Lee can punch Waady home in Temple
Galway native steps in to take ride on plum Gosden mount
Eddie Lynham's decision to scratch Sole Power from this afternoon's Temple Stakes at Haydock might augur well for Mecca's Angel.
Getting an accurate going description at Haydock these days is a Herculean task. The official going was still good to firm before racing got under way last night despite nine millimetres of rainfall, but Lynam clearly didn't feel things were going to suit his fast-ground specialist.
Unfortunately, Haydock has a well-earned reputation for being particularly poor on this issue.
Michael Dods' redoubtable Mecca's Angel heads the betting for the £100,000 (€129,000) contest. In eight starts over the past two years, the game Dark Angel mare has been beaten just twice, latterly at the Curragh in July.
She has a great attitude, and rounded off 2015 with an emphatic triumph in the Nunthorpe at York, where she gave 24 pounds and a decent beating to the high-class juvenile Acapulco, a winner in her only two subsequent starts back in America.
Given that Mecca's Angel seems to go well fresh, she is entitled to be favourite and it would be no surprise to see her win.
At the same time, it's unclear if she will get the slow conditions that she relishes, so she is worth opposing at short odds.
Crucially, there is a viable alternative in Waady. Paul Hanagan has eschewed Waady in favour of Muthmir, but he might well be on the wrong one.
Graham Lee, affectionately known as Bruce, falls in for the mount on Waady, which was in pretty rampant form this time last year. John Gosden's Approve gelding won four of his first five starts, each of which came over this five-furlong distance.
The sense that he is a specialist at the minimum trip was confirmed when he raced too freely over six in the Sprint Cup.
That was Waady's final start as a three-year-old, and he returned with a fine effort to be third in the Palace House Stakes.
At Newmarket that day, the race unfolded on the far side, yet Waady and the winner Profitable both managed to get into the thick of it on the stand side.
Profitable got first run and Waady couldn't get back at him, but it was still a promising turn.
He is open to improvement, having run just nine times, and won't be inconvenienced by rain.
As such, Waady appeals as being progressive enough to defy odds of 7/1 to score under the excellent Galway-born Lee. The other one that catches the eye today is Decorated Knight at Goodwood.
This four-year-old contests a nine-furlong Listed race, with the exposed Master Carpenter and the returning Berkshire topping the ratings.
Decorated Knight won off a modest mark of 85 when scoring for a second time in 2015. He went on to be third to Time Test and Custom Cut in a Group Two, and reappeared with a decent turn to be fourth to GM Hopkins at Ascot, just behind the classy Arod.
Having raced a little keenly on his first start for Roger Charlton, Decorated Knight blew up before keeping on again, and he ought to come on plenty for that outing.
If he does, he could thwart his higher-rated rivals under Andrea Atzeni at odds of around 3/1.
Auteuil specialist Thousand Stars will today be joined by Un De Sceaux in its quest for a third Prix La Barka victory.
Willie Mullins’s duo could hardly be more contrasting sorts, and you couldn’t discount the ageless Thousand Stars under Katie Walsh.
Unsurprisingly, though, Ruby Walsh eschewed the 12-year-old for Un De Sceaux, which is trying two miles and five furlongs for a first time.
Despite being put in its place by Sprinter Sacre at Cheltenham and Sandown, Un De Sceaux displayed fantastic tenacity to cling on for second.
If the chaser does stay this far, it would give Mullins welcome options, because he looks vulnerable in elite company over two miles.
Still, when he won at Auteuil twice in 2014, he looked to just about get home over shy of two-and-a-half miles. Un De Sceaux has it to prove, so Aubusson, one of six British raiders, might be worth a look.
Chinned by Thousand Stars here under Lizzie Kelly in a Grade One in November, Nick Williams’s charge is fresh after a break and has the scope to step up to the plate.