This season’s Unibet Golden Mile Handicap looks a really intriguing contest even though it isn’t the feature race of the day. The feature race is the group two King George Qatar Stakes in which Bataash is the favourite at long odds on. He looks streets better than his rivals so it should be straight forward.
Back to the Unibet Golden Mile. The Royal Hunt Cup could be a good form line into this race. Afaak beat Clon Coulis a nose in a tight finish with Vale Of Kent in 7th, So Beloved in 9th, What’s The Story in 12th, Key Victory in 15th and Zhui Feng in 23rd. Subsequently, Afaak could only manage fifth in the Diamond Jubilee Cup off 9st12 with What’s The Story reversing the form to be third. He has a monster weight of 9st10 in this race so it’ll be tough. Clon Coulis got put up 4lbs for her brilliant second and wasn’t quite good enough to win a listed last time. She’s won off 101 before but is 2lbs higher. Since Ascot, Vale Of Kent has been last of eight in a handicap at Newcastle but won the Bunbury Cup, with So Beloved behind, in July. He only ran six days ago at Ascot but probably wasn’t suited to the ground. So Beloved is getting on a bit in the age department of late but has kept himself at 110+ for the majority of his career. 105 now, 40/1 shows his chances. What’s The Story won very well off 96 at York before getting beaten five lengths at Royal Ascot. His run last time was decent. Key Victory’s last win came in the Newmarket Stakes in May 2018 when he beat Old Persian so he’s no mug but he’s not shown that level of form since. Last time was an improved effort. Zhui Feng won a Listed race in June 2018 but hasn’t been seen winning since and Amanda Perrett’s horse needs to step up to get past some rivals.
Skip back to the beginning of June and to the Epsom Derby meeting where Gossiping achieved the third leg of a treble which started off on a mark of 69. He won at Epsom by an easy five lengths and the handicapper put him up 10lbs for this to a rating of 97, a career high mark for this son of Dubawi. Seniority, last year’s winner, was second to that day. Her Majesty The Queens Dubawi gelding had won two of his three starts last season before this race and started at 9/2. He’ll be a bit bigger this year after being fourth last time. History Writer followed in these two on that day in thirteenth but won readily last time out beating Baltic Baron. He ran better than placings suggest last time and the yard is flying, having got their first group one winner at the weekend.
William Haggas trains last year’s winner Seniority and also has Mojito in the race. This Requinto gelding is a horse I’ve always followed. He hadn’t been seen since the Challenge Cup 2017 when he made his seasonal debut and won the Coral Challenge to win under Frankie, who keeps the ride. Behind him was Escobar, the aforementioned Key Victory, History Writer and Zhui Feng and Lush Life. After coming second, at Sandown to Mojito, Escobar oozed class under a still Jamie Spencer to go from last to first to win cozily. He has to give 1lbs to What’s The Story, who beat him earlier this year. His stablemate is Baltic Baron, who seems the pick of David O’Meera’s trio because Danny Tudhope is on board. He has never won but has placed second six times. A visor is on for the first time to try and get him to give that bit extra. Lush Life’s trainer/jockey combination won the big handicap at Ascot on Saturday but this filly has it tougher than Raising Sands did. She won the Whitson Cup at Sandown, finishing ahead of War Glory and History Writer. She needs to be on her A-game to beat Mojito though. She has blinkers on for the first time.
Also with blinkers on for the first time is Dark Vision. This colt won the Qatar Vintage Stakes at two at this meeting. He’s struggled since. He was only beaten one and three quarter lengths last time at Newmarket over further. Because he’s three, he gets age allowance from the others despite his 103 rating which would normally mean he would carry 9st5 if he was four. Another three year old is Beat Le Bon. The best run of his two year old campaign came in the Redcar Two Year Old Trophy when he was second but he showed could stay when he won over seven furlong the last twice, here at Goodwood and at Haydock. He carries 1lbs more than Dark Vision despite being rated 2lbs inferior.
Game Player and Indeed are the two four year olds I haven’t yet mentioned. The former is three from eleven. He’s not been beaten all that far this year and won convincingly at Lingfield in May. He didn’t have it easy last time but is a player. Indeed was having his first run in the UK when second to Chatez in the Spring Cup and has won his last two extremely convincingly. He’s a young horse on the upgrade but the draw isn’t ideal. Original Choice and War Glory are at bigger prices. The former’s last win came in December but was behind What’s The Story and Afaak last time. War Glory is good on artificial surfaces as he likes to get his toe in so this may not be ideal. Good draw but will need to improve.
8/10 Rated between 99 to 106.
7/10 last ran between 14 to 28 days ago.
7/10 won by three or four year olds
8/10 Drawn in 8 or lower
(The horses drawn in eight or lower are- 1 Game Player, 2 What’s The Story, 3 Beat Le Bon, 4 War Glory, 6 Baltic Baron, 7 Zhui Feng & 8 Original Choice)
9/10 have ran at Newmarket before
LEAVING – BEAT LE BON
MOJITO is likely to be the favourite but he’s my selection. I think he was so impressive last time and is the proverbial ‘group horse in a handicap’. Beat Le Bon was my other choice even before I found out that he fitted to the trends and he looks a good price at 12/1. He’s a horse on the upgrade along with Indeed, who the handicapper probably hasn’t got a hold of yet. Clon Coulis ran a blinder at Royal Ascot and is weighted to beat her conqueror from that day.
Top 4 – Mojito, Beat Le Bon, Indeed & Clon Coulis
REST OF THE CARD
R6- Mirage Dancer