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News yesterday that last year’s champion sprinter Harry Angel had lost his race against time and will not defend his crown in the July Cup at Newmarket on Saturday. Blue Point is 3/1 favourite to follow up his King’s Stand Stakes success for Charlie Appleby. Note Clive Cox is optimistic of getting Harry Angel back on track for the Haydock Park sprint in September.
Fast ground remains the order of the day on turf and in the opening 6f Nursery (2-y-old handicap) at Pontefract I feel Octave (2.00) might be good enough to give away the weight for Mark Johnston. The filly was considered good enough to take her chance in the Albany at Royal Ascot last month, having run subsequent Coventry Stakes winner Calyx to five lengths – when giving that colt 1lb – on her penultimate start. This small field and still 6f should suit.
The feature race is the listed Pipalong Stakes and Shenanigans (3.00) has been knocking on the door so far this season and deserves to get her head in front. The selection just lost out to subsequent German 1000 Guineas winner Nyalati at Goodwood in listed company back in May and ran another good race when third in Group 3 company at Epsom last time.
It is hard to oppose Highly Sprung (3.30) in the 6f sprint handicap such was the manner of his fluent success over C&D last week. There is no question that Les Eyre’s charge will be raised by more than the 6lbs penalty he is faced with today when the handicapper has had his say and Silvestre De Sousa keeps the ride.
Herculean steps up in trip to 10f having been done for a turn of foot when second on his seasonal reappearance at Newmarket back in May when a well backed favourite. This step up to 10f is not sure to suit on breeding, however and preference – in receipt of 7lbs – is for the twice-raced maiden Recordman (4.00) who should appreciate dropping back in trip having looked a non-stayer over 12f at Salisbury last month.
Quoteline Direct (5.00) is another recent C&D winner who will be hard to beat if in the same mood as when easily winning a Lady Amateur riders event last week. The gelding is 6lbs higher this afternoon but is well drawn and should have the race run to suit given Firlinfeu should ensure there is a true gallop.
Highly Sprung 7/4
Quoteline Direct 11/4
I was disappointed with Theatre Of War (2.15) at Carlisle last time but the step up to 7f at Wolverhampton this afternoon should suit and he gets a narrow vote in the Novice Auction Stakes. The selection finished three-quarters of a length behind Simon’s Mile at Carlisle last time but I just feel Theatre Of War might appreciate the additional furlong more than Karl Burke’s charge.
The form of Move Swiftly’s (4.45) third when a beaten favourite over today’s C&D last month has been franked by the subsequent wins of both the winner and second and she is taken to get back to winning ways despite giving 4lbs to her 10 rivals for her debut success at Chelmsford.
Theatre Of War 9/2
Move Swiftly’s 10/11
At Uttoxeter this evening expect to see Richard Patrick make plenty of use of Eric The Third (6.00) who finished runner up over C&D last week on the back of a facile chase success at Newton Abbot last month.
Atlantic Storm (6.30) can pick up the pieces in the 2m Handicap Chase at Uttoxeter under Harry Skelton given there a number of front-runners in the line-up and this 6-y-old looked as if he could make up into a better chaser than hurdler when scoring at Southwell on his second start over fences last time.
Eric The Third 3/1
Atlantic Storm 11/10