THE Temple Stakes is more often than not a pointer to the big sprints later in the season – and this year’s contest looks a cracker.
There are some fantastic races on the undercard, too, including a Sandy Lane that sees the return of superstar sprinter Calyx.
Race 1 – 2.15 Amix Ready Mixed Concrete Handicap
This is a difficult race to weigh up, with plenty of horses out of form and some coming off the back of stints on the all-weather.
Perhaps the one to side with is PIRATE KING. Harry Dunlop’s four-year-old is unexposed over this trip and won his maiden on good to firm ground.
He produced a taking return over a shorter trip at Doncaster and should strip fitter for that run. Judged on that effort, he looks capable of winning off a mark of 85.
Eden Rose has been pulverising her opposition on the all-weather of late and has obvious claims if able to reproduce that back on turf, while it would be no surprise to see Lucky Deal bounce back.
VERDICT – 1. Pirate King 2. Eden Rose 3. Lucky Deal
Race 2 – 2.50 Amix Silver Bowl Handicap
As usual, this is a minefield. Plenty of recent winners are on show and perhaps the one to side with could be AWEEDRAM.
Alan King’s three-year-old saw off an impressive previous winner at Ascot last time on ground that may not have been totally ideal. He still looks on a fair mark and if he’s to head to the Royal meeting then he’ll need to win here.
Awe is still very unexposed and arguably should have had won his reappearance had the winner not run across his line. He has a lot more to come this year, as does Masaru, who’s won his last two in the style of a Group performer in the making.
VERDICT – 1. Aweedram 2. Awe 3. Masaru
Race 3 – 3.25 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes (Group 2)
It will take a very good colt to lower the colours of CALYX.
John Gosden’s superstar has won all three of his starts to date in the manner of a top sprinter and should be too good for this disappointing field.
Hello Youmzain is only rated 2lb off him but his Greenham comeback was underwhelming, for all that he could benefit from dropping in trip. Royal Intervention probably has more to come this year.
VERDICT – 1. Calyx 2. Hello Youmzain 3. Royal Intervention
Race 4 – 4.00 Armstrong Aggregates Temple Stakes (Group 2)
A fascinating renewal where a lot depends on whether favourite BATTAASH turns up or not.
He’s the class act of the race and according to trainer Charlie Hills has got the gleam back in his coat and looks a different horse to last year.
He should win, but if there’s one to take him on it’s Mabs Cross.
Michael Dods works wonders with his sprinters and last year’s Abbaye winner returned with a cracking victory in the Palace House, where she gave weight to all her rivals.
Kachy has been a star this winter and will doubtless attempt to burn off his rivals from the front, but could just be found wanting in the closing stages.
VERDICT – 1. Battaash 2. Mabs Cross 3. Kachy
Race 5 – 4.35 EBF British Stallion Studs Cecil Frail (Listed Race)
Based on ratings, this should be a walk in the park for SIGNORA CABELLO.
She’s top rated in the race by 11lb and also gets weight from all but two of her rivals so if she produces anything near her best she’ll win.
Gold Filigree has been progressing quickly and ran well in this grade on her penultimate start at Bath, while top-weight Perfection has to carry a penalty but boasts the best form courtesy of a head second in a Group 3 last time out.
VERDICT – 1. Signora Cabello 2. Gold Filigree 3. Perfection
Race 6 – 5.10 Amix Handicap
Only four runners here but competitive enough, with just 5lb separating them.
This could be the day for LARIAT to strike. Andrew Balding has hit the ground running this season and his improving colt produced a nice run at Chester last time on his first start over this trip, finishing second in a hot race on unsuitable ground.
He’d previously finished second to a horse with Group 1 ambitions so should really be able to win off this mark.
Sir Ron Priestley looked revitalised by the step up to 1m4f last time and should run a big race, while Felix The Poet also has claims for his in-form trainer.
VERDICT – 1. Lariat 2. Sir Ron Priestley 3. Felix The Poet
Race 7 – 5.45 Armstrong Family Handicap
Not a very strong race to finish proceedings and this could be an opportunity for Michael Bell to enhance his brilliant recent run of form with NEW SHOW.
His four-year-old was a winner at Windsor on his penultimate start before finding himself a touch outclassed in a better race last time.
This is much weaker and he can prove too strong for Red Force One and Finniston Farm.
VERDICT – 1. New Show 2. Red Force One 3. Finniston Farm