It was a fabulous day 1 with the star of the show being Stradivarius, who hit all the right notes, to once again defeat a determined Torcedor in a spirited battle on the South Downs. Today they run over a shorter trip for the feature race but the protaganists are just as determined to impart their will over a classy and relativey unexposed field in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes. Before that though we have some cracking handicaps to get our teeth into and improve our account balance.
This Marathon usually throws up a stirring finish and todays contest looks no different on paper. Our fancies include, Coue De Lion for Alan King, who loves these extreme distances and has been ultra consistent. He looked as good as ever at Newbury when Martin Harley followed the wrong one through and he will be keen to make amends. Gary Moore will have readied Altaayil for this race after 299 days off and he can get one right for the big day. The horse is still unexposed and this trip unknown but Gary knows if they will stay and he just might be the right horse in the right race. Sir Mark Prescott is in cracking form with his horses and Piedita has to be in the reckoning after a comfortable win over 2 miles at Chester, with the step up in trip looking a comfortable move for this 4 year old. I just love the attitude of Lil Rockefella, who wears his heart on his sleeve over hurdles and just keeps finding. I couldnt believe he was only 7. He must have a great chance but, I didnt think a favourites chance, as the betting suggests. Finally, Marcus Tregooning brings Imphal here after a string of placed efforts this year after winning 3 on the bounce last year. If the handicapper does have control then this step up for this stoutly bred horse may just be the right move. It’s a tight one to start but I am siding with two against the field. Couer de Lion who might have got closer last time out but for traffic problems and Piedita who looks like a stayer that can go up to the next level.
MOVE OVER TO MATCHBOOK HANDICAP (Class 2) (3yo 0-105) Winner £46,688 11 runners 1m3f218y Good
The Molecomb brings together sprinting two year olds from Ascot and the Curragh who have all performed well during the year and have some parallel form lines. Trying to anticpate which horses have continued to improve since their last run at a time when they are all still maturing is notoriusly difficult but the one thing we know, having been through all the related form lines, is that the best horse in the race, on what we have seen, is Soldiers Call and that is by quite some way. So we simply have to back this horse and wonder if anything can improve past Mark Johnstons runner. Somehow though, I think not. he is a confident choice.