This week’s Saturday 7 takes in four high quality meetings, with the Temple stakes at Haydock and Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh the highlights. Jonesy1990 preview the pool and you can join his Syndicate here
The showdown between 2000 Guineas winner Magna Grecia and champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot promises to be a clash to savour, provided the latter has recovered from his exertions in the Dante Stakes only nine days ago. Given the tricky nature of the handicaps included in this week’s pool, we may well need to choose one of the two as we build a ticket.
A devilishly difficult three-year-old handicap to kick things off and I’ll be focusing on the lower drawn numbers that are generally favoured on the round course at Goodwood.
Flashcard was second to a subsequently listed winner in a valuable sales race on his final start last season. He should relish the easy 7f here.
At the bottom of the weights, Mr Diamond ventures down from Yorkshire for Richard Fahey. He has gone up 8lb for a cosy win last time out in lesser company but the 3lb taken off by the useful Noel Garbutt helps alleviate that fair rise.
I’m also going to add Dunkerron, who put up a career best in the Vintage Stakes here last summer. A mark of 102 on that form is fair, helped even more by another claiming rider taking 7lbs off, this time Toby Eley.
Selections: Flashcard, Mr Diamond, Dunkerron
Archive is looking for the four-timer, having been mopping up apprentice races, and may still have the potential to carry on his sequence.
Ideal Candy has been knocking on the door for a while and, with a lot of exposed horses in opposition, this may be his time with Rowan Scott’s 3lb claim nullifying the horse’s 3lb rise for a second placing last time out.
Selections: Archive, Ideal Candy
This race is often a pointer to the Britannia handicap at Royal Ascot but, with £50k in prize money to the winner, it is a top prize in its own right.
Masaru had his Esher Cup win franked last week, with the second-placed horse winning at Newmarket, and he has to be included. As does Aweedram, who looks to be keeping a little up his sleeve in his wins this season. That horse’s trainer, Alan King, has won this before with a similar type.
I feel like I should add another in such a race but, with more tricky legs to come, I need to keep some powder in reserve.
Selections: Masaru, Aweedram
The clash is on and I’m going to put my cards on the table right away and plump for Magna Grecia over Too Darn Hot.
The latter may well be at home over a mile but I’d be surprised if he was at his peak after a hard race only nine days ago and a troubled preparation. He will need to bring his A game to get past Magna Grecia, who travelled sweetly behind a strong pace and was well in command heading out of the dip before scoring comfortably at Newmarket.
Magna Grecia’s form last year was arguably stronger than his main rival here anyway, with old adversary Persian King boosting that form in France this season.
Selection: Magna Grecia
A lot of these tend to take their turn at winning but Leodis Dream is new to the party and joins it with his 8lb three-year-old allowance.
Given that he races off a mark 2lb lower than his last winning one, I’m happy to chance him against his elders here.
Eeh Bah Gum has a better draw than when fourth over course and distance last week and a drop back to handicap company and five furlongs will suit El Astronaute. So tricky is this race that I’m adding a fourth selection in Copper Knight. Suited by the straight track at York, which often favours those on the speed, he should not be far away.
Selections: Leodis Dream, Eeh Bah Gum, El Astronaute, Copper Knight
I’ll be taking on Battaash here with the selections of Mabs Cross and Kachy.
Battaash to me looks a little regressive, the opposite of the two selections who both also arrive race fit. The wind operation that the favourite has undergone over the winter may spark a little more improvement, but to me it’s a negative sign that connections have resorted to the procedure. If the market is particularly strong for Battaash and we are still alive we may well look to Cash Out part of our ticket at this point.
Selections: Mabs Cross, Kachy
We finish with a valuable staying handicap at Goodwood, a track that Mark Johnston always targets.
King’s Advice continues to go from strength to strength and finds a great opportunity here against some exposed rivals. I thought about sticking with him alone but then my eye was drawn to stablemate Hochfeld, who is dangerously handicapped on last season’s form despite a couple of uninspiring efforts this season.
He is just the type who will spring a surprise at some stage of the season and this race looks ripe for the taking.
Selections: King’s Advice, Hochfeld