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Racing Preview of this weekend’s races with Farringdon: July 2-3

Including races at Sandown, Haydock, Leicester and Beverley

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IT’S the afternoon for the first match-up between the classic generation and the older horses with the brilliant mid-summer Group One, the Eclipse Stakes (first run in 1886) which has produced both some amazing races and top-class winners, but has also been blighted by small fields, especially in the past 20 years.

Although we undoubtedly have a high-class field today, there could be a distinct lack of pace, with possibly, and only possibly, the strong staying Alenquer a likely speed angle. That is the reason that I am hugely surprised that several connections hadn’t bothered to supplement a pacemaker after they knew that Aidan O’Brien would be bypassing the race completely with his original three entries.

Bay Bridge was impressive when winning the Brigadier Gerard Stakes over the course and distance, but he chased a very solid pace that day, and then Ryan Moore made the most of his guaranteed stamina by hitting the front a furlong and a half out before drawing clear. The son of New Bay didn’t have the benefit of such a strong pace at Ascot to chase when simply outpaced by a Cox Plate winner who dominated out in front at his own speed.

So who does the likely set-up suit most of all? Well, the logical answer is the horse with the best turn of foot, and I think we can confidently say that is the French Derby winner VADENI who showed a top-class turn of foot to land the French Derby at Chantilly by fully five lengths. Of course we also have to build into the equation the fact that this will be his first run out of his native country and that Sandown Park, apart from also being right-handed, has a totally different topography to the palace track across the English Channel.

Furthermore, this will be just the seventh career start for the son of Churchill and there should be plenty more improvement left in the locker. Of the remaining rivals, Native Trail could possibly be the savour of Bay Bridge if he rows for home some way out as he is a lengthener and not a quickener, but connections will surely be wary of this as he is not guaranteed to see out every yard of this new trip for him.

There are some cracking shoulder races on the Esher card and I fancy that METHOD can finally come of age as an older horse. I thought that he ran better than his finishing position suggests when a two-and-three-quarter lengths fourth of six to Benefit at Salisbury in the Cathedral Stakes last month.

That run should have put him spot on and the drop down to a stiff five as opposed to a tough six with his high cruising speed, should prove right up his street and I fancy he can take a step forward to beat the likes of Arecibo and Equilateral.

There are two cracking handicaps, one over a mile (2.25) and a mile and a quarter, due off at 4.10. The last named has loads of pace in it and could turn into a grind up the final climb even on good ground. That could and indeed should play to the strengths of ARQOOB.

The selection had spent four months chasing the dosh in Bahrain last year and into 2022 without landing a gold medal in five starts. Following a 105-day break, he returned to run a fair warm-up race at Epsom, possibly getting tired in the closing stages. His two runs here at Sandown Park have been more than adequate, a close-up fourth and second, the latter a staying on second of eight in a class three over a mile off a mark 86, so 89 appeals as a playable rating here.

The mile event looks just as competitive even if it doesn’t have the same size field. The interesting entry is SINJAARI who gets to run over a mile for the third consecutive time after previously having been campaigned over a mile and a quarter for the past 18 months.

I loved the way that he travelled into the Royal Hunt Cup, eventually finishing a never nearer fifth. It goes without saying that the stiffer track here will be perfect for him and I suspect he will go off a well-supported second favourite here and see off Ouzo and Darkness.

Haydock Park holds a superb card with the big betting race being the Old Newton Cup Handicap over a mile and a half at 3.15. With a 7lbs claimer on board, Brentford Hope is interesting now he has his chosen surface, but it can be readily argued that a mile and a quarter is his optimum trip, and several others are preferred over this distance. Favourite Gaassee could obviously still be anything and certainly won’t be fazed by the ground, but I am happy to let him win at around 6/4. The one I would like to hang my coat on is the filly SOMETHING ENTICING.

Andrew Balding’s charge is two from eight on turf and has only run over this kind of trip once. That came last time out in a slowly run Listed race at Goodwood, when she was predictably outpaced in the closing stages by Third Realm. With the strong likelihood of a proper pace over this trip, David Probert set to bury her in the pack and her favoured soft ground to boot, the daughter of Fascinating Rock has a cracking chance of reaching the first five, several layers will offer that place offering, and off a mark of 95 and a nice racing weight she could well be underestimated up against the boys.

Of her other rivals, It’s Good Too Laugh also looks over priced at around 33/1, while the other entry I am fearful of is Liverpool Knight who was a smooth winner of a class four event at Windsor. He obviously needs to find more, but has plenty in his favour here with lots of dead wood in this handicap feature.

ZIP also has his ground conditions in the seven furlong handicap due off at 4.25 and with the capable Laura Pearson taking a further 3lbs off his back, he looks very nicely treated getting lumps of weight from Tacarib Bay and soft ground lover Young Fire who ran a superb race at York on ground that would have been plenty quick enough for him.

Finally, have a second look at EAGLEWAY in the Leicester 5.00 and UNDER FOX in the mile-and-a-quarter handicap at Beverley at 4.40.


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