THE feature event at Newbury is the Diomed Stakes (3.35) which has been switched from its traditional Epsom home. That move is great news for connections of TABARRAK.
The seven-year-old is unbeaten in three runs at the course and, although they were all over seven furlongs, he has won over today’s trip of a mile at Ascot so he should have no problems with the trip here.
He was second in a hot handicap at Ascot in September off a rating of 110 before going on to score in Listed company at this track. He is reliable and was better than ever last year.
The market may be made by King Of Comedy, who boasts the best form but looked to be having a laugh himself by the end of the season.
I was at Sandown when he won last May and even then he was reluctant to go to post and generally misbehaved. He did little wrong after at Royal Ascot but his form tailed off after that. I have deserted him now and, more importantly, so has Frankie Dettori, which is far more significant! He has the talent to win but has he the will?
Zaaki, who won this last season when it was run at the Derby meeting, is consistent enough and may be the biggest danger, although his 3lb penalty may anchor him close home.
Last week’s easy Newmarket winner Marie’s Diamond may have been flattered as his front-running style was perfect for the way the Rowley Mile was riding. If not he has claims although he too has the extra 3lb.
Hopefully the comedy theme will be to the fore in the 1.50 when IT’S GOOD TO LAUGH can put a smile on the faces of punters.
He gave Kameko, no less, a scare on debut at Sandown in July and stayed on well when second in his first handicap over nine furlongs at Newmarket in the autumn. This 1m2f will suit and he has the scope to improve well past his current mark of 87.
Anything Mark Johnston and Sir Mark Prescott run in these type of events must be respected but Tell Me All and Gold Souk may not have the potential of It’s Good To Laugh. Moresco is useful but has plenty of weight.
I spy an eyecatcher…
JONAH JONES was possibly an unlucky loser in the 5f handicap at Haydock on Tuesday.
He was denied a run on a couple of occasions and was only beaten around a length and a half behind Celsius.
He did well as a two-year-old and started last year rated 94 but showed little in three races. Now four and switched to Ed Walker’s yard he looks well treated on a mark of 88.
This was his first effort at the minimum trip and he looks the sort to land a couple of handicaps this term over six or even seven furlongs.
ASCENSION can rise to the occasion and land the Sutton Handicap at Sandown (2.05). After cosily winning two novice events last term he was made favourite for his handicap debut at Newmarket but was slowly away and last early on.
He was denied a clear run when trying to make ground but still managed to finish fourth of 12, which was not a bad effort. He has a 4lb pull with the winner Tomfre and, after just four career starts, has more to give. The handicapper has left him on a mark of 87, one he should be able to leave behind this year.
Off bottom weight here and with Silvestre de Sousa, who rides the Esher course so well, doing the steering everything looks in place for a bold show.
Well Of Wisdom has a tough mark of 103, awarded for form in France, Germany and at Meydan, to defy. He will do well to give Ascension 16lb.
Impressor’s rating was achieved in the Horris Hill Stakes last autumn, a race run on very heavy ground. He may have been flattered but, if not, has the beating of Tomfre and Surf Dancer. The latter may be the biggest danger as he was showing progressive form prior to his flop in the Newmarket mud.
LAZULI can hurry home in the Scurry (2.40). He was drawn on the wide outside at Newmarket last week when he ran a blinder to be second in a quality 6f handicap when racing off a mark of 100.
He shaped there as if a drop to the minimum would suit and this stiff five should be ideal.
Sunday Sovereign is best in on official ratings but he has not been seen since Royal Ascot 2019 and his mark may have been inflated after a couple of wide-margin wins in Ireland. He may be best watched.
Al Raya is a greater concern. She is unpenalised for a Group 3 success in France and has solid claims on the book. The only slight negative is she ran one of her poorer races last year over this course and distance.