Villain’s Voice (Timeform rating 76P) – Newbury, Thursday 4 July
The six-furlong minor event on Thursday’s card at Yarmouth is a race with a record of producing good horses – the last two winners, Hey Gaman and Dark Vision, both went on to win in pattern company – and connections of Iffraaz are likely to have similarly high aspirations for this year's victor, who was well suited by the step up to six furlongs, bouncing back from a disappointing showing in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot to give weight and a beating to a whole host of promising sorts.
That description can certainly be used to describe Villain’s Voice, who ran a most encouraging race to finish third on debut. Roger Varian’s charge made plenty of appeal on paper, being out of a half-sister to the smart Oh This Is Us, and he offered plenty to work on in going down to a pair who had the benefit of experience, travelling fluently and keeping on well under considerate handling in the latter stages to be beaten only two and a half lengths. He looks the sort to make above-average improvement with that run under his belt, and a similar event is likely to prove his for the taking next-time-out, with seven furlongs likely to prove well within his range, too. Roger Varian
Imphal (Timeform rating 94) – Sandown, Friday 5 July
The form of the 0-85 handicap at Sandown on Friday is likely to prove solid rather than strong, with the three who completed the frame seen to maximum advantage given how the race developed, all of them having been held up in a race where the leaders seemed to press on far enough out.
The big eye-catcher was the last of that trio, Imphal, for whom the leaders couldn’t possibly go fast enough over a trip seemingly well short of his best. He certainly shaped as if he is ready to go back up in distance, still having plenty to do over a furlong out but making relentless progress thereafter, never nearer than the length and three quarters he was beaten at the line. That still represented a big step in the right direction on just his second start for the Gary Moore yard, and he would appear to have Goodwood Stakes written all over him – indeed, he was third in the race from the same mark 12 months ago and could yet have more to offer over marathon trips, with that being his only previous try beyond two miles. Gary Moore
Fly The Flag (Timeform rating 77P) – Chelmsford, Saturday 6 July
The fillies’ minor event at Chelmsford on Saturday looked an interesting heat beforehand, and it certainly seems form to take a positive view of, with a couple of well-bred sorts from good yards split by one with some experience under her belt, the winner a sister to the top-class Farhh who looks capable of making her presence felt in listed/minor pattern company sooner rather than later, such was the style of her success (by five lengths with something in hand).
The third Fly The Flag wasn’t far behind in the pedigree stakes – she is closely-related to the Irish Derby runner-up Midas Touch and a half-sister to the recent Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud winner Coronet – and, though beaten fully five and a half lengths in the race, she still produced a promising first effort, racing well off the pace after a slow start, before staying on strongly in the final furlong without being unduly punished. Both her pedigree and the way she shaped suggest that she’ll be suited by a mile and a half, and with further improvement on the cards – quite possibly a lot with this experience behind her – she looks a banker for a similar event before going on to bigger and better things. John Gosden