makes a hot renewal even more difficult to call. SEAL OF APPROVAL should have come on for an outing in the Yorkshire Cup and had Talent back in third when landing the Group 1 Fillies' and Mares race at Ascot in October. She also has the beating of Marco Botti's new inmate Charity Line, a Group 1 winner in Italy, on collateral form and is the one to beat if getting some cut. The unbeaten Sultanina is closely matched with Silk Sari on her victory in a Group 3 contest over track and trip in May. John Gosden's other runnerPomology is also unbeaten but hasn't raced since August while there was little between Wall Of Sound and We'll Go Walking when they filled the places in a Listed race at Nottingham recently with Rock Choir back in fifth. This is a much tougher renewal than last year when Moment In Timefinished second but Lustrous has a shout on her second in the Ribblesdale at Ascot if the ground rides fast.
Veiled Intrigue made a promising reappearance in a Group 3 at Lingfield in May and should strip fitter here. Radiator was far from disgraced in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot having just been touched off at York earlier and John Gosden wouldn't be running Salisbury maiden winner Belle D'Or in this if he didn't fancy her chances - she still holds an entry in next week's Falmouth Stakes. QUEEN CATRINE would have won the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot in another stride having met trouble in-running. She easily holds Wee Jean and Crowley's Law on that run and can gain compensation in this.
HAVANA COOLER ran a big race on his comeback at Ascot when third to the progressive Arab Spring. He's been aimed at this and could well add to Luca Cumani's good record in the race. However, he'll need to reverse running with Ascot runner-up Salutation while Magic Hurricane is rapidly improving and can also figure having won over track and trip last time. De Rigueur beat Dashing Star and Mighty Yar at Newmarket last month but Stromachion has been upped a further 3lb for finishing second at Epsom. Quiz Mistress was only beaten a length in a Group 3 contest here in May and is another to consider while any strong support for Sir Mark Prescott's Pallasator on his return to action could prove significant. Dashing Starhas each-way claims but this may be too far for Strictly Silver.
A terrific renewal of this Group 1 which features two classic winners and four others who have won at the highest level. Kingston Hill was runner-up to the brilliant Australia in the Epsom Derby but had earlier finished behind Night Of Thunder in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and might not run if the ground is too fast. The latter had War Command behind when a brave second to Kingman in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot subsequently but tries a new trip today. Verrazano was second and Tullius fourth in the Queen Anne Stakes last month. Both have won over 1m1f but the extra distance might be a problem on this stiff track. Mukhadram was third in this last year and has place claims again while Trading Leather won last year's Irish Derby, though he hasn't scored since and was easily brushed aside by THE FUGUE in the Irish Champion Stakes in September. John Gosden's mare was back to her brilliant best in the Prince Of Wales' Stakes when Mukhadram was only fourth. This is her best trip and the ground won't be a problem so she can make up for a disappointing run in this last year when given too much to do.