In-form trainer Saeed bin Suroor holds genuinely strong claims of a securing an important Group Two success when Tha’ir runs at York tomorrow.
The Godolphin handler is in the middle of a lovely run and can add considerably to recent gains by saddling the winner of the Sky Bet York Stakes.
This mile-and-a-quarter affair is a race Bin Suroor knows well after having claimed top spot with Kirklees and Stage Gift in recent times. Interestingly, Tha’ir charts an almost identical route to Yorkshire as Kirklees by winning the same race at Sandown beforehand.
Tha’ir’s performance in the Listed Gala Stakes in Esher must have absolutely delighted Bin Suroor as it was the five-year-old entry’s first start since he ran at Meydan in February.
James Doyle was at his uncompromising best that day as he made every yard of the running to easily account for odds-on favourite Provenance by two and a half lengths.
Tha’ir has never convinced over a mile and a half, so it makes perfect sense to keep him at this trip at a track which should help exploit what is a pretty explosive turn of foot.
This is tougher than that Sandown race, of course, but the son of New Approach is highly likely to be fitter with that run in safe-keeping.
The Sky Bet Dash this season looks ripe for a mini-upset, with Shore Step perhaps fitting the bill.
Mick Channon’s inmate has again made stealthy, rather than spectacular, progress this season but might have come to hand just in time for this assignment. Shore Step was not beaten far in a good race at Newmarket in May before he got to within two and a quarter lengths of Bushcraft in a valuable six-furlong handicap at Newcastle.
Channon’s sprinter runs off a teasing mark, while Silvestre de Sousa also rides the horse for the first time, which is no bad thing.
Assuming Ascot does not turn into a quagmire, it is exceedingly tough to oppose Derby hero Golden Horn in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Heavy rain has been forecast at the Berkshire circuit, but it is unlikely to be severe enough to compromise the chances of John Gosden’s exceptional colt.
Instead, the wisest wager in what is not a classic renewal of the King George, could be the forecast with stablemate Eagle Top.
Fourth in the race last year in baking conditions, the sparingly-campaigned four-year-old should have been closer to Snow Sky in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot but paid the price for early scrimmaging with Postponed.
The Gigaset International Stakes frankly looks impossible, though Nakuti might go well if there is a bit of dig in the ground.
Sylvester Kirk has long identified this race for the four-year-old filly, who defeated a clutch of nice sorts in the Listed Pipalong Stakes at Pontefract on July 7 and is saddled with just a 3lb penalty at Ascot.
Triple Dream can show the young bucks a trick or two in the Party Continues At The Chapel Nightclub Handicap at Salisbury, while notice should be given to Niceonemyson in the Collingwood Short Term Learner Driver Insurance Handicap at Newcastle.
Pyroclastic can fire in the Littlewood Fencing Handicap, with the on-song Denzille Lane taken to carry on the good work in the Adnams Broadside Handicap at Newmarket.