Lah Ti Dar the one to beat but Aidan’s two are decent
Lah Ti Dar is the stand-out at these weights but I don’t think we have seen the best of the boss’s two fillies just yet.
There is very little between the pair at their best – Sun Maiden would definitely have a chance on the form she showed on her first two starts last season – but Rawdaa has had the benefit of a run and the step back up in trip after a good return over an inadequate 1m in a competitive Listed race at Kempton will undoubtedly suit. And this ground should be fine for her.
But, form-wise, she has plenty to find against Lah Ti Dar, though 1m2f on ground that may be on the quick side may be sharp enough for the impressive Galtres winner.
Too Darn Hot the obvious Dante winner but plenty of promising colts can step up
We can all hope that we are on the best horse and talk about potential as much as we want, but the fact is that if Too Darn Hot reproduces the exceptional form that he showed in winning the Dewhurst and sees out the trip, as his breeding, at least, suggests is likely, then he will take plenty of stopping.
We saw proven Group 1 form again come to the fore with Anthony Van Dyck, third in that Dewhurst, winning at Lingfield on Saturday, and we all have to step up considerably to beat the favourite.
But it is clear that he hasn’t had a straightforward spring and my colt is one of those looking to progress to his level and he did well to win his Group 2 last season, looking for all the world like he needed further, and his pedigree certainly suggests he is likely to relish 1m2f and beyond. And that Beresford form has worked out well enough.
But, for all that the stable have done well in the trials, this is his first start since September and common sense tells you he will improve for the run, and quick ground would be a first for him, too. I hope he will be good enough to get competitive and give us plenty to build on for Epsom, but Aidan has made no secret that he will need it.
There are clearly some other unexposed and exciting colts in here. In fact, Line Of Duty is a Group 1 winner and I wouldn’t underestimate him at all. I was impressed with him in America and I think he would be a very dangerous opponent for any Derby hopeful. I was second to Telecaster at Windsor and, again, I was very taken by his performance on the day, but the form is possibly not as good as it looked to me at the time.
Surfman won a bad race very easily at Newcastle and has plenty to prove, but I have a lot of time for Almania. I rode him when he beat a subsequent winner at Sandown back in August, the front two pulling well clear, and he has done well. He is another Australia, who has already won Derby Trials with Broome and Bangkok.
A win for any one from four of five in here wouldn’t really surprise me and, in truth, it’s a race to watch and learn from, first and foremost.
Competitive handicap but open to plenty of improvement
Ground on the quick side would be an unknown for him but I probably think he prefers a decent surface. He clearly shaped pretty well when second at Haydock in the soft on his return, form that looks okay, and remains open to plenty of improvement given his lightly-raced profile. It’s not hard to see him coming forward from Haydock and running well but this is a very competitive handicap and he is drawn a bit wider than ideal. He should run nicely, though.
Impressive comeback win offers plenty of hope
Soldier’s Call is the one to beat on his 2yo form but he does carry a 5lb penalty and this has the look of a pretty open Listed race to me. I sat on him for the first time at Nottingham on his return and was pretty impressed as he beat his market rival there in a good time – though everything was posting a good time that day – and that runner-up went on to run okay behind Calyx, too. I can see him progressing from that and giving a good account himself of him here, up in grade again.
Well-bred colt but he’ll improve for the run
As is normally the case with the unraced horses, I wouldn’t know too much about him but he is a lovely colt. He is an American Pharoah, who has already made his mark over here with impressive Naas winner Monarch Of Egypt, and he is a half-brother to Caravaggio. So he has the pedigree, all right, but he will improve for the run, for all that Aidan’s juveniles are running well in the main.
More improvement needed to win but not without a chance
The stable continue to do well with their team of Flat horses and this one would appear to have run two solid races of late. That suggests that he is what he is as regards his current mark, but he steps up to 2m for the first time in this sphere and hopefully that can bring about the improvement needed to see him winning this. It’s quite clearly a very competitive handicap, though, far more so than his recent starts in smaller fields, so he has plenty to prove.
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