Turf Talk: Competition looks hot at York and Ascot

Tim Boulter
Tim Boulter

GROUP racing this weekend comes courtesy of York and Ascot with the big race being the Sky Bet Stakes but there are also some highly competitive and exciting looking handicaps just the type of races I like to get stuck into.


In the Sportinglife.com Stakes Haamaat could still prove a profitable filly to follow. I thought last time up against better opposition in a fillies & mares race she just looked a little one paced when trying to come from last to first and this step up in trip to seven furlongs should suit her and will hopefully help bring about some more improvement. She has made light work of her handicap marks to date having progressed with racing and she is a maturing filly, full of scope and improving and back into handicap company she could continue that progress today.


Taajub is a horse I have followed closely since the winter and after holding off the challenge of bridle running Mass Rally last time out he comes back to the scene of his latest victory with a big chance under the penalty. Since being dropped back to five furlongs in February he has proved himself to be a specialist at the trip winning three times out of five attempts at the distance. Important with sprinters is to catch them as they are peaking in their career and at present he is on an upward curve and though this is a tough contest he has another good handicap in him and this looks a perfect opportunity to strike again.


I have to be honest and say I don’t find the Sky Bet Stakes a particularly inspiring race but preference goes to Planteur. I would take him to bounce back from a below par effort last time out in the Prince of Wales Stakes with Marco Botti now in such good form. He produced a good effort previous to that in the D`Ispahan and looked like he was set for a decent season so it’s not worth giving up on him just yet after one disappointment in a high class race. He has a lot of back class and I if he bounces back here he will take the beating and in an open contest looks the one worth siding with.


The Skybet Dash is the big betting handicap of the weekend and Powerful Presence looks to line up with a big chance. He’s in great form at the moment having won three of his last four starts and ran a cracker last time out at Newcastle under very testing conditions. He tried to go end to end and went hard enough given the heavy ground and I think ultimately given the conditions and his front running exploits it all just got the better of him as he was cut down late on inside the final furlong. The drier ground certainly won’t be a problem and he’ll find six furlongs here to his liking, like Taajub he appears to be peaking at the moment and though he has to keep coming forward he could keep squeezing out a bit more improvement whilst he is in the form of his life.


2.35 – Haamaat

2.55 – Taajub

3.10 – Planteur

3.45 – Powerful Presence