The first running of this six-furlong contest leaves no statistics to even look at but if the betting is to be believed this is all over before the stalls even open with the William Haggas trained Second Thought a pretty short priced favourite. Three wins from four starts is an impressive statistic but more importantly for a race for three-year-olds, he has proved that he has trained on from two to three while others have yet to reappear this season ad have more questions to answer. His last two races have both seen him finish in front of main market rivals Sutter County over six furlongs at Kempton and then seven furlongs here. If there is a small question mark it may be the trip as he stayed on strongly over further to score last time but Robert Winston sounded confident enough saying “Second Thought was off the bridle down the hill and was only getting on top late on. Six might be a bit sharp for him but once you get serious with him he responds well. It will be a strong run six [on Finals Day] and he’ll come out on top late on”, which could hardly be more positive, and it looks as if it will take something extra special to lower his colours here.
The fact that Sutter County is the next best in the betting may say more about the favourite’s chances than his own having finished behind the jolly not once but twice, and he may well have to settle for the same sport again this afternoon. Mark Johnston will no doubt have some tactical plan in mind as will jockey Joe Fanning but he may well be better or happier over the six furlongs here than he was over seven here last time out and they will look to keep his speed for the last possible second in the hope he can outrun the Haggas horse this afternoon. All the stable’s horses try their best which is a positive as a punter and with five winners from their last twenty-one runners for a 24% success rate he seems sure to serve it up to the favourite and run a big race.
Getting five pounds here as a filly the Godolphin owned Saeed Bin Suroor trained Dubai One has to be in with a solid chance of challenging at the business end of the race, representing a stable who can do little wrong with a 58% success rate with their runners in the last fourteen days. A daughter of Exceed And Excel, she has won her last three races on the all-weather, one at Newcastle and two at Wolverhampton, over five furlongs twice and the latest when stepped up to the six she faces here. She may well have idled in front to hold on by a neck that day but still holds fancy entries in both the English and Irish 1000 Guineas which at least suggests they still think a lot of her, and she could yet prove to be the main danger to the favourite today. Jockey Oisin Murphy added after her last win that “I was very happy with Dubai One. She was a bit outpaced early, but she came good and I think she won a little bit cosily. Hopefully she will improve for that”, which reminds everyone that this was her first run in close to four months, and she is certainly one to watch with interest for future reference regardless.
Looking at the official ratings again and Richard Hannon’s Tomily isn’t far off the best of them here and only needs to find about six pounds here to get competitive. Trained by Richard Hannon who has started this season on fire with eight winners from thirty-nine runners in the last two weeks for a 21% strike rate and better still a level stakes profit of close to twenty points which impresses. A son of Canford Cliffs who was in the same tender care, he has won already this year when beating Sutter County half a length over this course and distance at level weights which gives him solid chances with the top two in the betting considering his price and he ran well enough in third last time at Newcastle in a handicap when giving five pounds to the winner and a stone to the runner up. Granted a decent draw this afternoon he could yet be the each way call and certainly looks overpriced in the circumstances once you dig deeper in the form book.
French raider Carlton Choice seems to have been ignored by the punters so far which seems rather strange for a horse unbeaten this season after wins at Deauville over six and a half furlongs and then at Maisons-Lafitte over this six furlong trip. The son of Bushranger only won a handicaps last time and looks a little outclassed on that run but beauty is as beauty does and an unbeaten record as a three-year-old means he is at least worthy of some consideration with room to improve after just the six career starts.
Robert Cowell has had some smart sprinters in recent years including the speedy Goldream and has high hopes of Visionary who won last time out at Dundalk in Ireland to qualify to run today. After taking that seven-furlong contest by a length and three quarters jockey Pat Smullen was quoted as saying “He won like a smart horse and he quickened up well, he really stepped it up for the last two furlongs. That’s probably as far as he wants to go and I think he could be a bit better on grass. He could come back to six” which is partly encouraging and partly suggests his future may be on the turf, but he does at least arrive here at the top of his game and although the stable are short on winners (none from three runners in the last fortnight), he is another who could be challenging for a place late on though a win looks beyond him in the current line-up.
Scrapping around now there is only one more horse who seems worthy of a mention as David baron’s Wick Powell looks to add to his three career wins, the latest of which was at Newcastle over this trip in March. That was only a Class Four handicap and he has since been beaten two lengths by Unabated back at Newcastle when he was also behind Tomily and may need a few to drop out or underperform to walk away with any prize money here.