Ascot, Friday 4th September
Dark Shift, this grey colt by Dark Angel made a spectacular winning first appearance. Looking fine beforehand this compact colt travelled strongly and moved to the outside with well over 2 furlongs to go. The change of pace he showed left his opponents in his wake which saw him pull away to an impressive 4 length victory. It looks like Charlie Hills has another smart prospect on his hands.
The once raced Twilight Calls didn’t do much for me paddock side and even though he did nothing wrong in the race he could not live with the winner’s turn of foot and his yard has been struggling for winners of late.
The pick of the field was Pure Dreamer, but for the second time in a row this colt was sleepy out of the stalls. The way he performed it looked as if he would appreciate an extra furlong.
Marks Bear made a satisfactory first appearance. This stocky son of Kodi Bear travelled well behind the leaders and just needed a moment to understand what was required, but in the end he was overhauled for third. He should be able to break his maiden at a lower level.
Muay Thai, this breeze up horse looked well for his debut run. He jumped well, but found himself shuffled back to last position. As he started to make his run he had to be switched to his right which saw him finish with some purpose. On this evidence hopefully he will be breaking his maiden very soon.
The leggy Prince Of Abington was quickly in to stride and was bang on the pace. He took a slight lead with a furlong to go and he held on all the way to the line.
Ballyconneely Bay, this compact colt by Fast Company looked very fit and he raced on the slight outside, but he was unable to kill off his opposition and in the end was outpaced all the way to the line.
The sizeable George Scott stood out in this field, but the way he raced you could still see he was inexperienced. I am sure he can win a race in due course once he puts all the components together.
Lockdown who has started favourite or joint favourite for his last four runs has let his supporters down and I think life is going to be very tough for him to get off the mark.
This race attracted a deep field of potential stayers. The pick on looks was La Barrosa. This sizeable colt by Lope De Vega possessed plenty of scope, but I thought the run would just put an edge on him. He overcame that slight negative to show his class to win impressively. This long striding colt travelled supremely well and once the gap appeared he shot through to win going away. I hope he can make a big impression next year because this restricted race has not come up to scratch just yet.
Enable’s half-brother Derab looked fit and well, but one thing that was noticeable is that he is not the biggest. Travelling well out the back he was a little short of room with 2 furlongs to go, but as he followed the winner through he quickened and was no match for the winner.
Greatgadian who is on the leg looked fit and floated to post. He was slowly in to stride and it just took him a while to get organized. He moved up with menace, but was soon outpaced. Overall I thought this was a sound debut.
Escabedo has taken a step forward since his debut 27 days ago, but he was unable to live with three debutants who finished in front of him.
This Class 2 event saw a good field assembled and I was taken by the winner Laafy who carried 10 stone to victory. This Sir Michael Stoute inmate travelled comfortably at the back and he made giant strides off the final bend to win with a touch to spare. He has made rapid progress this year and his only real blip was over 1m, 6f at Goodwood.
On To Victory looked grand and ran a solid race on only his second start of the season.
The favourite Labeebb looked the bees knees paddock aside and I thought when he hit the front he was going to prevail, but he was unable to hold off his two older rivals. In the end this was another step in the right direction.
Natty Night looked full of himself in the paddock and soon led the field at a brisk pace. He was a spent force once he came around the final bend.
The disappointing horse in the race was Look Closely who came here on the back of two victories over C&D, but for one reason or another he never got competitive and fell away dramatically in the closing stages.
Chris Wall looks to have a decent handicapper on his hands in the shape of Double Or Bubble. This bay filly by Exceed And Excel was only having the third run of her life, but she took this handicap in decent style. She will not be hit too hard by the handicapper and I am sure she can win again.
The massive Sunset Breeze looked in terrific shape and as hard as he tried he could never shake off the winner. He has had three wins to his name this season and the way he performed here it would not surprise me if he entered the winner’s enclosure again.
Mottrib who is medium sized looked fighting fit and I like the way he responded to pressure and kept on going right to the line. He was no match for the front two, but I thought this was a decent performance.
Kempton, Saturday 5th September
Cloudbridge, this well grown son of Hard Spun stood out paddock side and he was sporting a first time hood. This long striding colt was bang on the pace and sat in second place. As his jockey asked him to go after the leader I thought he slightly shirked the issue and the way he ran off a straight line definitely cost him victory.
The well-made Mighty Gurkha is holding his condition well after a fairly busy campaign. He assumed his customary front running role and had most of the opposition beaten off with a furlong to go. This was a cracking effort from the front, but I wonder if he will be able to get a soft lead again as he did on this occasion.
Andrew Balding’s Mystery Smiles looked in good order, but he got caught flat footed when the pace increased. He was unable to get on terms when the pace quickened.
Nomadic Empire, this not overly big juvenile ran with respect in fourth.
This race was all about Enable who was seeking her second victory in three years. Looking more refined I thought this mare looked to be coming to the boil. She strode around as if she owned the place and on the track this multiple Group 1 winner had a simple task. John Gosdon’s star mare now heads off to Paris.
Kirstenbosch, this 33-1 shot looked in decent shape and ran a respectable race in second.
Prince Of Arran who looked fine ran well and hopefully this will put an edge on him as he heads down under for the Melbourne Cup.
Bullfinch is starting to build up a decent CV and this was his third victory in a row. This medium sized colt by Zodiac turned up here looking full of himself and once he was bounced out in front he was not for catching. Hopefully he will not be hit too hard by the handicapper and this lightly raced type is open to improvement.
Intrepidly ran well to fill the runner up spot. He has a good record on the A/W surfaces and I see no reason why another victory cannot come his way.
Solid Stone looked fine beforehand and was tracking the winner throughout most of the race, but he just lacked a change of gear when it was needed. Given his profile he should be able to win another race.
Dawaam, I thought this fella looked in rude health, but he ruined his chances by being a little too keen at the start. To his credit he ran on in the closing stages. I just wonder if he is worth a try over 10 furlongs.
The horse that caught my eye in running was Misty Grey. Having his first start for 279 days it looked as if he took a blow in the straight and even though he was short of room I thought he finished strongly in the last half a furlong.
Star performance of the week
I like the way Tempus took this mile handicap on Friday. Looking tighter in condition this well bred colt disposed of his rivals in emphatic style and should be on the short list for the Cambridgeshire later this month.
Horse to note
Mutaraafeq, I thought this colt was one of the nicer types in the 7 furlong maiden won by La Barrosa. He travelled up strongly, but looked as if his fitness gave out with a furlong to go. Jim Crowley allowed his mount to come home in his own time. He should take a massive step forward from this.