AUSTRALIAN sprint sensation SCENIC BLAST arrived at Royal Ascot last month with a big reputation and certainly didn’t disappoint. The five-year-old overcame a terrible draw to bolt up in the King’s Stand where he had two of today’s opponents Fleeting Spirit and Equiano in behind. He was held up throughout the early stages of that contest by his pilot Steven Arnold and made up the ground so easily mid-race that he found himself in front two furlongs from home.
It was no wonder that he idled in the closing stages and had to pull out all the stops to repel the late challenge of Fleeting Spirit. Our selection had been in front a long time and may just have idled in those closing stages. Scenic Blast will arguably be better suited by this trip having won over even further back home and Steven Arnold will play his cards much later this time around. Therefore, it’s pretty hard to imagine Jeremy Noseda’s filly overturning that form even over an extra furlong.
His main challenge is most likely to come from Queen Anne winner Paco Boy who can be backed at 9/2 with Boylesports. Richard Hannon’s charge will not run if the ground gets quick, but has plenty of ability and will be a major threat if the rain arrives. In fact, if the word ‘soft’ appears anywhere in the going, he’ll go very close. Yet, with some decent weather about and likely good ground, I’m pretty confident that Scenic Blast will have too many gears.
Elsewhere on Newmarket’s card, don’t miss Aidan O’Brien’s EMPEROR CLAUDIUS in the Superlative Stakes at 2.00pm. The son of Giant’s Causeway was beaten a short head at the Royal Meeting by Big Audio in the Chesham, but can gain his revenge today. He didn’t get the smoothest of runs that day and was bumped coming out of the stalls. He had a fair bit of ground to make up in the closing stages, but stuck to the task admirably and looks sure to build on that effort.
Twenty runners go to post for the Bunbury Cup at 2.35pm and it’s very difficult to get away from CAPTAIN BRILLIANCE at 4/1 with Boylesports. Trainer Jeremy Noseda and jockey Johnny Murtagh teamed up to win the Royal Hunt Cup with a similarly unexposed type in Forgotten Voice and can land this valuable prize. The selection made a really impressive return from two years on the sidelines over course and distance last time and has the look of a potential Group Class performer. The one concern would be his draw in stall one, so I suggest a saver on John Gosden’s RACER FOREVER at 14/1 with Boylesports. He has some decent form in the book and looked on the way back at Ascot last time. He is drawn well away from Captain Brilliance in stall 14 and looks the value amongst those drawn high.
York stages a cracking Group Three contest at 3.45pm this afternoon and Karl Burke’s LESSON IN HUMILITY looks sure to go close in a wide open contest. Serious Attitude, Look Busy and South African raider Diana’s Choice are all respected, but will have to go some to peg back the Golden Jubilee third.
EMPEROR CLAUDIUS (2.00pm Newmarket)
CAPTAIN BRILLIANCE (2.35pm Newmarket)
RACER FOREVER e/w (2.35pm Newmarket)
SCENIC BLAST (3.10pm Newmarket)
LESSON IN HUMILITY (3.45pm York)