Turf Talk: Banksea draws the eye in Acot’s Weatherbys Handicap

Gawdawpalin. PIC: John Walton/PA Wire
Gawdawpalin. PIC: John Walton/PA Wire
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Banksea is a worthy ally in the Weatherbys Handicap at Ascot.

The Luca Cumani-trained four-year-old was disappointing in the Royal Hunt Cup on his most recent start in June, but he has been given plenty of time to recover from those exertions.

Banksea's trainer, Luca Cumani.

Banksea's trainer, Luca Cumani.

As such, Banksea should be much fresher than many of his rivals in this one-mile handicap, while he certainly has enough to quality to go well in a race of this nature.

The son of Lawman was aggressively campaigned as a three-year-old and contested a raft of hot handicaps, including the Cambridgeshire at Newmarket last September.

Having undergone a gelding operation soon afterwards, he returned to the fray at Newbury in April and produced a superb effort to win the Spring Cup.

The form from that race looks watertight as runner-up Another Touch has since won a Listed race, while Fastnet Tempest claimed victory on his next two starts. Banksea has had only 12 career outings, so it is a perfectly acceptable claim to suggest he might still be a progressive animal at this sort of grade.

And though he must shoulder top weight, a big show at Ascot will be needed to fuel dreams of a successful second assault on the Cambridgeshire.

Gawdawpalin should not be discounted in the Victoria Racing Club Handicap. Sylvester Kirk’s four-year-old renews rivalry with Great Hall, who was a length and a quarter too sharp for the selection on Shergar Cup day. But Great Hall is now 3lb higher in the weights, whereas Gawdawpalin runs off the same mark.

That should mean Kirk’s representative has a fighting chance of reversing the form, especially as he was not helped by a wide draw in the Shergar Cup Challenge.

Gawdawpalin also won really nicely over course and distance in July on what was his first start since he was gelded. There are clearly more races to be won with him and this looks a fine opportunity.


ASCOT: 1.30 Scenery, 2.05 Odyssa, 2.40 Herculean, 3.15 Musawaat, 3.50 Uptown Funk, 4.25 Gawdawpalin (next best), 5.00 BANKSEA (NAP). 5.30 Ninjago.

HAYDOCK: 1.50 Coast Guard, 2.25 Forever In Love, 3.00 Laughton, 3.35 Magical Dreamer, 4.10 Calder Prince, 4.45 Takbeer, 5.20 Don’t Give Up.

KEMPTON: 5.50 Wannabe Friends, 6.20 Eyecatcher, 6.50 Warsaan, 7.20 Bowler Hat, 7.50 Poetic Charm, 8.20 Mountain Hunter, 8.50 Mishaal, 9.20 Linguine.

MUSSELBURGH: 4.30 Oswald, 5.05 Liquid, 5.35 High Wells, 6.05 Inglorious, 6.35 Sakhee’s Return, 7.05 Stoneham, 7.35 The Night Before.

NEWCASTLE: 1.40 Chief Justice, 2.15 Byronegetonefree, 2.50 Subhaan, 3.25 Codicil (treble), 4.00 Le Deluge, 4.35 Darvie, 5.10 Pepys, 5.40 Angel Palanas.