Although it was the summer solstice on Monday, the ground at Ascot last week and at Newmarket this weekend will be more akin to Newbury or Cheltenham in December.
The forecast for next week looks better, but there’s been plenty of rain recently at HQ and conditions are certain to be testing on Saturday.
The highlight is the seven-furlong Group Three John Sunley Memorial Criterion Stakes (3.55pm) where David O’Meara’s So Beloved is likely to go off favourite.
He’s run well on both occasions this season having won the Spring Trophy Stakes at Haydock on his seasonal reappearance, before finishing a close up third over course and distance in the Jury Stakes.
This son of Dansili has form on all types of ground and has certainly got the ability to win a Group Three.
However, conditions look like they’re going to be perfect for David Simcock’s BRETON ROCK as he bits to notch his first win since August 2014.
He’s thrown in a couple of poor runs since then, but both efforts this season have been decent enough.
His last five wins have all come over seven furlongs with cut in the ground and he looks a fair bet at 4/1. The Simcock yard remains in fine form, too.
Investec Derby winner HARZAND is back in action on Saturday evening in the Irish Derby at the Curragh (5.30pm) and should be very hard to beat.
Trainer Dermot Weld, who celebrated the 4000th win of his career earlier this week, warned that he hasn’t had the smoothest of preparations.
However, he should still have far too much class for his rivals and looks a good bet at evens.
His biggest threat looked to have been US Army Ranger, but he misses the race after a setback, which opens the door a little for Harzand.
The likes of Idaho and Red Verdon have to improve bundles to reverse the Epsom form and that looks unlikely.
Breton Rock e/w, 3.55pm, Newmarket
Harzand, 5.20pm, Curragh