Suruor can make light work of rivals
On a day of high-quality Flat racing at Ascot, the 29-runner Totesport.com Challenge Cup is by far the most challenging contest from a betting perspective.
As well as the 2009 winner Advanced, present in this afternoon's huge field is last week's successful Ayr Gold Cup partnership of Redford and Frankie Dettori.
With a 6lb penalty for that win, Dandy Nicholls' latest sprinting hero represents little value in such an open heat at just 7/1.
Neither does Advanced hold much appeal. Fourth to Colonel Mak in the Silver Cup last week, Kevin Ryan's seven-year-old is 4lb higher now, and he would have much less scope to improve than a few others running here.
In particular, Suruor appears to have plenty going for him. A three-time winner last season, David Simcock's four-year-old has been lightly raced this term, running just four time.
On three of those outings he finished a close third, and ran a highly creditable fifth in a valuable handicap over course and distance on his penultimate start.
On that occasion, he kept on stoutly off today's mark of 100, just a couple of lengths behind Castles In The Air and his stable-mate Noble Citizen, both of which reoppose now.
While Castles In The Air has lost its form since, Noble Citizen does appeal for a place at up to 25/1, but Suruor can be backed at the same price and has even stronger claims.
The son of Intikhab is a much less-exposed type than the year-older Noble Citizen, and is 3lb better off with that one this afternoon. Most recently, Suruor produced another sound effort to go down by just a length to Axiom, one of today's market leaders.
Having not enjoyed the clearest passage then, his staying-on finish was again eye-catching and significantly, Suruor is 4lb better off with Axiom, which, like Noble Citizen, is a more exposed horse at six years old.
With no question marks over the track, the potentially easy ground or the trip, and breaking from the stall that housed the 2008 winner, Tom Queally's mount ought to be right there.
In the card's opener, Thrill can land what is a massively competitive fillies' handicap. John Gosden has been typically patient with this full-sister to the classy Infallible.
On the first of her only two starts this year, Thrill won over seven furlongs at Sandown on ground similar to today's, before just coming up short off a 5lb higher mark on faster ground next time.
She has been lumbered with another 5lb now, but that might not be enough to stop her progress.
While the colts' juvenile race doesn't appeal from a punting point of view with the odds-on Frankel, trained by Henry Cecil, likely to be hard to beat, the subsequent heat for two-year-old fillies is worth a look.
Godolphin's White Moonstone will be another short-priced favourite in the Meon Valley Stud Fillies' Mile, but Theyskens' Theory isn't without a chance.
The Brian Meehan-trained American-bred has been a revelation on its two most recent outings, emphatically winning its maiden before coasting home in a fair Group Three at Goodwood late last month.
On both occasions, Theyskens' Theory did it the hard way from the front, and there's no reason to believe she hasn't further scope to improve. At up to 3/1, the Ryan Moore-ridden filly may be overpriced.
Finally, Fleeting Echo is worth a speculative venture in the seven-furlong Listed contest. This race numbers plenty of highly-rated horses that have question marks hanging over them. Kieren Fallon's mount won tidily last time out in a handicap at Newbury and may well be on the up.
Best bet: Suruor
- Followers of last week's column were rewarded with three winners from four selections; at Ayr, Colonel Mak at 33/1 in the Silver Cup and the day's best bet Vesuve at 2/1. At Newbury, Tazeez won at 5/6.