Horse racing: Charlton waits with Bated Breath
Roger Charlton will decide whether ante-post favourite Bated Breath will take his chance in today’s Darley July Cup this morning.
Beaten just half a length in the six-furlong Group One 12 months ago, a first victory at the highest level has continued to prove elusive. The five-year-old was beaten a nose in Haydock’s Sprint Cup, a neck in a Grade One in Canada and after making a winning return in the Temple Stakes, he was narrowly beaten by Little Bridge in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.
A proven fast-ground performer, the recent rain has not been in his favour, but Charlton is leaning towards letting his star sprinter line up at Newmarket if owner Khalid Abdullah gives the green light. “I’m afraid it will probably be tomorrow before we make a final decision,” said Charlton. “It’s a feeling of frustration really. It applies to a lot of trainers, I’m sure, this weather is driving us mad as so few Flat horses want soft ground. He’s as well as I can have him and he must have a favourite’s chance, but on soft ground I just don’t know. I’m tempted to run but I will be guided by the owner.”
Last year’s Golden Jubilee winner Society Rock missed the break in this year’s renewal of the renamed Diamond Jubilee, but flew home to finish fifth behind Black Caviar. Trainer James Fanshawe hopes subsequent stalls practice will have ironed out his starting problem and he is keeping his fingers crossed his charge will be effective on the soft underfoot conditions. “I don’t know how he’ll handle the ground. I don’t think any of us are going to know until they race on it,” said Fanshawe. “He handles good to soft ground at Ascot and it was fairly soft when he was second to Moonlight Cloud in the Prix Maurice de Gheest, but we’ll see.”
While Black Caviar has now returned to Australia, there is still a major challenger from Down Under in the shape of Paul Messara’s Ortensia.
A Group One winner in her homeland and in the Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan, the seven-year-old got worked up prior to the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot and subsequently ran no sort of race.
Over at York, the 53rd John Smith’s Cup is another tricky puzzle and Mid Mon Lady could be at least an each-way solution to the problem.
Trained in Ireland by Harry Rogers until the end of last year, the seven-year-old was an interesting recruit for Sir Mark Prescott at the beginning of 2012. While she has not won in two years now, Mid Mon Lady came very close to glory on her debut for Prescott, and as a horse who can handle cut with some nice bits of form in the book, she could be a value price.
Suraj was a wide-margin winner at Doncaster last time and he can make the leap to Listed level in the John Smith’s Silver Cup.
At Newbury, it would be folly to look beyond Irish raider Maarek in the chrisbeekracing.com Stakes, better known as the Hackwood Stakes. Plenty of us want the rain to stop, but trainer David Nagle certainly does not as it cannot be soft enough for his progressive mudlark.
At Newmarket yesterday meanwhile, a French victory in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes had been expected but it came through the less obvious source of the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Giofra (10-1).
Golden Lilac, a rare British runner from Andre Fabre, arrived with glowing reviews and was sent off the 10-11 favourite but was perceived to have been too keen on unsuitably soft ground and finished next to last in the ten-runner field.
Giofra proved half a length too strong for her rivals after Christophe Soumillon ventured up the far rail and switched slightly to the right for a better view with a couple of furlongs remaining, bearing down on Elusive Kate and getting on top close to the line.
Sendmylovetorose maintained her unbeaten record in the Irish Thoroughbred Marketing Cherry Hinton Stakes. Although looking the obvious winner, she only survived by a neck as Maureen staged a dramatic finish.
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Weather for Edinburgh
Monday 20 May 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 20 C
Wind Speed: 7 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 8 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: North west