RACING TRADER BILL ESDAILE’S Challenge Cup 1-2-3-4
1 STRAIGHT RIGHT
PLENTY of familiar faces feature among the 18 runners for tomorrow’s ultra-competitive Challenge Cup Handicap (3.35pm) at Ascot.
Johnny Barnes, Flaming Spear, Birchwood and Withernsea have all featured as tips in this and are four who certainly wouldn’t mind any more rain.
However, it’s another horse I’ve followed on both his last two starts that gets my headline selection and that’s the King Power Racing owned STRAIGHT RIGHT.
While some football clubs are left to rest during the international break, the Leicester City owners have been busy.
Foxes owner and chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha splashed out 2.5million guineas on a Frankel yearling at this week’s Tattersalls Sales in Newmarket.
And he wasn’t the only one, with 13 lots hitting the million guineas mark so far and one claiming top spot with 2.6m guineas on the opening day.
With £112,050 on offer for the winner of tomorrow’s feature, Vichai will be hoping to recoup a small percentage of his Tattersalls purchase with Straight Right. And I think he has a good chance of doing so too.
He ran a cracker to be seventh in the Group One Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot when trained in France, before moving to Andrew Balding’s yard.
He was disappointing on his first start for the stable at Newbury in July, finishing a well-beaten fifth of eight on unsuitably soft ground, but he looked much better when finishing third in a valuable handicap at Goodwood last time out.
Having taken a little bit of time to hit top gear in the home straight, he made some eye-catching headway late on and you get the feeling he’s a winner waiting to happen.
Although he handles a bit of cut in the ground, he wouldn’t want it too soft so fingers crossed the rain stays away.
Balding’s horses are in great form and the 12/1 available with Coral looks really good value.
If there’s a horse that could outclass them it’s MOJITO.
The handicapper can’t seem to get a grip on this highly progressive three-year-old and he could defy another rise in the weights here.
He’s up a whopping 21lbs since the start of the season but still looked to be saving a bit for himself when winning at York last time out.
With wins over seven furlongs and a mile, this stiff seven looks right up his street and this might be the last time we see him in a handicap before stepping up to Group company.
Tom Dascombe is in good form and he’s represented in this by ARCANADA.
You can write off his disappointing run in Turkey last time out.
That would have been a very different task compared to anything else he’s encountered and he looks better judged on UK form.
He heads to Ascot fresher than most, with just the one run under his belt in Britain this season, which came at York in July.
That handicap at York was no simple task, where he had to beat off a host of rivals to finish a solid second.
He had some very strong form last season, notching three wins and finishing fourth in the Britannia Stakes on soft ground over a mile.
Arcanada’s stamina should come to the fore here, with a fast-run race over this stiff seven furlongs looking the ideal trip.
There is plenty to like about this runner, and not just his price of 20/1 with Ladbrokes, but five-pound claimer Paddy Pilley gets on well with the horse and takes some valuable weight out of the saddle too.
The Karle Burke-trained MJJACK is an ultra-consistent sort who has finished second over tomorrow’s course and distance on his last two runs.
His penultimate start was in the International Stakes, where he put in a fine performance to beat off 25 runners, seven of which have since gone on to win.
That’s some of the best for on offer, added to which he has won on ground ranging from good to heavy, while Burke’s yard has been firing in the winners of late.
He’s been put up 2lbs for his second behind Remarkable over course and distance last time out, but Clifford Lee takes off that and a pound more and he should run a big race at 14/1 with Ladbrokes.