The Top 40 Prospects in Ahead On The Flat have been in good form in recent weeks but they endured a disappointing weekend with no return from a handful of runners. Fox Chairman ran well in second in the Group 2 Skybet York Stakes on Saturday and is capable of winning at Pattern level. Andrew Balding's four year old doesn't look the most straightforward though I wonder if some headgear may be applied at some stage in the near future. A race such as the Group 3 Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock (8th August) may be a possible target provided it doesn't come too soon.
Gold Wand also ran a very good race on the Knavesmire filling the runners-up berth in the Listed Lyric Stakes on Sunday. The Epsom Oaks came too soon in her career last time but the daughter of Golden Horn bounced back with an excellent run. Indeed, Roger Varian's filly looked like prevailing inside the final couple of furlongs but found the hot favourite Franconia three parts of a length too strong. The pair pulled over four lengths clear of the third. Compensation awaits for Gold Wand who looks at home over ten furlongs at present. The winner is highly regarded and, while she possesses her quirks, she is expected to be even better over a mile and a half in due course.
Patrick Sarsfield has been one of the success stories of the season as far as the Top 40 is concerned and Joseph O'Brien's rapidly improving four year old tackled Group 1 company for the first time in Germany on Sunday. The gelded son of Australia ran a cracker in third finishing a length and a half behind former St James's Palace Stakes winner Barney Roy. Taken wide in the homestraight, he stayed on well and certainly didn't look out of place in such company.
On a happier note, the Maidens In Waiting section continue to go from strength to strength. Tenbury Wells (15/8) won for the second time this year and is a most progressive three year old with a bright future. An expensive yearling, the son of Medaglia D'Oro had scored on the all-weather at Chelmsford last time and followed up on his handicap debut at Ascot on Sunday. Racing off an opening mark of 82, he showed signs of inexperience before leading close home in the ten furlongs event. Jockey Robert Havlin feels a strongly run mile and a quarter is ideal for now. It will be interesting to see where he goes next because the handicapper can't over react following his neck win.
The card at Ascot was rounded off with a mile handicap on the straight track and it saw Ejtilaab (50/1) attempt to near make all. Featured in the Significant Sales section, the four year old was having only his second run for Ian Williams and he ran a blinder in third. Still in front entering the final furlong, the gelded son of Slade Power was worn down late on by the Roger Charlton trained Makram. It shouldn't be long before he gets his head in front.
Finally, ValueRacingClub.co.uk crowned a magnificent few days when Sampers Seven provided the syndicate with their fourth winner of the week at York on Saturday. The Mick Appleby trained filly showed blistering speed to win the five furlongs handicap by three lengths off a mark of 76. Partnered by champion jockey Silvestre De Sousa, the daughter of Anjaal was bought privately for £17,000 in the spring when rated 67. Her form figures since joining her new connections are 2131. Another shrewd piece of business by racing manager James Couldwell.
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