Time may tell MEKONG (York, 3.00) faced a hopeless task last time at Sandown, but victory in Saturday’s Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Stakes could still put him in line for a million pound payday in August.
Striving to overhaul leading Ascot Gold Cup candidate Dee Ex Bee up the Esher straight proved beyond Sir Michael Stoute’s likeable four-year-old, but the prospect of encountering similar quality on the Knavesmire this afternoon seems fairly remote. Unlike one or two of his adversaries, Mekong won’t find underfoot conditions unsuitable given he powered to an impressive heavy ground triumph at Haydock last September.
The ability of Stoute to develop and nurture older horses is almost unparalleled, so it seems safe to assume there is more improvement to come from the sizeable Mekong while a long-range entry in the Group 1 Irish Leger later in the campaign may offer an insight into the son of Frankel’s potential.
Mekong 2pt win @ Evens
Mekong is part of your Daily Double for Saturday.
The former gained revenge for a head defeat at Doncaster in April to gamely lift a Newmarket handicap last time and looks well drawn to produce another huge performance. However, Moraawed raced a little lazily at HQ and connections reach for the blinkers here. He showcased a sharp turn of foot at Doncaster and may not have enjoyed Newmarket last time so is afforded another chance.
A split-stakes approach is advised.
Dazzling Dan 1pt win @ 13-2
Moraawed 1pt win @ 13-2
The ability to stay well and handle easy ground are going to be vital attributes here and the selection boasts both so may be tough to topple. His speed figures are improving with each outing and it will be disappointing if his progression is halted today.
Gravistas 2pt win (NON-RUNNER)
The mare had shown little for connections in Ireland but the switch to Rebecca Menzies has worked a treat and whilst well beaten on her stable bow over hurdles, is now on a hat-trick on the flat. Her debut success was on fast going but she then took the field apart at Nottingham in the mud and may get similar conditions on Sunday. Her basement handicap mark of just 49 is going to take a hammering so she looks well worth supporting with a 5lb penalty.
Maid in Manhattan 2pt win
COTUBANAMA (Salisbury, 4.45) is 2-3 here, including winning a heavy-ground Class 3 handicap on only here second outing. Erratic since - she was even tried in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Ascot - the selection managed another success here last September on quick going before a poor run at Leicester put paid to her season.
Cotubanama is slowly getting her act together this year and may have finished closer at Leicester last time had she not stumbled at the start. She will hopefully have ideal conditions on Sunday and can maintain her impressive track stats at a nice price.
Cotubanama 1pt ew
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