Simon Holt takes Wells Farrh Go to stake his St Leger claim in the Bahrain Trophy and has three bets on day one of the Newmarket July Festival.
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An excellent card on the first day of Newmarket's July Festival begins with the Group Three Bahrain Trophy, a renowned trial for the St Leger, in which WELLS FARHH GO can stake his claims for Doncaster.
Tim Easterby's colt, who won both his starts as a two-year-old, ran a lot better than his finishing position suggests in the King Edward V11 Stakes at Royal Ascot last time as he was way too free in the early stages and not helped by the early downhill run into Swinley Bottom.
Considering that profligacy of effort, Wells Farhh Go did well to stay on in the closing stages albeit three lengths behind the re-opposing Giuseppe Garibaldi who took third behind Old Persian and Rostropovich.
The latter pair have since run in the Irish Derby and Rostropovich turned the tables finishing second to Latrobe, but Giuseppe Garibaldi had since been a beaten favourite at The Curragh behind stable-mate Flag Of Honour (Victory Salute fourth) where, not for the first time, he wandered a little under pressure.
If Wells Farhh Go can switch off better - and the start to this race is located in a much less highly-charged atmosphere than was the case at Ascot - then there could be a good deal of improvement to come.
Although well forward in the betting, I think both First Eleven and Loxley have a bit to prove.
First Eleven went into everyone's notebooks when an unlucky-looking third behind Baghdad in the King George V Handicap at Ascot and would surely have prevailed with a clear run.
However, that effort came off a mark of just 91 whereas Giuseppe Garibaldi and Wells Farhh Go are rated 108 and 105 respectively.
Loxley also has a rating of 105 after a fairly comfortable victory here last month but the question he needs to answer surrounds stamina as he steps up three furlongs in distance. On pedigree, he is not certain to get it though is clearly a promising, if possibly troubled horse given that he made such a delayed reappearance.
Like Wells Farhh Go, MIRAGE DANCER was selected in this space to win at the Royal meeting but found trouble in running up the home straight in the Wolferton Stakes and is also given another chance in the Group Two Princess Of Wales's Arqana Racing Club Stakes.
To be honest, I don't think the son of Frankel was picking up well enough to win, though he may well have beaten the re-opposing third Muntahaa (now 3lb worse off) besides which the mile and a quarter trip looked on the sharp side.
On form, Mirage Dancer has to turn the tables with Barsanti for a neck defeat at Ascot in May over this trip but, whereas the latter was possibly a bit below form when fourth of five behind Crystal Ocean in the Hardwicke Stakes (dropped 2lb since) and might be levelling off at the age of six, the Ryan Moore-ridden selection still looks capable of better especially over a mile and a half.
Earlier, the bet365 Handicap looks fiendishly competitive but last month's big sprint handicap at York where Encrypted beat Savalas a neck with Staxton fourth, Foxtrot Lady fifth, Gabrial The Saint eighth and Jawwaal ninth could be a key piece of form.
The winner and second have gone up 6lb and 5lb respectively so it will be tougher for them to confirm the placings especially as they seemed to benefit that day from being close to the pace on the flat course,.
This six furlongs is more undulating but a very similar test judged on standard times and Foxtrot Lady will need to travel a bit better than she did at York where she was being ridden along from over two furlongs out before staying on strongly.
The one that caught my eye was JAWWAAL who travelled well, held up towards the rear and was picking up nicely only to be stopped in his run in the last half-furlong.
John Gosden's colt probably wouldn't have won but he'd have been a few places closer and ran like a horse with a good deal more to offer.