Sceptre Stakes Tips & Betting Preview

Just the two favourites in the last ten years and a 25/1 winner last year so punters beware, and just the one trainer managing to double up in Luca Cumani – who doesn’t even have an entry this season.  With Roger Varian winning it last year it seems sensible to start our race preview with the same trainer’s Spangled (12/1) who arrives here on the back of a win at Newmarket over this trip in a Class Two handicap all be it by a short head. He was seen running on strongly to get up in the shadow of the post under jockey Harry Bentley that day and clearly has more than enough stamina, and the faster they go the better for the four-year-old this afternoon but can he handle the step up in class? His four wins so far suggest not with nothing better than handicap company and worse still, not form on softer ground either, and as we write the going is expected to have plenty of give in it which may well be his undoing.

As expected, Jeremy Noseda’s Nemoralia (Evens) heads the betting and in our opinion, rightly so. With four wins three seconds and a third to her name from just the ten starts she oozes class and better still, ran her best race yet at Royal Ascot when runner up to Qemah in the Group One Coronation Stakes on ground with plenty of cut in it. Last time out she was dropped in grade to the Group Three City Of York Stakes over this seven furlongs where she saw off So Beloved by a length and a quarter on Good ground, and with a six length Listed win on Good to Firm as well it would appear that all ground comes alike to the daughter of More Than Ready which is handy to know in this inclement weather and makes her impossible to oppose.

Mark Johnston’s horses are never to be ignored as they are always at peak fitness and seem to fight a lot harder than some to get to the front if possible. The Yorkshire handler has Lumiere (7/2) entered here and she would be of interest at her best but sadly can’t be guaranteed to produce that. A top class juvenile, she won two of her three starts last year including the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket and they must have had high hopes of a classic campaign in 2016 but it wasn’t to be.  Sent straight to Newmarket without a prep run for the 1000 Guineas she pulled way too hard in front before fading to finish last behind Minding leaving even her most ardent supports scratching their heads. Kept off for over two months she returned to action back at headquarter in a Listed race over a mile where she easily saw off Cymric by six lengths and looked to be back on track. Last time out she was upped to Group One company again and failed again when ninth of ten to Qemah, beaten twenty-six lengths at the line. That form gives her no chance with Nemoralia who was only a length and three quarters behind Qemah at Ascot, but she seems a bit of a character and a big run would not come as any great surprise.

If we are looking for interesting runners then search no further than Ed Dunlop’s Same Jurisdiction (9/1) who is having his first run for his new trainer having arrived from South Africa where he was Grade One Class for owners Drakenstein Stud. This is a bit of an experiment in our view but it will be interesting to see how the son of Mambo In Seattle gets on after his second to Inara when last seen at Kenilworth in late January, though how he got through all the quarantine quite this fast could be a new record in itself though surely he will improve for over eight months off the track.

Lastly, Henry Candy insists La Rioja (12/1) is better than we have seen recently and let’s face it, the stable have been terribly out of sorts for most of the season with the odd top class exception. Her two and a half lengths fourth to Quiet Reflection is stand out form after the winner took the Sprint Cup Stakes last weekend, and although she hasn’t got anywhere near to repeating that form in two races since, she is clearly capable and could yet pull off a shock today.

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