Simon Holt previews day five of the Glorious Goodwood meeting and fancies Silent Echo to build on his Wokingham fifth in the Unibet Stewards' Cup.
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SILENT ECHO, a fine fifth in last month's Wokingham Handicap at Royal Ascot, can prove himself the most progressive and well handicapped horse in the field in Saturday's Qatar Stewards Cup at Goodwood, and realise an ambition for his veteran trainer Peter Hedger.
Twice a winner last season when handled by Roger Charlton, the four-year-old has thrived under his new handler who, for many years, trained close to Fontwell Park racecourse, just a few miles from Goodwood.
Second to the classy Dreamfield at Ascot in May, Silent Echo then took a handicap at Windsor and successfully followed up on the same course in order to make it into the Wokingham weights.
Now 2lb lower in the handicap (he carried a 5lb penalty at Ascot), ideally suited by a fast-run six furlongs and freshened up since for this race, he should go very close.
Moreover, the Wokingham form is working out well: Bacchus was not beaten far in a Group Three next time and runner-up Dreamfield finished sixth in the July Cup while George Bowen (sixth) and Spring Loaded (ninth) have been impressive winners more recently.
Dropped to five furlongs, the latter beat 19 rivals at Ascot about three weeks ago earning a 6lb penalty. Now that he's back to form, Spring Loaded looks a leading player but is 7lb worse off with the selection.
George Bowen has since whizzed in at Hamilton but also carries a 6lb penalty while Wokingham fifth Tis Marvellous is now 4lb worse off with Silent Echo.
Improving filly Foxtrot Lady looks sure to run well after another career-best performance to win at the Newmarket July meeting so incurring another with a 6lb penalty while her half sister Dancing Star, who won this race in 2016, could be returning to form after her recent fourth to Raven's Lady in a Group Three at York.
Lancelot Du Lac, Aeolus and Growl, first, second and fourth respectively last year, could all go well again though, with hot weather forecast by the end of the week, conditions are unlikely to be anywhere near as soft this time.
At Newmarket, MELODIC MOTION can gain compensation for a luckless run on the course last time in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Chalice Stakes.
Ralph Beckett's filly, a three-time winner in 2017 before being narrowly beaten in the Park Hill at Doncaster, was about to challenge the leaders over the course and distance two weeks ago only to be stopped in her tracks just over a furlong out in another listed race won by Worth Waiting.
I feel certain Melodic Motion would have had a say in the finish that day as she was picking up well and, with better luck, she can turn the tables on Highgarden (second), Dramatic Queen (third) and Alwaysandforever (fourth). On her best form, she's the best filly in the field.