Monday, 15th Jun 2020
Molatham may be a real 7f specialist, so is worth a wager in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes for three-year-olds at Royal Ascot on Thursday (14:25).
Trained by Roger Varian for Hamdan Al Maktoum, this Night Of Thunder colt won two of his four starts last season. After just being held a neck by Mums Tipple over 6f here, he went one better when up in trip at York.
He kept on well for victory over Celtic Art and then followed-up at Listed level during the St Leger Festival at Doncaster. Molatham again stayed on strongly in the Flying Scotsman Stakes and proved half-a-length too good for Wichita.
The runner-up has since filled the same spot behind Kameko in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Berlin Tango – a further three-quarters of a length behind in third – has come out and won this season, so that gives the form a good look.
Soft autumn ground went against Molatham on first try over a mile in the Group 3 Autumn Stakes on his final start. There is only a neck to find with the re-opposing Ropey Guest as he ran a 7 3/4 lengths fourth to Military March.
The winner was an eye-catching fourth in the 2000 Guineas with his connections using that Classic as part of his Epsom Derby preparation. On a form line through Wichita, Molatham has strong claims.
Varian and the owner’s retained rider Jim Crowley have both had plenty of winners since racing resumed in the UK. In a Jersey Stakes renewal where you can make a case for plenty of runners, Molatham appeals most.
Aidan O’Brien sends two over from Ireland for this and stable jockey Ryan Moore prefers Monarch Of Egypt. This American Pharoah colt clashed heads with subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas hero Siskin last season.
Ballydoyle maestro O’Brien nominated two targets for Monarch Of Egypt – running in the Classic and the Jersey Stakes. Connections go to both with him and he has only had one try at this trip.
That came in the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes on soft ground last autumn. Monarch Of Egypt was fifth in that behind Pinatubo and Wichita.
This represents a major ease in grade from that level and running in the Irish 2000 Guineas. A softer surface if the forecast rain hits Ascot may not be a bad thing for Monarch Of Egypt either.
He put in a good show over 6f on that going when just three-quarters of a length behind Siskin in the Phoenix Stakes. Monarch Of Egypt is a solid each-way bet on the pick of his form.
Godolphin filly Final Song belied massive odds of 100/1 to be fourth in the 1000 Guineas last time out. Previous performances suggested Saeed bin Suroor’s charge might be better over 7f.
She ran well in the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes at this meeting 12 months ago when a 1 1/4 lengths third to Raffle Prize.
Final Song has since placed again behind the winner, and hit the frame in the UAE 1000 Guineas and Saudi Derby. The Riyadh form received a boost when the runner-up Mishriff came out and bolted up by four lengths at Newmarket.
With bookmakers paying extra places on the Jersey Stakes, Final Song is another to consider each-way in an open renewal.
Modern News represents last year’s winning connections in the Listed 7f Chesham Stakes (15:00). Trained by Charlie Appleby for Godolphin, this son of Shamardal should be suited by a step up in trip.
He is trying to follow in the hoofprints of Pinatubo – the highest rated juvenile for 25 years. The way that Modern News kept on to lead close home in a 6f Newmarket maiden suggests the extra furlong is no problem.
There is very little form to go on for Royal Ascot juvenile races this year. There are three other first time out winners in the Chesham Stakes field of nine too.
Bright Devil made all in his Newmarket maiden for trainer Andrew Balding. The grey Dark Angel colt again has the services of Oisin Murphy in the saddle.
First Prophet, meanwhile, is already a winner of the 7f trip. Charlie Fellowes’ charge maintains his partnership with James Doyle after their Newbury success.
Richard Hannon’s Concessions is one of two fillies in the Chesham Stakes and a ready winner of her Chelmsford maiden. These are all worth considering on that basis.
In the other Listed contest, the 1m 2f Wolferton Stakes for older horses (13:50), Fox Tal ran a big race in defeat over course and distance last time out.
Trained by Balding for King Power Racing, the four-year-old son of Sea The Stars has interesting back form too. Fox Tal beat subsequent St Leger second Sir Ron Priestley by a head in a Ffos Las maiden in July 2018.
He was later a fine third in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud over this trip. Fox Tal then spent 319 days on the sidelines before a winning reappearance in a conditions contest at Doncaster.
As he was then beaten just over three lengths by Magical when fourth in the Group 1 Champion Stakes here, there should be more to come. Fox Tal is very lightly-raced for his age with just six career starts.
On his last Ascot run, he was seven lengths in front of the re-opposing Regal Reality. Despite a 4lb swing in the weights, that doesn’t look enough to turn the tables.
In a very trappy renewal of the Wolferton Stakes, Fox Tal is fancied to improve again past several exposed sorts.