Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 25 February 2018

Saddler's Rock looks set for glory run in Ascot Gold Cup

Saddler's Rock ridden by Niall McCullagh
Saddler's Rock ridden by Niall McCullagh

Nick Grant

Saddler's Rock rates a solid selection to lift the Gold Cup for Ireland at Royal Ascot.

Saddler's Rock rates a solid selection to lift the Gold Cup for Ireland at Royal Ascot.

The John Oxx-trained five-year-old has been a pretty luckless individual for one reason or another, and probably ought to have more than the Doncaster and Goodwood Cups on his CV in terms of big-race wins.

A decent surface is a must, as he can produce a real turn of foot for a stayer, but rarely have things come right in that department.

He was beaten less than a length when third last year, with the ground going against him yet again while he also ran too free through the early stages.

Put a line through his last run in Dubai, as the saddle slipping gave his rider no chance, although even then he was not beaten at all far.

Keep and eye on the skies and if it stays dry, he looks nap material for punters on day three.

Alive Alive Oh should be very hard to beat in what appears to be a weak renewal of the Ribblesdale Stakes.

The Tommy Stack-trained filly is on a rapid upward curve and was backed off the boards before winning a Listed heat at Navan last month in real style.

She dismantled a solid Group Three performer there in Magical Dream and arrives in Berkshire thoroughly unexposed after just three career outings.

Even her debut third to Magician as a two-year-old classes as solid form and it will be next stop the Irish Oaks if all goes to plan.

It will take a good horse to beat Indian Chief in the Tercentenary Stakes if he simply reproduces his effort when third in the Dante.

Initially that run could have been taken as a little disappointing, given the unheralded winner was Libertarian.

However, time has shown that not to be the case with Elaine Burke's horse running a screamer to be a close second at Epsom and runner-up Trading Leather finishing third in the Irish Guineas.

Indian Chief travelled like a good horse that day and the time before that had quickened like one to win at Leopardstown.

He has few miles on the clock and is one to keep on-side this season.

As always in the juvenile events, anything Richard Hannon runs must be respected and that is the case with Coulsty in the Norfolk Stakes.

He made all at Leicester on his racecourse bow last month and looked full of potential when winning by five lengths in a race that has already produced two subsequent winners.

Wentworth could be the fascinating one in the Britannia.

A smart two-year-old, winning two of his three starts including good events at Newbury and York, he made a surprising three-year-old reappearance over six furlongs at Goodwood.

He was desperately unlucky, too, moving really easily before having nowhere to go until the race was virtually over and having to settle for a close third.

Racing here off just a 2lb higher mark, he could still be anything and proved he gets a mile last year.

Space Ship ran better than his placing suggests at the Derby meeting and can go well in the King George V Stakes.

He found himself in an impossible position very early and did well to finish as close as he did, running on nicely.

This step up to a mile and a half will suit and he has rather handily been dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper.

Stars Over The Sea is the choice in Leicester's Dingley Maiden Stakes while Gabrial The Duke should enjoy returning to the Lingfield all-weather surface in the Breathe Spa At Lingfield Marriott Handicap.

Hawk High is worth following in the Curvy Bridal Boroughbridge Handicap at Ripon with Italian Riviera set to score for Sir Mark Prescott in the Follow Us On Twitter @WarwickRaces Handicap at that track.

They race over the jumps at Ffos Las and Lord Grantham is the choice in the Sinclair Finance And Leasing Novices' Hurdle.





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