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Colonel Mak expected to command and conquer

It is William Hill Great St Wilfrid afternoon at Ripon and a horse fancied to go well in the feature event is the David Barron-trained Colonel Mak.

The seven-year-old was rated as high as 104 in his pomp a couple of seasons ago, but results have been mixed since. The veteran sprinter endured a disappointing start to the current campaign, but looked much more like his old self when striking over this course and distance in early June, beating the likes of Bear Behind and perhaps most notably Watchable, who has run tremendously in two competitive Ascot handicaps in recent months.

It is interesting Colonel Mak has not been seen in a little over two months, with sprint master Barron perhaps keeping away from faster ground, as well as protecting his handicap mark with this race in mind. He has his favoured conditions and off a mark of 95, he is capable of making his presence felt.

Belardo is the pick of the action at Newbury where he goes in the Denford Stud Stakes.

The Roger Varian-trained youngster looked a serious prospect when rocketing to victory in a maiden at Yarmouth, with a very comfortable two and a quarter lengths in hand of subsequent winner Heartbreak Hero.

The selection lost his unblemished record at Newmarket in the July Stakes, but that was quite a jump in class for such an inexperienced colt and in the circumstances he acquitted himself well to finish fourth.

The winner Ivawood is very smart and there was plenty to like about the way Varian's runner travelled for much of the race, with the way he stuck to his guns very much suggesting a seventh furlong will be to his advantage. To that end, this drop to Listed class at that trip should be just about perfect.

Gregorian brings plenty of Group One form to the Bretfred Hungerford Stakes. He is adaptable trip-wise and ran a career-best at Newmarket in the July Cup to be third to Slade Power, where John Gosden was of the view he was a little unlucky not to be even closer still. His followers need to forgive a flop in France last weekend but connections were adamant the ground was far too testing even for a horse who does handle cut well, so a line can be put through that.

The Betfred TV Geoffrey Freer Stakes is wide open and a value call could be Willing Foe. Saeed bin Suroor can be relied upon to have his runners pretty straight first time out, so the fact the 2012 Ebor hero has been off for 455 days might not be as off-putting as it looks and he has winning form on the board over this trip at Newbury.


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