Pearl Secret can enhance reputation at Sandown
For most people, a hiatus of quality in the British programme since Epsom has meant that Royal Ascot could not come soon enough.
But for the most talented horse running on English soil before Tuesday, the Royal meeting is considered too much, too soon. It would be fitting if a trainer as respected as David Barron could crown his career by producing a champion sprinter for Yorkshire.
His measured approach gives Pearl Secret every chance of seeking such status at Ascot next year, but, in the meantime, requires the colt to continue his education in shallow waters.
Pearl Secret has already overcome even the circumspect instincts of his trainer to be candidly described by Barron as "definitely the quickest I've had."
Once again, he has been found a small field in the Scurry Stakes at Sandown. Not so small, perhaps, to prevent his draw proving a minor irritation for Richard Hughes, standing in for the suspended Jamie Spencer. But Pearl Secret (3.25) won in heavy ground on his reappearance at Doncaster and should be equal to conditions, as well as the opposition.
The rest of the televised action today looks more competitive. Takeitfromalady (2.20) brings the profile of a tough, thriving horse to the Sandown opener, and will surely go close if able to reproduce the form he showed at Newmarket only last weekend.
Fennell Bay (2.50) could offer value against his seniors in what looks a fairly puzzling race, having looked progressive before failing to handle Epsom and then meeting trouble over the last two weekends.
Things look little easier at York, where the lady amateurs will be in fierce rivalry for the Queen Mother's Cup. But this will be only a third handicap start for Eagle Rock (2.05) and he shaped nicely on his reappearance over course and distance.
The most valuable prize of the day is offered for the Bond Tyres Trophy, a handicap contested by 20 young sprinters, many of them still improving. Pea Shooter (3.10) could offer a bit of value, having won his maiden by six lengths here last season and shaped well on his return. He ran rather flat when well backed next time, only seven days. As a result the handicapper has indulged him with a couple of pounds, and you can get better than 20/1.
Much the best race of the weekend is in France tomorrow, when Beauty Parlour takes her unbeaten record into the Prix de Diane at Chantilly.
Her brilliant miler's pace should be too much at this trip for Kissed, a late scratching fromthe English Oaks on account of the drying ground. (©Independent News Service)