It was a really disappointing day for the Top 40 Prospects with Aristocratic and Bess of Hardwick producing very laboured efforts at Newmarket and Ascot respectively. La Rioja was set a monumental task by her rider in the Group 3 Summer Stakes at York being held up last early on. Henry Candy’s filly eventually stayed on to finish third but was never going to land a blow from such an unpromising position. I strongly fancied Central Square to claim his third win of the season and felt the step up to a mile and a half would suit him at the Knavesmire. However, Paul Mulrennan’s mount could only fill fourth position. I think he is better than he showed here and may have benefited from more cover during the race. It was a poor day and definitely one to forget.
The William Haggas trained Lockheed was highlighted as a juvenile to follow in the Royal Ascot Update and the son of Exceed And Excel was unlucky not to make a winning start to his career. Contesting the opening six furlongs maiden at Ascot, he had the misfortune to bump into another son of Frankel in the shape of Seven Heavens. The pair travelled strongly throughout before quickening inside the final furlong. It was the John Gosden trained runner who prevailed by a length with a further three lengths back to the third. Lockheed would have probably won 9 out of 10 maidens – he won’t always cross swords with such a talented opponent. Needless to say, he will be hard to beat next time.
I am hardly in top form but I have backed Arthenus in the John Smith’s Cup at York tomorrow, in the hope that the forecast rain arrives. James Fanshawe’s gelding was very progressive during the second half of last season winning on three occasions. One of those wins was gained on the Knavesmire last October over nine furlongs when he beat the subsequent Royal Hunt Cup second Librisa Breeze (conceding seven pounds). Eight pounds higher, he has yet to win in three runs this term but he finished strongly in the Wolferton Stakes at the Royal meeting last month. That was the first time he had tackled ten furlongs. Drawn in stall 10, he wants good or slower ground and, granted such conditions, I am expecting him to go very close.
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