Dan Skelton’s Al Shahir On A Handy Mark7 min read
Last year’s Arc second Sea Of Class was reported on Sunday to be fighting for her life after suffering a career-ending bout of colic. She had made a satisfactory seasonal reappearance on ground softer than ideal in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and let’s just hope she can be saved for the breeding sheds.
There will be no Arc rematch with the 2018 runner up at Longchamp and Enable is 6/4 from 2/1 at BetVictor for an unprecedented third win in Paris after her narrow, but convincing, win in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown on Saturday on her seasonal reappearance.
It might be a busy few months for the wonder-mare with Gosden nominating the King George (4/6 from Evens) as her next target at the end of the month. Owner Prince Khalid Abdullah sponsors the Juddmonte International at York next month and he is likely to give Enable the opportunity to emulate the incomparable Frankel who carried his silks to win the prize so famously back in 2012.
There is a terrific 2m 4f handicap Chase at Worcester this afternoon and I must give another chance to Al Shahir (2.45) who I felt was put off by the leader jumping out to his right when coming down at the 10th at Southwell last time. The selection has yet to prove he stays this 2m 4f trip, but he has the scope to rate much higher than his current mark over fences. Cillian’s Well had not been asked a question when unseating three out at Ffos Las last month and rates the main danger.
Evita Du Mesnil (4.15) was weak in the market when finishing a well beaten second at Stratford on her first start for Dr Richard Newland. It will be interesting to see what the market makes of the chance of this mare who won three Bumpers in her native France. The drop back to the minimum trip will suit given she travelled well last time over 2m 2f.
Too Many Diamonds was last of five at Aintree last time, but she was only beaten five lengths on ground softer than ideal. He is rated 8lbs higher over fences than hurdles and today’s sounder surface will suit. Marginal preference, however, is for Haafapiece (4.45) who won over C&D from a 4lbs lower mark 12 months ago and was very well backed when beaten 4l over slightly further at Market Rasen last time.
Al Shahir (2.45)
Evita Du Mesnil (4.15)
At Ayr a 5lbs penalty may not stop Irish raider Lever Du Soleil (4.30) from following up last weeks win at Musselburgh for the excellent Gavin Cromwell. The trainer has an extraordinary strike-rate at present with, at the time of writing, nine of his last 25 runners having hit the target. The selection remains well treated on the flat judged on his hurdle mark, despite the penalty.
Cromwell should also know where he stands with the hat-trick seeking Sbrasse given he was claimed out of the yard when scoring at Sligo last month. He has since followed up for Noel Kelly at Ballinrobe and looks a big danger.
Lever Du Soleil (4.30)
At Windsor this evening, I expect to see Good Earth try and make all under the stands’ rail for Jamie Osborne and Nicola Currie but I thought Irish Acclaim (6.20) looked a sure-fire future winner when third over C&D on debut and he is taken to build on that opening promise.
Peggy McKay (7.50) makes her handicap debut for Andrew Balding in the 10f handicap and this lightly-raced filly ran a good race on her first start over a mile here last June when a staying on fourth. The fact that she has only had two starts in the subsequent 12 months suggests she has not been the easiest to train, but connections have persevered with her and she starts her life in handicaps from a very lowly mark. Oisin Murphy was in the saddle when she made her debut and he is back in the saddle tonight.
King Ademar (8.20) was never competitive in the Britannia at Royal Ascot last month but was very well backed and he is taken to break his maiden tag for Marytn Meade this evening. He has a poor draw to overcome in stall nine, but he is taken to outclass his rivals.
I hope it is a good night for Murphy as his Fearless Warrior (8.50) can confirm Kempton juvenile form with top-weight Alnadir in his first-time blinkers on 6lbs better terms. The selection got bogged down in the soft ground at Chester last time and has been eased by the handicapper. The lightly-raced Johnny Kidd looks sure to give a bold sight from the front for Andrew Balding and a market move would be worth noting.
Irish Acclaim (6.20)
Peggy McKay (7.50)
King Ademar (8.20)
Fearless Warrior (8.50)