Karl Burke's Lord Of The Lodge sets a lofty standard in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket, according to Nick Robson.
NAP: Lord Of The Lodge (3.35 Newmarket)
Next Best: Withhold (4.10 Newmarket)
Karl Burke's Lord Of The Lodge sets a lofty standard in the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.
The Dandy Man colt looked pretty decent when winning on his debut at Ayr, but found the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot coming too soon in his career.
Given a bit of a break, he then disappointed in a Listed race at Newbury. But that was the only time he has encountered anything like soft ground, so he can be forgiven that blip - especially given his exploits since.
He went to Haydock next on a retrieval mission and he fairly bolted up by five lengths, but even better was to come when he was stepped back up to Pattern company.
Running in the Gimcrack at York, he was sent off a relatively unconsidered 16/1 chance - but he beat all bar Richard Hannon's Threat, who has franked that form since by winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster under a penalty.
He was staying on pretty strongly at York, suggesting Thursday's step up to seven furlongs should be within his compass.
Roger Charlton's Withhold has been campaigned almost exclusively in major handicaps for the past couple of season, so whether he will cope with a small field in the Jockey Club Rose Bowl Stakes is a question mark.
There is no denying he is the one to beat, though, having won the Cesarewitch and Northumberland Plate as well as the valuable Marsh Cup at Newbury.
He even went to Australia last season but broke a blood vessel in the Geelong Cup, which scuppered his hopes of Melbourne Cup glory.
Charlton has very much minded his charge since that mishap, with the six-year-old having made just two subsequent starts, when winning at Newbury and finishing down the field in the Ebor.
He had to shoulder top weight on the Knavesmire, and a truly remarkable performance would have been required for victory, so it is perhaps best to just put a line through that and trust Withhold can regain the winning thread with the conditions of the race handing him a thorough advantage.
Whisper Aloud narrowly failed to oblige on her first try outside of novice company, but she can get another win on the board in the British EBF Premier Fillies' Handicap.
Victorious on two of her three starts - including an eight-length romp at Bath in August - she looked reasonably treated on her handicap debut with a mark of 78.
She was just out-battled in the closing stages to be beaten half a length, but the experience should not be lost on her - and a 1lb rise looks no bar to success.
Original Choice remains a few pounds below his best all-weather rating, and must be one for the short-list in the Weatherbys TBA Handicap.
He won a trappy little conditions race at Lingfield last week in decent style - and turning out again quickly, he escapes any punishment from the handicapper.
Away from Newmarket, Francis Xavier can successfully concede weight all round in the Simon Scrope Dalby Screw-Driver Handicap at Pontefract.
Kevin Frost's five-year-old returned to form with a tenacious, all-the-way win in an Ascot handicap last time.
This slightly shorter trip, on another stiff track, ought to be ideal after a rise of 4lb for his neck victory.
Six Strings is another top-weight who should go well in the Bet totetrifecta At totesport.com Handicap at Chelmsford.
Mick Appleby's gelding has twice been a beaten favourite since his last success. But on this return to the all-weather for the first time since his latest stable switch, he still appears feasibly treated.
Wholestone takes the eye as he starts his career over fences in the Timothy Hardie Jewellers Novices' Chase at Perth.
A multiple Grade Two winner over hurdles, he could not quite make his presence felt in the staying division last time, so now is perhaps a good time for Nigel Twiston-Davies to switch his focus to the bigger obstacles.
Sporting Life tips
CHELMSFORD: 4.55 Haraz, 5.30 Art Echo, 6.00 Costello, 6.30 Prince Rock, 7.00 Six Strings, 7.30 City Of Love, 8.00 Zefferino, 8.30 Amjaady.
GOWRAN: 1.40 Azila, 2.10 Star Of Cashel, 2.45 Who's Steph, 3.05 Insaan, 3.55 Ideal Pal, 4.30 Bye Bye Brussels, 5.00 Dee Sprinter, 5.35 Passing Trade.
NEWMARKET: 1.50 Mascat, 2.25 Cloud Drift, 3.00 Whisper Aloud, 3.35 LORD OF THE LODGE (NAP), 4.10 Withhold, 4.45 Original Choice, 5.20 Reloaded, 5.50 Isomer.
PERTH: 1.30 Pop The Cork, 2.00 Ryalex, 2.35 Ashington, 3.10 Wholestone, 3.45 Mint Gold, 4.20 Pistol Shoot, 4.50 Chocolat Noir.
PONTEFRACT: 2.15 Sam's Call, 2.50 High Flying Bird, 3.25 Young John, 4.00 Francis Xavier, 4.35 Max Vega, 5.05 Sheepscar Lad, 5.40 Air Force Amy.
SOUTHWELL: 5.15 Big Boris, 5.45 Convene, 6.15 Katherine Place, 6.45 Dame Freya Stark, 7.15 End Over End, 7.45 Colwood, 8.15 Awa Bomba.
DOUBLE: Lord Of The Lodge and Withhold.