Thursday 3 June 2021 3:48 pm

All Smiles on the Downs for De Sousa and Balding

Bill Esdaile is City A.M. racing editor and managing director of Square in the Air.

ANDREW Balding has a very good record at Epsom and his MYSTERY SMILES is fancied to land the Listed Play Coral ‘Racing-Super-Series’ For Free Surrey Stakes (5.10pm), the race that follows the Cazoo Oaks.

The son of Mehmas won his first two starts as a juvenile last season before being placed in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes and the Group Three Sirenia Stakes.

Connections wanted to test whether he would stay the mile and he ran well to finish third in the Craven Stakes on his reappearance. 

That led to a crack at the 2000 Guineas, which didn’t pan out, but he now drops back to calmer waters over seven furlongs, possibly his ideal trip.

Balding is applying a first-time visor and I can see Silvestre de Sousa trying to get to the front early on and running the finish out of his rivals. He rides Epsom particularly well.

The big danger looks to be Archie Watson’s Mehmento, another son of Mehmas, who ran Chindit to a neck in the Greenham Stakes before disappointing on soft ground in the French 2000 Guineas.

He is another who will appreciate stepping back in both class and trip, and I don’t think there will be much between him and Mystery Smiles at the line. 

The fact Mystery Smiles is a 4/1 shot and Mehmento 6/4 swings the balance in the favour of the King Power horse.

It’s certainly not a two-horse race, though, with Meu Amor, Legal Attack and Royal Scimitar all respected. 

Of those three, Meu Amor could be the biggest threat for the in-form Ralph Beckett team as he will enjoy the drying ground.


Mystery Smiles                  5.10pm Epsom