There were a couple of runners in the Top 40 Prospects on Saturday and the pair ran crackers - unfortunately, they finished a close second. Mighty Ulysses was a warm order for the valuable Silver Bowl at Haydock having won a novice stakes at Newmarket impressively eight days earlier. Racing off a mark of 101 on his handicap debut, he cruised to the front under Benoit De La Sayette approaching the two marker and looked set to follow up. However, he was reeled in close home by the unbeaten Whoputfiftyinyou and denied by half a length with the pair five and a half lengths clear of the third. Clive Cox's winner did well to reel in the Gosden runner considering he stumbled on the hometurn when in last position but one can't help thinking Mighty Ulysses hit the front too soon under his big weight. It is also worth noting he was conceding eight pounds to the improving winner. Perhaps the pair will have a rematch in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot next month.
To add insult to injury, Twilight Calls was beaten a head in the Group 2 Temple Stakes later on the card. Ironically, it was King's Lynn who toppled Henry Candy's runner - the winner featured in last year's Top 40 Prospects. Despite his narrow defeat, the runner-up produced a career best and proved he is not out of place in such company. Ridden by Adam Kirby for the first time, he travelled powerfully in behind the winner and Winter Power. Crucially, he had to wait for a gap before running on strongly. The winning post came too soon but it was still a very good effort, especially on ground which isn't ideal. As stated before, the faster the ground the better. In all likelihood, he will be steered towards the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot but I would be tempted to gear his season towards the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York - I think the Knavesmire on quick ground will bring out the best in him.
It was frustrating to see the pair finish second but they remain two very useful horses. Elsewhere, it has been a tough few weeks for Roger Varian but form is temporary and class is permanent. Carlburg Stables were back amongst the winners on Saturday with a Pattern race double - Third Realm was a six lengths winner of the Listed Tapster Stakes at Goodwood at 3.25 and five minutes later Believe In Love captured the Group 3 Bronte Cup Fillies' Stakes at York. Hopefully normal service will be resumed for the yard over the coming weeks.
There were also a couple of decent results at the Curragh with Blackbeard (5/2) making it three from three in the Group Marble Hill Stakes. Featured in the Ballydoyle's Juveniles section in AOTF, the son of No Nay Never relished the step up to six furlongs pulling away for a three and a half lengths victory and, in doing so, booked his place in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot next month. Later in the afternoon, Mashhoor (7/1) ran out an emphatic four lengths winner of the ten furlongs handicap. Highlighted in the Significant Sales section, the former Sir Michael Stoute trained four year old had shaped nicely on his first run for Johnny Murtagh at Cork last month. Bought for 40,000gns in October, the gelded son of Kingman built on that performance here as he strolled clear inside the final furlong to beat stablemate Safecracker securing the premier handicap in decisive fashion off a mark of 87. On this evidence, he looks a bargain.
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