Monday, 15th Jun 2020
Fujaira Prince looks potentially ahead of his mark and very much the one to beat in the 1m 6f Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot on Wednesday (16:40).
This Roger Varian trained six-year-old is a very lightly raced and progressive sort who has a 50 per cent strike rate after winning three of his six starts and hitting the frame on the other occasions.
After shaping with plenty of promise when runner-up on debut at Windsor back in July 2017, the Sheikh Mohammed Obaid owned gelding overcame a lengthy absence to register a runaway six-length success at Wetherby.
Fujaira Prince went on to follow-up in facile fashion at Carlisle when quickening clear to score easily by six lengths.
He then made a total mockery of his opening handicap mark of 88 when landing a competitive 14-runner class 3 contest at Doncaster on return to action in April last year by three lengths.
It was a performance which suggested he needed keeping firmly onside.
That view was confirmed last time out when Fujaira Prince finished a cracking neck second of 15 to First Eleven, who had Group race placed form to his name, in the Jorvik Handicap at York.
He then ran a blinder when last seen in action at this meeting 12 months ago when running on strongly to finish a 1 1/2 lengths third of 19 to Baghdad in the 1m 4f Duke Of Edinburgh Stakes off a mark of 99.
Fujaira Prince is able to race in the Copper Horse Handicap off an unchanged mark. That makes him look weighted to run a huge race.
He looks to have the perfect profile for this and thus makes plenty of appeal at a standout 5/1 with Ladbrokes.
Hereby would be a big player if getting a run, but is currently third reserve.
Therefore, as Almania is closely matched with Ralph Beckett’s charge, he looks the each-way angle in the race at 12/1 with Betfair who are paying five places.
This son of Derby winner Australia had just two starts as a juvenile when in the care of Sir Michael Stoute, finishing a promising fourth at this venue before showing a game attitude to beat Buffalo River by half-a-length in a 10-runner maiden at Sandown.
Almania then found things too hot on seasonal reappearance last year when finishing an 11 1/4 lengths last of eight to Telecaster in the Group 2 Dante Stakes over 1m 2f at York.
Connections then decided to drop him back into handicap company. He posted a much improved effort when a keeping on three-length fifth of 16 to South Pacific in the 1m 4f King George V Stakes at this meeting off a mark of 95.
Almania also ran well when finishing a 3 1/2 lengths fifth of 11 to Forest Of Dean over 1m 2f at Glorious Goodwood and a three-length third to Hereby in a Listed contest over course and distance when last seen in action back in October.
He was attempting to give the progressive now 96-rated winner 5lb that day, so that makes his current mark of 97 look exploitable.
Almania also now has his first start since joining David Simcock having been gelded. If that can get him to keep his mind on the job, then he looks capable of making his presence felt in the Copper Horse Handicap.
Having run a blinder when runner-up on seasonal reappearance, Bodyline looks worth a bet to go one better and land the spoils in the King George V Stakes earlier on the card (14:25).
This three-year-old is trained by handicap master Sir Mark Prescott and came good at the second time of asking as a juvenile when scoring by half-a-length at Epsom.
Bodyline backed that up with a solid second at Chepstow and there was lots to like about his run on handicap debut over 1m 2f at Yarmouth 14 days ago when finding only Celestran too good.
The son of Australia was seemingly unfancied and sent off 16/1, but shaped with bags of promise to be beaten 1 1/2 lengths off a mark of 82.
After racing towards the rear, Bodyline made good headway a furlong from home and stayed on strongly to be nearest at the finish.
The way in which he powered home suggested that he was crying out for a step up in trip, so the extra two furlongs of this looks sure to suit.
Celestran, whom he met on level weights, is also a well-regarded John Gosden inmate who has since finished a fair third in a Lusted contest at Goodwood off an official rating of 88. That suggests that a 3lb rise in the weights for Bodyline is more than fair.
Prescott does particularly well with his staying handicappers who constantly keep finding improvement as the season progresses. Hence, at 9/1 with Betvictor, Bodyline makes plenty of appeal at the odds on offer.
In a race where a case can be made for plenty, the lightly-raced and unexposed Hukum looks well worth considering each-way at 14/1 with BetVictor who are paying five places.
This Owen Burrows trained son of Sea The Stars carries the well-known blue and white colours of Hamdan Al Maktoun.
Hukum shaped with plenty of promise on debut as a juvenile when staying on in eye-catching fashion under a hands and heels ride to finish a six length third to the now 94-rated Cherokee Trail.
He then duly showed the benefit of that experience when opening his account in good style over a mile at Kempton back in November.
Hukum lost ground when hampered four from home but then stayed on strongly to get up and beat Laser Show by a length.
He was eased down near the line, so value for more than the winning margin, and the runner-up has won since to be rated 97.
That suggests an opening mark of 90 for Hukum may well underestimate his ability. He is certainly bred to be better than it and has bags of untapped potential.
The yard has also saddled a winner and two seconds from its last four runners at the time of writing, so Hukum is unlikely to be found wanting through lack of fitness, and the step up in trip also promises to unlock further improvement.