A whole host of useful performers feature amongst the 11 runners for this class 2 handicap over seven furlongs (16:10), the most valuable race on Thursday’s card at Newmarket.
The William Haggas-trained Ametist (108p) is the leading contender according to Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings. He completed a hat-trick on his handicap debut at Newmarket (Rowley Mile) last month, overcoming unfavourable circumstances to win by a nose. He didn’t really handle the Dip and raced in the group that was a couple of lengths behind for most of the way, so it’s to his credit that he found enough to hold on after being produced to lead inside the final 100 yards.
That performance earned Ametist the ‘Horse In Focus’ Flag, identifying him as the one to keep on the right side. There is no doubt he remains potentially well treated from just a 3 lb higher mark and the small ‘p’ attached to his Timeform rating highlights that he may yet have more to offer. He looks a smart performer in the making and should mount a bold bid as he seeks his fourth win in a row.
Fox Champion (107) also features prominently on Timeform’s weight-adjusted ratings. He was capable of smart form at his best for Richard Hannon and showed enough on his debut for Ralph Beckett at Haydock in April to suggest that he still retains plenty of ability, rallying well to be beaten just a length having been hampered briefly. He is on a good mark judged on the pick of his form and looks to hold sound claims if bouncing back from a lesser effort in the Victoria Cup at Ascot last time.
On A Session (104) also finished down the field in the Victoria Cup, but he had been in good heart prior to that and wasted no time getting back to form with a solid third at Epsom last time. He pulled hard on that occasion and was possibly at a disadvantage in making his move right on the inside. Still beaten only five lengths, he lines up from the same mark here with Marco Ghiani, who is good value for his 3 lb claim, taking over in the saddle, so there are certainly plenty of reasons to be positive about his prospects.
Back in eighth in that Epsom contest was Dulas (105), who wasn’t ideally placed given how the race developed and shouldn’t be judged too harshly on that run. After all, he had been generally progressive in three previous starts this season and is still only 2 lb higher in the weights than when successful on his penultimate outing at Goodwood.
Kimifive (104) and Shark Two One (100) are others who deserve a positive mention. Kimifive is on a losing run stretching back to May 2019, but he has shaped well in defeat on several occasions during that period, including when beaten just a head in last year’s Stewards’ Cup. He is now 1 lb lower in the weights despite hitting the frame in both starts this season, so it’s surely only a matter of time before he regains the winning thread.
One of only two three-year-olds in the line-up, Shark Two One has failed to fire in two starts this season, but he is capable of fairly useful form on his day, as he showed when winning twice as a juvenile. He is fitted with first-time cheekpieces here and has the ‘Jockey Uplift’ Flag with Oisin Murphy taking over in the saddle from Franny Norton. Richard Fahey also has the ‘Hot Trainer’ Flag to underline that his yard is top form, so there are at least reasons why Shark Two One could bounce back. He’ll almost certainly need a career best to defy a BHA mark of 90, though.
Timeform Analyst's Verdict:
Ametist is going from strength to strength, getting the hat-trick up on the other course here last month despite not really handling the Dip. He's looking better than a handicapper and the four-timer beckons. On A Session continues in good form and is respected with in-form apprentice Marco Ghiani booked. Fox Champion and Kimifive look next best.
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