WITH just a week to go until the Investec Derby Festival, this weekend’s action is understandably slightly more low-key. Although not for the winners of the eight tickets going for the £5,481,763 Scoop 6 bonus.
There is still some competitive action for us to get stuck into and the first port of call is Haydock for the Group Three Pinnacle Stakes tomorrow afternoon (2.05pm).
David Simcock won this with Moment In Time 12 months ago and the daughter of Tiger Hill bids to defend her crown. This looks a stronger renewal, though, and she will have her work cut out to beat Ralph Beckett’s CUBANITA, who will love the soft conditions.
Cubanita was an impressive winner at Newbury on her seasonal reappearance, beating the much improved Noble Mission and, although she finished 11th in the Yorkshire Cup last time, she travelled well and clearly didn’t stay.
The drop back in trip will suit and, even though she carries a 3lb penalty, I expect her to win. Sir Michael Stoute’s Astonishing is probably the biggest threat, but there has to be a doubt about her on the ground.
However, I do expect the Stoute yard to have a winner at Newmarket as RYE HOUSE looks primed to run a huge race in the 3.35pm under Ryan Moore.
The five-year-old was unlucky at York last time and soft ground holds no fears for the Dansili gelding. He has undoubtedly been a fragile horse to train, but on his day he is very good and he should prove a tough nut to crack here.
Lady Cecil’s Mighty Yar looks the main danger, but he disappointed on his seasonal debut at Nottingham on testing ground. I think this is a serious horse who is still ahead of his mark, I’m just worried about the ground. He is one to back the next time he gets a sounder surface.
There is some decent action up at York and I’m interested in what looks to be David O’Meara’s second string DUTCH ROSE in the opening seven-furlong handicap (1.50pm).
The Dutch Art mare has shown all her best form on the Knavesmire – she is three from three over course and distance – and although she is 6lbs above her last winning mark, I still think she’s progressive.
I’d expect her stable-mate Best Of Order to be ahead of her in the betting after a commanding win at Doncaster last time. But that was in a much worse race than this, and the former French-trained seven-year-old is going to have to step up.
Alan King has had a fine time of things in recent weeks on the flat and I expect his good run to continue with FIRST MOHICAN in the Listed race over 1m 6f (2.20pm). He has won at York before, will love the soft ground and ran really well behind Mount Athos at Newbury last time.
DUTCH ROSE e/w 1.50pm York (tomorrow)
CUBANITA 2.05pm Haydock (tomorrow)
FIRST MOHICAN 2.20pm York (tomorrow)
RYE HOUSE 3.35pm Newmarket (tomorrow)