Andrew Balding: My thoughts on our 14 weekend runners
The Betway ambassador previews his weekend rides, including 12 on Saturday and two on Sunday.
Fivethousandtoone must have a great chance dropping back to 6f (15:15 York). He didn’t properly stay the seven at York last time, but this is much more to his liking. It’ll be great to get his season back on track.
Pivoine is back on a surface he loves. He’s carrying top weight, which is never easy, but he’s got the ability to go well (16:50 York).
Bell Rock has been consistent throughout his career, but this is a tough level to win at, so we’re more hopeful than confident (13:45 Haydock).
There is good place prize money on offer, so if he can take a slice of it, we’ll be happy.
Valley Forge won the Melrose at York in good style last time and I don’t think he’s been unduly punished for that.
Obviously, the slight question is how he will cope with the faster ground, but he’s got the ability, as we saw last time out (14:20 Haydock).
Chil Chil ran very well in the Nunthorpe last time, but just found the 5f a little too sharp. I think a flat 6f on fast ground is what we’ve always wanted for her and I think she’s got a really good chance of hitting the frame (15:30 Haydock).
She’s improved this season and ran well in the July Cup, which looked stronger than this on paper.
Stone Of Destiny could have waited for the Portland next weekend – a race he won last year – but with conditions set to suit this weekend, we’ve been swayed to run him. He’s not truly loved the slower surfaces on his last two runs but will like the conditions at Haydock (16:05).
Nymphadora must have a good chance (14:05 Kempton). She ran a great race in the Lowther last time out and has always shown to have plenty of speed.
She’s never run on the all-weather before, but she goes well on our polytrack at home, which gives us cause for optimism.
Fox Tal is the eternal bridesmaid but although he’s not winning, he seems to be enjoying his racing of late. He’s taking it all in his stride and if he keeps running well, he’ll have done his job this season.
Again, there is good prize money on offer, so if he could get some of it, we’ll be delighted (14:40 Kempton).
Hold Fast has a bad draw, which is a shame as she’s been working nicely, having been freshened up off the back off a little break. She likes the all-weather, but I would have just really liked a better draw (15:15 Kempton).
Attache ran well at Salisbury in a strong nursery last time, and I think his mark looks about right. He’s a hardy horse who is still improving and he should be in the mix (15:50 Kempton).
Icy Lady is having her first start (14:35 Ascot). She’s a horse who will be better with time, so I’d expect her to need the experience on her debut.
Auriferous is another who keeps hitting the crossbar! We’ve decided that for as long as he remains consistent, we’ll keep him trying to be competitive in the right grade. Again, there is every chance he could get placed (15:10 Ascot).
Mystery Smiles has been disappointing since his third in the Craven Stakes. He’s been gelded since and his work has been satisfactory of late, so we’re hoping for an improved showing (15:45 Ascot).
Nebulosa will run as long as it’s not too fast for her, which would be a concern (16:20 Ascot).
She ran well enough at Sandown last time out, in a race that wasn’t run to suit her. She hit the front much sooner than she’d have liked and was keen early on in the race. I’d like to see her settle earlier in the race this time.
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