The towering presence of Aidan O'Brien again overshadows a UK trial today with Anthony Van Dyck, winner of the Irish Futurity before finishing third in the Dewhurst, clearly feared given the form his horses have enjoyed in the past fortnight.
He raced 10 times on the flat so should be at home with the hurly-burly of a big-field handicap and narrowly gains the nod over emphatic Ludlow scorer Sofia’s Rock who shares a similar profile. That Liverpool effort was the pick of his figures this term and a flat track with some cut in the ground look his optimum conditions.
Trainer Roger Fell has already showcased his talents at Ascot when Burnt Sugar landed a gamble in last year’s International and in PRESIDENTIAL (Ascot, 4.00) he looks to boast another nominee for a prestigious handicap at the Berkshire venue.
The selection, who relishes soft ground, caught the eye with an encouraging comeback at Newmarket behind Mubtasim and that form has subsequently been enhanced by victories for runner-up On The Warpath, an emphatic winner of a warm sprint on 1,000 Guineas day, and Game Player in fourth.
Presidential appeared as though his Newmarket reappearance would improve his fitness and tighten him up for a race of this nature and his patient run style should be well suited to a track where late closers are often favoured.
Dan Skelton has done well in Sunday's race and runs his unbeaten four-time bumper winner Longhouse Sale, who is likely to go off at cramped odds. However, SANTANI (Ludlow, 2.30) could well spoil the party, having bolted up on his UK bow 19 days ago following his transfer from France.
The four-year-old may not have won in 15 attempts on the flat but still accumulated over £50,000 in earnings and cruised to victory over course and distance in a warm time for new connections. Messy at the first but slick at the last, he was imperious and returns to Shropshire with a fine speed figure to boot.
Santani 1pt win
COURT ROYALE (Ludlow, 3.40) has track stats that read 211, the latest win recorded early last month with a career-best performance. The six-year-old took advantage of a drop in class, loved the perfect jumping ground and fast pace, and pounced at the last to beat the warm favourite Snapdragon Fire.
This looks competitive but conditions should be fine and with notable speed figures for the track, Court Royale van follow up.
Court Royale 2pt win
Santani is part of your Daily Double for Sunday.
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