Tuesday, 16th Jun 2020
Acquitted bumped into a top notch prospect when runner-up on seasonal reappearance, so off what looks a lenient mark can go one better and land the spoils in the 1m 2f Golden Gates Handicap that gets day three of Royal Ascot underway on Thursday (13:15).
This Hugo Palmer trained son Night Of Thunder won two of his three starts as a juvenile, showing a good attitude in the last of those at Newbury when beating Waleydd by a head.
The runner-up has won since, whilst the third home Mishriff has gone on to bag a brace of successes and is now rated 109 after impressively landing a Listed contest last time out.
That gives the form a strong look. There was lots to like about Acquitted’s return to action at Newcastle 12 days ago when chasing home Palace Pier.
After going right at the start, he quickly recovered the lost ground to chase the leaders before being produced to take up the running two from home.
Acquitted then held every chance at the furlong marker before being headed and outpaced by the winner and beaten just over three lengths.
Palace Pier is now unbeaten in three starts and a hugely exciting John Gosden inmate who is now rated 109 and as short as 10/1 in the betting for the Epsom Derby, so the assessor appears to have been kind in raising Acquitted just 4lb.
A revised mark of 93 could seriously underestimate his ability. The booking of Ryan Moore catches the eye, as he has a 40 per cent strike rate when teaming up with the yard in the past 12 months.
So, taking everything into account, Acquitted looks the one to be on at 5/1 with 888sport
Given that he has beaten Acquitted, the Alan King trained Tritonic looks the each-way value in the race at 12/1 with William Hill who are paying five places.
That win came at Newbury where the son of See The Moon, who had previously scored at Ffos Las, ran on strongly to beat Man Of The Night by 1 1/2 lengths under Oisin Murphy.
The runner-up is now rated 83, whilst the third home Cape Palace had previously bolted up by eight lengths at Newcastle when beating a rival now rated 102.
Acquitted finished four lengths behind Tritonic in fourth, staying on at the one pace, and is now just 2lb better off at the weights.
So, taking that form at face value, there is no reason why Tritonic should not come out on top once again – despite the fact that he was subsequently well-beaten on his final start of the campaign when fifth in a Group 3 at Newmarket.
On his aforementioned Newbury success, Tritonic should be more than capable of winning races off his current mark of 95.
With the in-form Murphy once again in the saddle, he looks to have more going for him than his odds would suggest.
In the 1m Britannia Stakes (16:10), Finest Sound looks to hold outstanding claims under a penalty following a runaway success on seasonal reappearance.
This Simon Crisford trained colt shaped with bags of promise on debut when a 3 3/4 lengths third of 12 to the now 109 rated Palace Pier in what has turn out to be a hot maiden,
The runner-up Mascat scored next time up, as did the fourth home Into Faith. Lord Campari, meanwhile, who came sixth, looked a pattern performer in the making when destroying the opposition at Newbury recently.
Finest Sound went on to be placed in two subsequent outings at Sandown and Newmarket, leaving the distinct impression that he would come into his own as a three-year-old once strengthened up.
That view was confirmed in no uncertain manner at Haydock 10 days ago where he bolted up on handicap debut by 5 1/2 lengths over Silver Samurai,
Finest Sound travelled strongy throughout and, after making headway to take up the running a furlong out, showed a smart turn of foot to quickly put the race to bed and win as he liked.
He toyed with the opposition and made a total mockery of his opening handicap mark of 82. Under a 5lb penalty, he looks a potential handicap blot in the Britannia Stakes.
Crisford also has his team in decent nick, so Finest Sound appeals at the type to go on progressing and win plenty more races.
With Andrea Atzeni in the saddle, he looks well worth a wager at a standout 7/1 with 888sport.
Of those at bigger odds, the Godolphin owned Dubai Mirage makes plenty of each-way appeal at the 16/1 on offer with Paddy Power who are paying five places.
This beautifully bred son of Dubawi hails from the Newmarket yard of Saeed Bin Suroor and ran a blinder on debut last August when falling by just a short-head to overhaul Native Tribe at Sandown.
Dubai Mirage backed that up with a solid staying on 2 1/2 lengths third of 14 to Molatham at York in a race which has worked out well.
The winner went on to land a Listed contest before finishing fourth in a Group 3 at Newmarket by subsequent 2000 Guineas fourth Military March and is now rated 102.
Celtic Art, who came second, also won next time up before finishing a decent second in a Listed affair at Deauville.
Dubai Mirage has since overcome an absence of 294 days to open his account in fine style at Kempton six days ago, when taking up the running pulling double two from home before scooting clear to slam Swinley Forest by 4 1/2 lengths.
It was a most impressive success and one which has seen the assessor allot him an opening handicap mark of 91.
That could well be on the lenient side, especially on his aforementioned run at York, and another plus is that rising star Ciren Fallon takes off a handy 3lb with his claim.
Taking it into account, Dubai Mirage looks weighted to make a bold bid to follow-up.
Trainer John Gosden is in red-hot form at present and African Dream is a strong fancy ro provide him with another winner in the 1m Sandringham Stakes for three-year-old fillies (16:40).
This daughter of Oasis Dream was a big eye-catcher on debut at Chelmsford back in December when dwelling at the start before doing good late work to be nearest at the finish when a 2 1/4 lengths third of nine to Arriviste.
African Dream then showed the before of that experience to open her account at Lingfield in March when only having to be ridden out to comfortably beat Rhyme Scheme by a neck.
It was a taking display and she comes into this having run a stormer at Newbury seven days ago when a nose second of 11 to Stylistique.
African Dream powered home and would have won in another stride and the winner is a smart Roger Varian inmate who finished runner-up in a Group 2 as a juvenile.
Stylistique was rated 106 going into the race – a massive 26lb higher than African Dream – so it was a huge effort by the selection.
The pair also pulled four lengths clear of the third home, so that gives the form a solid look. African Dream is clearly going the right way.
So, off an opening handicap mark of just 80, she looks potentially thrown-in at the weights judged on that effort. It makes cramped odds of 5/2 with Coral in this 18-runner line-up look fully justified.
If African Dream fails to live up to expectations, then the Sir Michael Stoute trained Soffika looks the obvious one to take advantage.
This daughter of Zoffany, who carries the colours of Evelyn De Rothschild made famous by Crystal Ocean, looked a smart prospect when running on strongly to readily account for Heavens Open by just over two lengths on debut at Pontefract.
That taking success saw connections pitch Soffika straight into Group 3 company and she ran a cracker in finishing second of eight to West End Girl in the 7f Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket.
After being held-up, she got outpaced at halfway before rallying strongly two from home to go down by just over a length.
The winner is now rated 99, whilst the third home Dark Lady Went on to land a Group 3 before being far from disgraced when seventh to Millisle in a Group 1 at Newmarket off an official rating of 104.
That gives the form a solid look in relation to the Sandringham Stakes. It also suggests an dopening handicap mark of 97 for Soffika is more than fair.
Stoute has also made a good start to the season and is operating at a strike rate of 20 per cent at the time of writing in the last 14 days, so she is unlikely to be found wanting through lack of fitness.
Soffika also has the assistance of Ryan Moore in the saddle, so everything looks in place for a big run.
It will be disappointing if she doesn’t hit the frame at least. Soffika is thus a solid each-way selection at 7/1 with BetVictor who are paying five places.