Thursday 16 August 2018

Masar to repel Condon's Sandown raid

Appelby colt can prove hard to beat in classy Group Three

Spoof, with Callum Shepherd up, on the way to winning the Nursery Handicap at Sandown Park. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Spoof, with Callum Shepherd up, on the way to winning the Nursery Handicap at Sandown Park. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Johnny Ward

Ken Condon is one of those trainers who lacks a major owner so is at the whim of luck in the hope that one or two good ones will reveal themselves each spring.

Success Days, by the late Jeremy, has been his star. Mamba Noire has finished placed of late in a York Group Two and he has another smart juvenile in Romanised, which contests the BetBright Solario Stakes at Sandown today.

However, Romanised was a little disappointing - albeit far from shamed - in the Curragh's Phoenix Stakes and may struggle to live with Charlie Abbelby's Masar now. The New Approach colt, a debut winner, still seemed a little green when a notably well-backed third in the Chesham at Royal Ascot. The form has been nicely advertised by the runner-up Nyaleti.

Clearly this is no formality for Godolphin's colt, with two first-time-out and unbeaten maiden winners to worry about in Vintager and Purser, while Connect looked progressive over the course and distance last time. It should prove an informative contest, even if it is hard to see any of these going on to win a Classic next year.

The other Group Three today is the Atlanta Stakes for the girls over a mile. This sees a rather hasty reappearance for Intimation, which only six days ago chased home Irish Oaks runner-up Rain Goddess in a Curragh Group Three. The five-year-old has barely put a foot wrong over the past 12 months, is ground-versatile and bang there on ratings under Ryan Moore for Michael Stoute, who must be happy with her well-being this week.

The opening handicap makes limited punting appeal but Jamie Spencer may be the key to Ron Harris' Majestic Hero, a course-and-trip winner which shaped better last time and has come down the weights a fair bit. Harris's horses are in decent form of late.

Monarchs Glen has perhaps not improved since trouncing his rivals on his seasonal debut and it remains to be seen if he is worth a three-figured mark.

In contrast, Pacify is proven off a higher figure and, after an excellent run at Newmarket, is solid each-way for Ralph Beckett in the BetBright Recall Handicap.

Pat Shanahan is a regular visitor to Britain and targets the Chester Stakes with The Tartan Spartan, which probably has it to do off top weight.

Who Dares Wins makes plenty of appeal here, just 1lb higher than when a rather unfortunate fourth in a predictably messy Chester Cup, since which he was third to Thomas Hobson at Royal Ascot. This trip may suit Alan King's steed better.

The other ITV4 race from Cheshire could see a return to form from top weight Sound Advice. He won here in May and is only 2lb higher, with the possibility of a first-time tongue tie bringing about improvement.

Shanahan's Sharp Defence is off the same mark as when second at Dundalk recently, with Royston Ffrench in the plate.

Over at Beverley, the totescoop6 Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes is one of those cracking races popular with Northern racing folk in England.

The veteran Mirza had an off-day at Ascot last month but Rae Guest has given the Oasis Dream gelding some time and he may be the answer at around 8/1.

Alpha Delphini must be respected, as Bryan Smart seeks his fourth winner in 11 renewals.

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