Washington DC looks as safe a play as anything in a puzzling renewal of the Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes at Haydock.
The Grade Two pivots around Quiet Reflection, the dual Group One winner who should be a cut above if there is dig in the ground.
There is rain forecast, but probably not enough to sufficiently please both the horse and her trainer, who is set to make a late call on the filly’s participation.
To that end, Washington DC narrowly wins the vote for Aidan O’Brien, who is hardly a regular on Merseyside.
The Zoffany colt has never won a Group race, but he made some encouraging progress last year, having finished second to Marsha in the Prix de l’Abbaye and third behind Quiet Reflection in the Commonwealth Cup.
And from what we have seen so far this season, Washington DC appears to have taken another step in the right direction.
The four-year-old won snugly on his return at Navan in April and was then pitched into battle in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, when the Abbaye form was emphatically franked.
Washington DC had the rest of the field, a good chunk of which run in the Temple Stakes, well cooked that day, but he could not live with Marsha, who looks a bit of superstar.
That is good form by anyone’s standards and tends to suggest O’Brien has found a niche for him over a brisk five furlongs.
The suspicion remains he is not quite good enough to win Group Ones, so his trainer will be keen to kick on in races like this.
Punters are advised not to give up on Brian The Snail in the Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes.
Richard Fahey adores this horse, but it all went wrong at York when he finished last of five in a Listed race.
His trainer was bemused by that performance, but there were one or two other funny results on the Knavesmire last week.
TURF TALK TIPS
CHESTER: 1.55 Mr Tyrrell, 2.30 Rosealee, 3.05 Sound Advice, 3.40 Kapstadt, 4.15 Headway, 4.50 Sunblazer, 5.20 Okool.
GOODWOOD: 2.00 Abdon, 2.35 Billesdon Brook, 3.10 Sutter County, 3.45 Second Step, 4.20 Oriental Fox, 4.55 Gold Club, 5.25 Music Lesson.
HAYDOCK: 2.20 Swashbuckle, 2.55 Private Mission, 3.30 Brian The Snail, 4.05 WASHINGTON DC (NAP), 4.35 Clem Fandango, 5.10 Face The Facts, 5.40 Mojito.
SALISBURY: 5.45 Joegogo, 6.15 Chetan, 6.45 Hollander, 7.15 Mark Hopkins, 7.45 Mirzam, 8.15 Gunmaker.
YORK: 2.10 Firmament, 2.40 Dal Harraild (next best), 3.15 Dance King, 3.50 Watchable, 4.25 Zaman, 5.00 Crimson Rosette, 5.30 Buccaneers Vault.