Sir Michael Stoute and Luca Cumani have won two renewals of this race each in the past ten years and the last named has a runner in 2016 so our race preview will start with our assessment of his chance, good or bad. Luca Cumani sends Bermondsey (8/1 Each Way) here and he has a rock solid each way chance in our considered view as he returns to this ten furlong trip. After winning by an easy five lengths here, also over course and distance, they stepped him up to a mile and a half at Ascot in the John guest handicap where he was last of six, weakening quickly and being sensibly eased off by jockey Ryan Moore once his chance had gone. Left on his new mark of 92, he ought to be a whole lot happier back at this trip than he was over further, and if that is the case then he looks the one to be putting our money on.
Fellow Newmarket handler William Haggas drop Muffri’Ha (25/1) in class this afternoon and he is another for anyone’s short list. Admittedly he has filed to other the judge in his last six races but they have been in a Group Three and then Listed class throughout, with a length and a half fourth to Aljazzi at Haydock last time out. That is a big positive and he was staying over over the mile but he is yet to try this trip and on breeding could well struggle so it will be interesting to see how he gets on with those two aspects perhaps cancelling each other out.
Meanwhile, Mark Johnston’s Fire Fighting (10/1) looks all set to carry top weight here and he is a real battler well worth keeping on our side. Last time out at Newmarket he took a valuable mile and a half handicap by four lengths from Knights Tale which as seen him put up another five pounds to a career high of 113, but he rarely runs a bad race and will be looking for career win number twelve this afternoon under jockey Adam Kirby.
Goodwood Mirage (10/1) comes next and why not as a course and distance winner at the top of his game. Trained by Michael Bell and to be ridden by Edward Greatrex who is good value for his three pound claim, the six-year-old won here last time out off a mark three pounds lower so he effectively races off the same mark this afternoon after the jockey allowance has been removed. It was a narrow success, holding off Paling by a head and showed a willing attitude to fight off his challenger but to be fair this does look a bit tougher and he may struggle to get to the front today, let alone to stay there.
Lastly, three year olds get an allowance here and Hugo Palmer’s Baydar (7/2) looks interesting having won his last two races at Newmarket over this mile and a quarter trip. He was all out last time to win by a neck in a lesser contest than this but was running on so a fast run race today may well suit him, though his form isn’t good enough as thing stand and we would want a decent price to even consider getting involved.