The last race on day four is a real head-scratcher at a glance. 25 three-year-olds line up, spread across the track, all with progression in them and all needing to show little but sheer speed over this five-furlong trip. Here’s the shortlist:
By top-class sprinter Shalaa, this Roger Varian runner is more than a little interesting now that he’s stepping down to the minimum distance.
He made his debut last summer over seven furlongs, but really took a stride forward this term when going down to six. In April he blitzed his field at Kempton before following up at the end of last month at Windsor.
He really has shown the natural speed needed for this sort of contest, with plenty more of it doubtless being drawn out of him in such a fast-run affair.
He’s drawn on the near side, still a good place to be, is much better than his mark of 93 and has the assistance of the fine Andrea Atzeni up top for his retainer Sheikh Mohammed Obaid.
Just three gates along from Boomshalaa is Equality, another who has every chance in this line-up.
Charlie Hills has done very well with his sprinters, not least Battaash and Equilateral, and so he surely knows when one in his care has the requisite speed to be involved.
The final couple of furlongs of his stunning nine-length win at Wolverhampton in a novice race were eye-catchingly fast and even having been given an opening mark of 88, he could yet be well in.
Adrian Nicholls has swapped Laura Coughlan for Oisin Murphy here, despite the claimer having been on board for the last four of Mo Celita’s five wins on the bounce.
It could turn out to be a good move, this talented sprinter clearly having much more to give yet, with the only real doubts surrounding the trip and the ground since he has seen out six furlongs on softer going well of late.
Ed Walker’s grey gelding has been improving without winning lately, but that cruellest of all the operations may be the final trick the trainer can pull to straighten him up more and get him focused.
His form is decent anyway; he’s been beaten by an aggregate of less than a length in his last three starts, so as long as he starts quickly enough this time over the five we should see him running on to good effect.
Karl Burke’s Significantly has chased home Dragon Symbol and Creative Force the last twice and that’s form that would stand up with any in this, or many other line-ups. In being rated 92 he hasn’t been too harshly treated either.
A fast five has been handled and a stiff six was also no problem, logic dictating that this stiff five on fast ground will be just about perfect and he can show up very well under Clifford Lee.
Some of the very best recent form in the line-up is brought in by Warrior Brave. This season he has won at Lingfield and Goodwood, while he has also chased home Atalis Bay who was second to Winter Power in May, a strong second-favourite for the Group 1 King’s Stand on Tuesday.
We could argue he’s been handicapped accordingly and the middle draw in 13 may not be ideal, however a pumped-up Silvestre De Sousa may yet make the difference.
On paper any number of these runners have a chance. Some of those not even mentioned can and will be well backed in the run-up to the race, but there is plenty to like about three of ours in particular.
There is a buzz about Equality. He’s shown some fine speed but is also likely to see this race out better than most. Warrior Brave brings in some impressive form and has been mixing it with much better types lately, though they may yet be chasing the back end of Roger Varian’s BOOMSHALAA.
Roger Varian hasn’t had the best of luck at Ascot this week yet, but banged in a couple of very well backed winners at Chelmsford showing that the yard is in form and they know when one is about to go in. Any money for Boomshalaa should be noted.