Dave Smith takes a look at Friday's ITV7 action. He makes Battaash his best bet of the day.
MELTING DEW ran a cracker behind column selection Sir Chauvelin last time out at Goodwood and comes here with a 5lb rise for that runner-up finish. That's more than fair given how far he was ahead of the remainder that day and he can make another bold bid from stall 16. Indeed, the opening handicap on day one saw the major players coming from the higher numbers and the form has been franked by Poet Society's win yesterday. First Nation is interesting on last season's form and improved throughout the campaign but he was disappointing at Ascot last time out and would need a career best to take this, though improvement is not completely ruled out. Appeared has looked like he was struggling with the shorter trip the last two recently and this return to 1m4f should help him hugely. He ran an impressive second in the Duke of Edinburgh last season and a repeat of that would see him very close here. Pacify appears to have found his mark in the mid 90s and this may be a touch too high as he doesn't seem to have coped with a rating in the 100s. Mister Belvedere is somewhat inconvenienced by the draw but his mark still looks competitive given the manner of his performances. Maori Bob looks a very promising each-way prospect in the race with Cameron Noble's 5lb claim helping. The handicapper has had his say but his record over this trip is very encouraging and at 20/1 or around that figure he's certainly an each-way play.
No fewer than 17 fillies line up for this contest on Newmarket's July course and there's a fair amount that needs to be taken on breeding or a check in the market. HELLO BANGKOK has a Group One entry and course form when running second, beaten only a neck by John Gosden's Shambolic. As well as the Bet365 Mile, the horse is also entered for the Rockfel Stakes and connections clearly feel that a longer trip will suit in time as there is plenty of stamina in the pedigree. The form of Ice Gala wasn't franked at Chepstow when Lady Aria was unable to get her head in front, after the Haggis filly came third to that horse and Firelight again on the July course. She's stoutly bred for Cheveley Park, is also entered in the Rockfel Stakes. Most of the others will require a market check but Dandhu is another with Group One aspirations given she's entered in the Cheveley Park Stakes. She ran very green on debut so she should come on plenty for the run and connections are also to be respected.
It's almost impossible to look beyond supreme stayer STRADIVARIUS here. The form is firmly in the bank and the Gold Cup winner will be a very warm order to confirm his superiority over his rivals, especially with no Big Orange or Order of St George in the field. Torcedor is another who doesn't re-oppose here having ran the champion close last time out and it's hard to think of known competition. Red Verdon has a string of good performances under his belt at 1m4f and indeed in Group races but this is a different contest altogether and the extra 4f could be testing against a tried-and-trusted stayer. Idaho is rated closely to the selection and ran third behind him last time out but much like the yard, he's struggled recently. The only other horse to have won at this distance is St Michel and his last run was better than he'd been producing but ultimately, he was well behind the selection and he'd need to improve significantly to trouble him here. Sir Chauvelin is an interesting runner and this step up in distance should be a help to him. He won very well last time out and takes this step up in grade with connections confident he can be held up in mid-division and travel nicely before being unleashed at the optimum moment.
An interesting contest at HQ for the colts. GATEWAY ran a very nice race up at Ayr last time out and though he's turned out quickly by Mark Johnston, that's certainly not an unusual move for the stable. His opening mark of 76 is fine and with James Doyle taking the ride, there's plenty to recommend with a strong front-running style expected. Jason Watson's 3lb claim on Bacacarat could help swing the contest his way but he'd have to improve, although he has been running in good maidens here, at Newbury and Ascot. The Balding team are in good form, as evidenced by their Shergar Cup showing, and it would be no surprise to see this son of Raven's Pass run a big race, though he is becoming a little expensive to follow. It's possible we haven't seen the best of Bhodi just yet and he's another who's been stepping up in distance. He doesn't have the fancy entries that the other two have but he'll certainly be competitive at this level.
Space Traveller has some nice entries and is clearly well thought of by trainer Richard Fahey who took this contest last year. This son of Bated Breath has won both of his starts so far and is out of a Gallileo mare, giving even stronger credence to his breeding. His two novice victories have been emphatic but he'd need more to get past SHINE SO BRIGHT. His third in an competitive renewal of The Richmond Stakes at Goodwood is about the strongest form on offer here and he's comfortably the highest rated on official figures. Emaraaty Ana was a satisfactory third in a Listed race last time out but that was only his second start and there's surely more to come from him. Jamie Spencer is in cracking form after a five-timer on Monday at Yarmouth and a resounding success on Phoenix Of Spain earlier in the week. Trainer Kevin Ryan often does well at York but he hasn't quite kicked into gear just yet. Legends of War has a strong US influence in his pedigree and will hope the ground remains on the quick side. The Irish Rover will need a return to form but the stable looks to have resumed winning ways with Fairyland's success and connections will be hoping for a better run than the last twice.
The form and potential of the Hannon two-year-olds this year is, even by their high yard standards, is quite excellent. They have another smart prospect here in the shape of MORDED for whom Fran Berry takes the ride. He has a couple of fancy entries, most notably in the in The Royal Lodge, and he's by Camelot so will want further in time but he's got race-form and that's usually important in these contests. Arguably the most eye-catching sire this term has been Kingman who has produced, amongst others, Calyx and Look Around, and he has Sangarius in here for James Doyle and Sir Michael Stoute. He's without a run at the races but he has a Dewhurst entry so connections must think a lot of him. There's not a lot to recommend the others who've had a start and there's a lot of the unknown quantities amongst the newcomers.
Sprint superstar BATTAASH comes back to the Knavesmire a year after completely blowing out after sweating up in the preliminaries and finishing fourth, somewhat tarnishing his reputation at the time. Since then he has coming roaring back with only defeat to Blue Point at Ascot blotting his copy book. He's a quirky character but the feeling coming from Jim Crowley is they have started to see the horse mature and understand what the game is all about. Blue Point re-opposes here and is a live danger to the selection and is back to his optimum trip after once again appearing not to like 6f. These two are so far ahead in the market that it appears a reverse forecast would be the way to go for a bet but it's possible that Caspian Prince could be an outside play for each-way money. He's run significantly well in handicaps before comfortably taking the step up in to Group Two company. He'd need way more to trouble the stars of the sprint division but he's a working man's price at 28/1. Muthmir continues to run on in his races and leaves you wondering what would happen if he got a clean break. He's definitely another at a huge price who could run a big race and at 40/1, he's value for another each-way punt.