Monday 18 December 2017

Prescott's Marsha made to measure

Mark Prescott. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Mark Prescott. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Chris Wilson

Marsha can seize the day in the Qatar King George Stakes at Goodwood today.

Few horses in the line-up can be ruled out with any degree of optimism, but it could be worth keeping faith with the flying filly.

After twice being turned over at short odds, it is fair to say Mark Prescott's Group One-winning sprinter has not quite quickened pulses since she made a classy seasonal debut at Newmarket.

Be that as it may, it was hardly a disaster to finish third in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, while she simply bumped into a very determined horse in Caspian Prince at the Curragh.

Marsha was beaten just three-quarters of a length in this Group Two last year but she can be backed to make up that ground in what is again likely to be a very tight encounter.

Andrea Atzeni can savour more glory at Goodwood by winning the Betfred Mile aboard GM Hopkins.

Suitably inspired by a wonderful four-timer on Tuesday, the Classic-winning jockey will rightly fancy his chances of further big-race honours with John Gosden's inmate.

It feels like GM Hopkins has been around for an eternity, yet he is only six years of age and should never be discounted in these sort of rough-and-tumble handicaps.

The 2015 Royal Hunt Cup winner had looked in tailspin since he secured a Listed victory at Ascot last April.

But GM Hopkins suddenly returned to form in the Coral Challenge at Sandown last month and is seemingly coming back to hand nicely for this assignment.

The gelded son of Dubawi only went down by a neck to the progressive El Hayem, to whom he was giving a lot of weight, at the Esher circuit - with the third horse home, Muntazah, never nearer.

GM Hopkins has gone up 3lb for the Betfred Mile, but he is still better treated than when he won at Royal Ascot and was once rated as highly as 114 just over a year ago.

He will also appreciate the more forgiving terrain at Goodwood, while it goes without saying that the white-hot Atzeni must also sweeten the deal.

Charlie Appleby will be hoping the rain in the middle of the week will not stop Frontiersman showing his true colours in the Betfred Glorious Stakes.

The Godolphin handler wisely decided against running the Coronation Cup runner-up in a soft-ground King George as he needs a sounder surface.

Even if conditions are suitable, the four-year-old still needs to curb that slightly wayward streak which saw him outgunned by stablemate Hawkbill at Newmarket last time out.

Should he remain on an even keel, Frontiersman is surely the one to beat.

Andrew Balding looks to have chosen the correct race for last month's Listed scorer Beat The Bank.

The gelded son of Paco Boy turned in a very accomplished display at Newmarket and has a big chance back in Group Three company for the Bonhams Thoroughbred Stakes.

Le Vagabond is likely to go well in the big race at Galway, the Guinness Handicap.

Edward O'Grady's five-year-old was not beaten far at Leopardstown last time and finished fifth in this mile-and-a-half affair 12 months ago.

Le Vagabond flew home last year, though, and is entitled to get closer on this occasion - in spite of an elevated handicap mark.

Irish Independent

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