Burn The Boats primed to light up Newmarket
GER LYONS' stylish recent Curragh winner Burn The Boats is fancied to complete a major handicap double in this afternoon's Bunbury Cup at Newmarket.
A lightly-raced and progressive four-year-old that readily defied the drop back to six furlongs from a mile to deliver all that was expected of him at headquarters, Gary Carroll's mount returns to the intermediate distance of seven furlongs now.
The trip certainly won't be an issue, and you couldn't argue that a nine-pound hike in the ratings is unwarranted either, given the comprehensive manner of his Paddy Power Sprint victory, which has been franked by Via Ballycroy (10th) winning since.
After just six career starts, Burn The Boats has the scope to prove worthy of a 100-plus rating yet, so a mark of 96 here isn't off-putting.
With 19 others to contend with, this is a hugely competitive affair. However, the son of Big Bad Bob has a 14 draw that gives him the option to go either side, and his potent early pace will allow Carroll to manoeuvre as necessary.
All told, then, Burn The Boats appeals as a solid option to prevail at double-figure odds.
Of the opposition, the Richard Hughes-ridden Bertiewhittle might be one of the chief threats to the selection. Trained by sprint specialist David Barron, the five-year-old has plenty of mileage up, though that has been a bit of a trend for recent winners.
Second in the Victoria Cup off 93 before running well enough on the less favourable far side rail off 97 in the Buckingham Palace Stakes at Ascot, he couldn't quite pick up enough on slow ground when a one-paced second at Newcastle recently.
Back on faster ground, Bertiwhittle is an each-way option off the same mark.
There is a strong raiding party on duty in the day's showpiece July Cup, a Group One that Ballydoyle has exclusive Irish rights to after a yield of eight victories over 40 years. Aidan O'Brien relies on the narrow Jersey Stakes winner Gale Force Ten this time, but it's hard to see the first-time blinkered three-year-old being good enough.
Eddie Lynam is doubly represented courtesy of the King's Stand victor Sole Power and Slade Power, an improver that landed a Group Three with minimum fuss at the Curragh last time.
Over six furlongs, though, Sole Power has yet to prove he is as effective as he invariably is over five, for all that Johnny Murtagh excels on him.
Slade Power doesn't appear to have a preference for five or six. As a horse whose graph is on an upward curve, he is the more interesting of the two under Wayne Lordan, but his run in the Diamond Jubilee at Ascot suggests he still has a bit to find.
Shea Shea was arguably unlucky when Sole Power came wide to nap him at Ascot and Lethal Force certainly announced his arrival in the Jubilee.
Nonetheless, Society Rock, second then, is fancied to turn the tables under a rejuvenated Kieren Fallon.
Successful at the highest level over this trip in the 2011 Jubilee and last year's Sprint Cup, he held off Lethal Force by a head at York prior to Ascot.
As a slow starter that likes to challenge late, he needs things to fall his way, and that didn't happen at Ascot.
Lethal Force led early that day, and never looked likely to forfeit his lead after getting first run on the field. Society Rock did well to make up a lot of ground to challenge, but then simply hadn't enough left to go by. Fallon won't allow a repeat of that now.
In the Silver Cup at York, Godolphin's Songcraft looks overpriced at 6/1, while Clon Brulee might give Collette Twomey of Clonakilty Black Pudding fame a high-profile triumph in the John Smith's Cup.
Trained in Yorkshire by the ever-shrewd Barron, Twomey's home-bred has won both its starts this year, and appears to have been put away for this following a commanding win at Redcar on May 27.
Best bet: Songcraft