NEXT weekend The Queen attempts to complete a grand slam of classic victories when she runs the hot ante post favourite Carlton House in The Derby at Epsom.
No such excitement this week but some good racing at Newmarket and Haydock with listed and group races on both cards as well as the usual round of tough handicaps.
The stand out in the Timeform Jury Stakes, a Group 3 race at Haydock, is the Roger Charlton trained CITYSCAPE. He looked slightly rusty on his seasonal debut behind Group 1 winner Dick Turpin in the Bet365 Mile, and the two length defeat was very respectable in the circumstances. He looked to be outpaced in the final furlong that day and the drop back in trip should suit. He capped off a fine season last year by beating a strong field in the Nayef Joel Stakes by an emphatic seven lengths and I expect him to do the business here, with Main Aim and the tough and consistent Regal Parade filling out the placings.
Shrewd Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe often excels in his placing of horses in handicap company. He looks to have found another fine opportunity in the last race at Newmarket on Saturday with recent winner OLD HUNDRED, who scored impressively over 1 mile 6f last time out at Doncaster. The form has worked out reasonably well with the second reappearing and performing well in higher class handicaps, and the fourth also winning since. Although it is a tough handicap with lots of runners, he seems to have a progressive profile.
Tanya Stevenson noted on a recent edition of The Morning Line that Luca Cumani trained horses have been progressing at an average of 10lb from their first to second runs of the season, which may make NAQSHABBAN look a very interesting proposal indeed. The unbeaten son of Street Cry has progressed nicely from his first time out victory in a maiden with his defeat of Joviality in a recent condition stakes at Sandown. The form was further enhanced with Joviality winning the Musidora Oaks Trial at York two weeks ago. The form is rock solid, and with the stable flying at the minute, the gelding should go close.
3.35 Haydock – Cityscape (NAP)
2.50 Newmarket – Naqshabban (NB)
5.45 Newmarket – Old Hundred (EW)