Andrew Balding: Dashing Willoughby looking good after Ascot
The leading trainer and Betway ambassador previews his runners at Newmarket and York on Thursday and Friday.
Newmarket’s July meeting is always a lovely three days. It’s a very pretty course and we’ve had some luck there over the years, so let’s hope it’s the same this week.
Ranch Hand is a horse we like and he goes for the opening Bahrain Trophy (13:50).
He ran well in the Lingfield Derby Trial behind Anthony Van Dyck last time, especially as he wasn’t ideally placed turning in.
He stayed on well and Newmarket should suit him. It was always our plan to come here after that. He had handicap options off 95 but they are few and far between and we thought this race would suit him.
It’s going to be tough to win against Eagles By Day and Barbados, but we would be delighted if he could finish third.
We have been lucky enough to win the six furlong handicap (15:00) three times, so it’s a shame we don’t have a runner this year.
The one horse that stood out to me who I thought could run well was Phil McEntee’s Philipine Cobra down the bottom of the weights.
I’ve been impressed with her this season, her form ties in with some of ours and she has a lovely light weight.
She had three quick runs together last month, has had a bit of a break since and should appreciate stepping back up to six furlongs.
We run Dashing Willoughby in the big race of the day, the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (15:35).
He’s dropping back in trip, but there is a bit of rain in the forecast which would play to his strengths.
I’ve been really impressed with the horse since his win in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot, he seems to have improved again.
It’s a very hard race, though, and Masar looks the obvious danger. He’s a Derby winner and Charlie Appleby seems very pleased with him. If he’s back to that sort of form, he will be virtually impossible to beat.
We have Bell Rock in the Listed Sir Henry Cecil Stakes (16:40). He’s been highly tried obviously, but his run in the Heron Stakes at Sandown would give him a chance.
King Of Comedy ran very well at Ascot and Sangarius won the Hampton Court, so the form has worked out well from that race.
We’re happy with him at home and he won on the Rowley Mile as a two-year-old which can only be a positive.
Newmarket on Friday
Things just didn’t happen for Good Birthday in the King George V Handicap at Ascot. He wasn’t switched on enough to cope with that kind of race, but we’re happy with him ahead of this 1m2f handicap (13:50).
His third in the London Gold Cup was excellent and a repeat of that would give him every chance.
We run two in the valuable 1m6f handicap (15:00).
Caliburn was impressive at Pontefract last time and he looks like the type of horse who should do well in this race. He’s going there fit and well and seems in great form.
He could have gone for the Old Newton Cup last week but we thought this was a better option in terms of telling us where he’d go. If he stays 1m6f, it opens up a few doors.
You never know until you try, but I hope he stays the trip well. There is a question mark over the fact he was well beaten in the Bahrain Trophy at this meeting last year.
If we were lucky enough to win this race with him, we’d certainly be looking at the Ebor next month.
Lissitzky ran well in the Northumberland Plate consolation race. Silvestre de Sousa, who rode him that day, thought he didn’t stay, so we’re dropping back in trip.
He won over the distance on the Rowley Mile in May and he could run into a place off his low weight.
The biggest race of the day is the Falmouth Stakes (15:35) where I think William Haggas’ One Master will be the one to beat.
I was very impressed by the way she travelled in the Queen Anne at Ascot, it was a race full of promise and she looks the one back among her own sex.
York on Friday
Foxtrot Lady goes up to York for the Group Three Summer Stakes (15:15).
She ran well enough in the Wokingham where she wasn’t really on the right side of the track.
We’ve been really happy with her since then, she’s in great form at home and this is the time of year when she hit her stride last year.
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