It’s about quality and not quantity on Saturday as eleven well-bred, improving three-year-olds do battle for the £43,000 prize at Newbury.
One of very few participants who has already gone over similar conditions, finishing as he did in third behind He’s Amazing at Newmarket on 1000 Guineas day.
He was sent off favourite then and it could be argued connections expected a little more, however having close form ties with Old Persian and today’s rival Communique it would seem a lot has already been asked of him and I’d doubt there are masses of improvement still to come, perhaps rendering him less well handicapped than some.
Didn’t live up to the hype at Sandown when well beaten behind Dubhe last time out, however he hasn’t had a go in conditions this quick before and there is hope that being by Mastercraftsman and out of a Sir Percy mare he may well improve for top-of-the-ground.
He still has an entry in the Derby, though he is naturally very unlikely to keep that engagement, however it does show what sort of regard connections held this horse in and improvement wouldn’t be a big surprise.
There’s every chance he’ll have come on for his run at Sandown and so a better performance is expected, however his handicap mark doesn’t leave that much room for error when up against so many unexposed improvers.
Clive Cox is in good form and his Fastnet Rock colt will not be wanting for a good prep, however he may not want conditions too quick either which could just blunt him slightly this time around.
He just got home at Newmarket last time on the good-to-firm ground over this trip against some decent types, though not as good as today’s opposition and so the 6lb rise in the weights may just be enough to anchor him at least in the short term.
Look out for him when the ground eases ever so slightly, especially if still running 1m – 1m2f races off a mark no bigger than around 86.
Beaten last time in a novice race on his third racecourse start, you would imagine he can’t be that well handicapped but he is improving very steadily with each run. That he was only 2¼ lengths behind Rock Eagle at Windsor looks like very fine form indeed.
His opening handicap mark of 90 makes him neither out of this, nor particularly well-in and so one or two others are fancied a little more however he seems like a fine improving three-year-old who can go on to better things later in the season.
Extremely well-bred by American super-stallion Distorted Humour out of a Galileo mare his lineage, especially on the dam side, would suggest he can improve now going up in trip having stayed on really well over a mile last time out to score at Doncaster.
His overall profile would suggest good, fast ground will be up his street and a look back to his debut last season on fast ground makes for very good reading. He was unfancied and not that far forward when sent off at 33/1 at Newmarket that day but ran a stormer in third.
He kept close company that day with Key Victory (now rated 108) and Qaysar (now 98) and has improved fairly rapidly since, making his handicap mark of 96 achieved in three runs over no more than a mile seem generous.
Roger Varian is the right handler for him and he should go very close in this before moving up the ranks and into Group company before too long.
On the numbers alone it is easy to see Sir Michael Stoute’s Frankel colt achieving something very similar to Masaarr, however what he’s done so far has been on very soft ground and there is no way of knowing whether he’ll put his best foot forward on a quicker surface against good types.
The form of his 1m2f win at Leicester reads quite well and he has been given plenty of time for R&R since, so a big run can be expected if conditions are to his liking.
Assuming his opening mark of 90 isn’t too big a burden, Loyal Promise could have a big say in things here alongside the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Mekong who has to prove that he doesn’t mind hearing his hooves rattle.
There are no worries and no doubts though about the very well-bred improver MASAARR who may well go the same way as Addeybb did for the same owner, i.e. through the handicap ranks and into Group races making him look the most likely winner.