Turf Talk: Ekhtiyaar expected to ‘do the business’ at Ascot

Ekhtiyaar (right) ridden by Jim Crowley to victory in The bet365 Handicap Stakes during Ladies Day of The Moet and Chandon July Festival at Newmarket in July. PIC: Nigel French/PA Wire
Ekhtiyaar (right) ridden by Jim Crowley to victory in The bet365 Handicap Stakes during Ladies Day of The Moet and Chandon July Festival at Newmarket in July. PIC: Nigel French/PA Wire
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Ekhtiyaar has been a quietly progressive sprinter this year and is expected to do the business at Ascot.

Roger Varian’s colt has won two nice races this season and already looks capable of running at a higher grade.

For now, though, connections have decided to stick to handicaps, with the decision likely to be vindicated in Berkshire.

Ekhtiyaar will need a touch of fortune on his side as 13 other horses have been declared for this six-furlong dash. But he showed on his last outing at Newmarket in July, when he gamely defeated Tommy Taylor by a head, that he thrives under the restraints of big-field handicaps.

The son of Bated Breath has gone up 6lb for this assignment, yet that should not necessarily be too much of a hindrance as he is seemingly still on the march.

Ekhtiyaar has won when there is cut in the ground, too, so that could be of importance.

Owner Hamdan Al Maktoum can also welcome another winner later on the card when Mukalal goes for a seven-furlong handicap.

The three-year-old gelding, trained by Marcus Tregoning, has made hay on the all-weather this year but he is certainly no slouch on the turf, either.

That claim was evidenced by a really encouraging effort at Goodwood in August, when he tried to make all the running in a better race than this.

Mukalal ended up finishing fourth behind the like of Johnny Barnes and Burnt Sugar, so that form has clearly worked out a treat.

Tregoning will also be reassured by the fact this unexposed son of Mawatheeq is allowed to race off the same mark of 93.

The big race of the day, the Listed Noel Murless Stakes, represents a good opportunity for Raheen House.

Brian Meehan loves this Sea The Stars colt – and with good cause

The manner in which he stuck to his guns to lift the Bahrain Trophy at Newmarket in July gave his trainer all the incentive that was required to run him in the St Leger.

Things did not quite go to plan in the Doncaster Classic, but he remains a stayer of some substance.

Even in spite of having to carry a penalty, Raheen House ought to win.

Keep an eye out for Emilia James, who runs beneath the Chelmsford floodlights in a six-furlong nursery.

The Poet’s Voice filly won well at this track in June but then failed to get involved in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.

Little disgrace in that, of course, and Emilia James demonstrated over Chelmsford’s five furlongs, when a half-length second to Encrypted in September, that she is a sharp operator on an artificial surface.

It will be very interesting to see how she gets on back over six furlongs.

TURF TALK TIPS

ASCOT: 2.00 My Amigo, 2.35 Golden Goal, 3.10 EKHTIYAAR (NAP), 3.45 Raheen House, 4.20 Mukalal (next best), 4.55 Gavlar.

CHELMSFORD: 5.45 Merkava, 6.15 Emilia James (treble), 6.45 Barig Al Thumama, 7.15 Siege Of Boston, 7.45 Alternate Route, 8.15 Fantasy Gladiator, 8.45 Lord Kitten, 9.15 Diagnostic.

FONTWELL: 2.10 Ulysses, 2.45 Pickamix, 3.20 Sir Dylan, 3.55 Always On The Run, 4.30 Strumble Head, 5.05 Mont Choisy.

HEXHAM: 2.25 Monsieur Arkadin, 3.00 Viognier, 3.35 Beau Bay, 4.10 Ryedale Racer, 4.45 Munsaab, 5.20 Turtle Cask.

Trainer, Andre Fabre. PIC: Nick Potts/PA Wire

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