CLIVE COX has been swotting over the Ascot entries for top sprinter DILIGENT HARRY on Saturday and I’ll be backing the trainer’s judgement when it comes to choosing between five and six furlongs for his rising star sprinter.
Derby-winning pilot Adam Kirby will be watching Will Buick ride his Epsom hero Adayar at Longchamp on Sunday but Cox’s stable jockey will be back on the home beat in Berkshire with Diligent Harry ready to win whichever race he’s asked to contest.
Cox has to choose between the Listed Rous Stakes over five furlongs at 2.05 or the Group 3 Bengough Stakes over a furlong further, and Diligent Harry can prove he’s every bit as good on turf as the all-weather after chasing home Happy Romance on grass at Newbury in July.
PIERRE LAPIN was switched from Roger Varian to Ado McGuinness in the summer and the 2019 Mill Reef Stakes winner could be back winning in Britain in Ascot’s 3.50 on Saturday.
The four-year-old was down the field in the Commonwealth Cup here as a three-year-old but he looks exceptionally well handicapped on his juvenile form and the rarely out of form McGuinness looks to have found a perfect opening at his preferred seven furlongs.
Ryan Moore will be one of the busiest jockeys at Longchamp this weekend but the Coolmore number one teams up with his dad Gary at Ascot on Friday and the pair can land the 4.15 with ROYAUME UNI.
The four-year-old’s handicap mark has to involve a fair bit of guesswork after a campaign of novices’ handicap hurdles under Ryan’s brothers Josh and Jamie, but he did win an all-weather handicap at Lingfield off 79 back in February.
An 8lbs rise for that four and a half lengths success doesn’t seem overly harsh given his hurdles efforts in the meantime and his winning soft ground form in France augurs well if the forecast rains turn the Ascot terrain softer than the currently expected good.
The second horse I’m interested in at Ascot on Friday is the Michael Dods’ raider WOVEN which will be sporting cheekpieces for the first time in the last race at 4.50 with Connor Beasley in the saddle.
Woven never really got competitive in the Ayr Silver Cup won by Staxton but he ran his usual solid race and he’s back at seven furlongs tomorrow for just the second time since winning at Meydan for David Simcock in February 2020.
The handicapper’s been slow to relent but a one pound drop for Ayr and the step back up in trip with the new headgear looks an ideal time to get involved with a horse which has been running consistently well all season.
Frankie Dettori will be back from Thursday’s charity jaunt to Bellewstown to ride top-weight Sunray Major for the Gosdens, but Dods doesn’t tend to waste his journeys south and the likely each-way price about Woven is a major bonus.
Keith Dalgleish continues to churn out winners up and down the country and the Carluke yard can notch another success at Newcastle on Friday night with SOAPY’S SISTER in the 8.30.
The three-year-old returns after a month off with cheekpieces fitted for the first time and regular pilot Sam James should find himself riding a fresh filly set to add to her wins at Hamilton and Ayr this season.
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Veteran handler Wilf Storey has his older horses in good order and David Allan looks a good booking for seven-year-old PERFECT SOLDIER In the first division of Newcastle’s mile handicap at 7.30.
Last week’s 50/1 third over seven furlongs here confirmed the old boy’s current well-being and Friday’s Class 6 over a mile can be won with a similar effort.
TARNAWA has long been my confident selection for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and I’m backing another Irish trained filly to light up Longchamp in Saturday’s Prix du Cadran.
Tony Mullins’ mare Princess Zoe will love every drop of rain which falls in Paris and her Ascot Gold Cup second to Subjectivist was even better form than last year’s win in this two and a half miles Group 1.
Harriet Graham’s Aye Right could be the star-turn in Kelso’s £40,000 Simply Ned Chase on Sunday (3.40) but the bet has to be Ewan Whillans’ CRACKING DESTINY after his recent romp at Stratford.
The eight-year-old had been a lot busier before finishing fourth behind Nuts Well and Aye Right in this last year but he looks to have been primed to peak on Sunday and could be nicely handicapped.
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