Friday Racing: Aspeter Looks a Smart Pick at Goodwood5 min read
John Gosden’s Lah Ti Dar is the favourite for the Oaks, which is now just a week away. The mover in recent days, however, has been Aidan O’Brien’s Magical, from 12s, although the filly is also entered for the Irish 1,000 Guineas at the Curragh on Sunday.
Today’s Goodwood highlight is the listed Cocked Hat Stakes over a-mile-and-a-half and seven go to post in what looks a modest renewal. Highbrow finished third to a couple of useful Charlie Appleby colts at Newmarket on his reappearance and that is, arguably, the best form on offer.
The vote, however, goes to the once-raced Aspeter (3.45) who looked potentially smart when landing a gamble at Windsor on his racecourse debut last month. The colt is a son of Al Kazeem who did so well for the Roger Charlton yard and he does hold an entry in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.
If George Bowen (4.20) is in the same mood as when winning at York last week, he will be hard to stop despite carrying a 6lbs penalty. The grey has been raised 11lbs for that 6L success on the Knavesmire, however, and his talented apprentice takes off a valuable 5lbs this afternoon.
I am expecting an improved show from Pointel in the 2m Handicap and a check of the market is advised. That said I felt Imphal (4.55) was a shade unlucky not to make a winning reappearance at Ascot and he can defy a further 3lbs rise in the weights for Marcus Tregoning.
At Haydock, I am going to give Abel Tasman (1.50) the opportunity to show his Nottingham run last time was all wrong. It is possible that he will be a better horse on an all-weather surface but I will give this maiden a chance to show he can be as equally effective on turf.
Shepherd Market (3.30) ended her juvenile campaign with a good second at Newbury in a listed contest and he can make a winning return for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby stepped up to a mile. The once-raced Feline Groovy is entitled to improve on her Newmarket debut but the Clive Cox filly can give her 3lbs in a decent race.
In the second division of the Novice fillies’ event Dance On The Day (4.05) had the form of her Wolverhampton maiden win boosted at Nottingham earlier in the week when the runner up Rasima scored in what looked a good race. The selection has to concede 7lbs to her eight rivals including a couple of interesting debutantes especially Roger Varian’s Mojik, but I feel she may be up to the task.
Dance On The Day
At Worcester, I am looking forward to the return of Fort Gabriel (6.45 each way) coming back from a long break. The seven-year-old can go well fresh in the past and is likely to try and make all over a trip (2m 4f) that is, arguably, on the sharp side. The top-weight Voix D’Eau and Diable De Sivola are nominated as big dangers in a cracking handicap chase.
I hope The Bottom Bar (7.45) can transfer the form of his soft ground win at Market Rasen last month to this evening’s faster surface for Nicky Henderson and Daryl Jacob. The latter was in the saddle for Stradivarius Davis’s Wincanton win for Paul Nicholls earlier in the month and he could be the biggest danger.
Fort Gabirel (ew)
Tje Bottom Bar