Spanish raider set to strike
Simon Holt previews Saturday's action at York and Newmarket with Noozhoh Canarias among his selections.
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Simon Holt previews Saturday's action at York and Newmarket with Roger Varian's Horsted Keynes among three selections.
NOOZHOH CANARIAS, a fine sixth in a red-hot 2000 Guineas despite failing to stay, is fancied to provide a famous win for Spain dropped to six furlongs in Saturday's Group One Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
Unbeaten in his first three starts against only average opposition, the three-year-old proved his quality when showing great dash in the Prix Jean Luc Lagardere at Longchamp last October before being collared by subsequent French Guineas winner Karakontie inside the final furlong.
At Newmarket in May, Noozhoh Canarias again set a furious gallop in the far side group, providing the target for Night Of Thunder and Kingman who eventually finished first and second.
An eventual sixth placing was no disgrace given the way that race has worked out subsequently (he had subsequent Derby runner-up Kingston Hill and French Derby winner The Grey Gatsby behind him) and the drop to a stiff six furlongs here could be absolutely made to measure.
Up against the selection are some proven high quality sprinters including the Eddie Lynam-trained pair Sole Power and Slade Power who completed a memorable double for the yard in the Kings Stand and Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
This six furlongs could blunt Sole Power's remarkable turn of foot (and the softening conditions will not be ideal) but Slade Power, third to Lethal Force last year, must have a major chance and is more ground versatile.
So decisive was Slade Power's victory at Ascot, that it is difficult to see why Due Dilligence (second) and Aljamaaheer (third) - along with the unplaced Astaire, Jack Dexter and Tropics - should turn the tables. That said, both the other places horses are relatively unexposed in sprints at this level.
Hot Streak, third to Sole Power at Ascot, could also find this six furlongs stretching him and the American challenger Undrafted, an impressive winner over the trip at Belmont Park could be more dangerous given his trainer Wesley Ward's record in this country. However, his form has come on fast ground.
Aidan O'Brien also fields two promising types in Cougar Mountain and Fountain Of Youth but Due Dilligence must surely be regarded as Ballydoyle's number one contender.
In the 666bet Bunbury Cup, HORSTED KEYNES could take advantage of a 6lb pull with his penalised Buckingham Palace Stakes conqueror.
Roger Varian's lightly raced gelding was having only his second race on turf when narrowly denied at the Royal meeting and looks open to a good deal of improvement.
Abseil, only eighth when strongly fancied for the Hunt Cup, will be fitted with a hood this time and is another runner with a sharply progressive profile.
At York, TAHIRA could be the one for the John Smith's Cup.
The ex-German filly's new trainer John Quinn made no secret of his regard for her earlier in the year and, after a keeping on seventh on her English debut over the course and distance behind Clever Cookie (now 18lb worse off) in May, she took another step forward when second to Running Deer (subsequent winner Strictly Silver third) under a big weight at Chester last month.
Tahira went up just 2lb for that effort and could be ready to strike.
A threat to all must be Farraaj, a horse with a touch of class who won impressively at Epsom last time though he is drawn widest of the field which cannot be ideal.