Most of the talk this week has been about the first Classics of the season and I am certainly looking forward to Newmarket at the weekend. That said there is some quality racing at Ascot to be enjoyed on Wednesday and I will be getting involved.
The Group Three Longines Sagaro Stakes at 3.10 sees a number of old friends lining-up for the two-miles. Harbour Law did nothing but improve in his first season last year signing off by winning the G.1 St Leger. Laura Mongan will have some targets set for the four-year-old this year but this is a big ask against seasoned campaigners giving them all weight. Talking earlier this week the handler said of her charge "He's matured physically and mentally and we think he's come on a lot. I'm excited, if a little nervous, but this looks the right race to start back in and he's in great shape. All being equal, I don't think he'd run again before the Gold Cup and we think he'll stay that far. After that, the races pick themselves.”
One of those old guard to consider is Pallasator who must have a chance at his best and Nearly Caught put in some good performances towards the end of last season but he does appear to need a run or two to show his best. For me the four-year-old is open to plenty of improvement still after only six runs and at 7-1 in places is the value pick.
It’s all about speed for the six furlong Group Three Merriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes at 3.45. Blue Point is clear best on his efforts last season including when third to Churchill in the G.1 Dewhurst Stakes where he appeared to struggle to get the seven. Back six today I would expect the Charlie Appleby trained colt to take this with possibly bigger prizes the aim as the season progresses; grab the 6-4.
"I am delighted with Blue Point, who wintered well in Dubai," said Appleby on Tuesday. "He has done all I have asked of him to date and I have been pleased with his preparation. He showed a lot of natural speed as a two-year-old and this race is a good starting point before hopefully going on to the Commonwealth Cup."
The straight mile faces the runners for the Listed Rundle's Paradise Stakes at 4.20. The David O’Meara trained Mondialiste takes a big drop in class from the Group One’s around the globe he has been contesting. He hasn’t been seen over a mile often either lately but has form over the eight furlongs and if at his best will take some stopping at this level. Have a couple of bob on at 11-4. Ennadd would be feared but has the penalty to defy would might be too big as ask.