High Language can rise to the challenge of the British Stallion Studs EBF Beckford Stakes at Bath.
The Listed event has attracted the attention of a clutch of leading yards – and tempted Joseph O’Brien to fire two shots from Ireland.
One of them is four-year-old High Language, accompanied across the Irish Sea by stablemate Cascabell as well as Willie Mullins’ True Self.
Lightly-raced, High Language progressed in four relatively quick runs last year – including a maiden victory at Killarney.
She returned to finish a promising fifth in a Listed race at Gowran in May, and then – back from another break last month – outran her odds to fill the same position at Galway, little more than three lengths behind subsequent Longchamp winner Princess Yaiza.
That form puts her bang in the picture here.
In the Octagon Consultancy Handicap, Final Choice is top of the list on just his second start for Adam West and first back on turf since the end of his hurdling campaign with Warren Greatrex four months ago.
Final Choice was only a neck away from flooring an odds-on shot at Chelmsford last week, and is a guaranteed stayer in this two-mile-one-furlong marathon.
Maknifico’s credentials are perhaps not entirely obvious in division one of the Bath City Let Handicap, but he may be worth chancing nonetheless.
William Knight’s three-year-old gelding has achieved relatively little so far, and has twice gone off at very big odds in his three starts. But he makes his handicap debut at a very realistic level, and has the assistance of Silvestre de Sousa.
Field Gun has clear-cut prospects in division two of the 188Bet Casino Handicap at Newcastle. William Haggas’ three-year-old was a beaten favourite on his last two starts, but runner-up on both occasions.
He has acquired blinkers for his first attempt at a mile, back at the scene of his latest narrow defeat, and ought to get the job done this time.
At Nottingham, the most valuable prize of the day is reserved for the Tba #thisfillycan Fillies’ Handicap – and Roger Varian’s Elasia is a prime contender.
After back-to-back all-weather victories, she was second as odds-on favourite in a corresponding race at Newmarket two months ago, but then rallied to beat the reopposing Fire Jet at Goodwood since.
She is 2lb worse off for that neck success, but is on an upward curve.
The Bobby Renton Handicap Chase is the highlight of Wetherby’s first jumps fixture of the season, and Nigel Twiston-Davies can be relied upon to have Ballyandy ready.
The stable’s runners never lack for fitness, and their former Betfair Hurdle winner showed enough in his truncated first campaign over fences to be competitive at this level.
There are some returning stars on show too over at Punchestown, where it does not seem sensible to oppose last season’s Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth Road To Respect on his favoured good ground in the Irish Daily Star Chase.
In the preceding Buck House Novice Chase, another Grade Three contest, Winter Escape is back up in class but may be able to continue his successful reinvention since moving to Ireland from Alan King’s Barbury Castle yard.
BATH: 1.50 West End Charmer, 2.20 Final Choice, 2.55 HIGH LANGUAGE (NAP), 3.25 Raheeb, 3.55 Our Oystercatcher, 4.30 Institution, 5.05 Maknifiko, 5.35 Elation.
NEWCASTLE: 5.10 Palermo, 5.45 Hareeq, 6.15 Hermana Santa, 6.45 High Contrast, 7.15 Gainsborough Hat, 7.45 Stanley, 8.15 Field Gun (next best), 8.45 Bigshotte.
NOTTINGHAM: 1.30 The Met, 2.00 Lady Lizzy, 2.30 Shagalla, 3.05 Swiper, 3.35 Zeelander, 4.05 Elasia, 4.40 Gnaad, 5.15 Kodina.
WETHERBY: 2.10 King D’argent, 2.45 El Terremoto, 3.15 I Just Know, 3.45 Ballyandy (treble), 4.20 Dubai Angel, 4.55 Yorkist, 5.25 Aristo Du Plessis.