Last Updated: 05/09/14 2:01pm
Squats v Profitable: Get ready for the rematch
Our column is back with all the hot gossip ahead of the weekend's feature action.
Profitable can see off old conqueror Squats in a fascinating rematch for the Wondering Wine Company Nursery at Ascot on Saturday.
Just a neck separated the pair in what was only a four runner handicap at Haydock a month ago, and there is likely to be little between them again as both are reported to have improved since. The fact the runner up carried overweight adds further spice to the rematch, as does Clive Cox's decision to give him an entry in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury in two weeks’ time.
The Beechdown trainer has always held Alan Spence's colt in the highest regard, and he is looking to stable jockey Adam Kirby, who missed the latest appearance but won on him at Sandown on his previous start, to prove the difference and avenge the defeat.
Sheikh Hamdan's blue and white colours will be carried by a quarter of the 12 entries in the Mcgee Group Maiden but the owner's first choice pilot Paul Hanagan was booked earlier in the week for Roger Varian's well regarded newcomer Intilaaq.
Given Richard Hannon's Mutasayyid showed plenty of promise in the same colours first time up, the former champ must fancy his chances on the son of Dynaformer, who boasts a classic winning dam in the French 1000 Guineas winner Torrestrella.
Brown Diamond can follow up last week's win at Sandown in the Ritz Club Fillies Handicap. Charlie Hills expected big things from this filly at the start of the season, but she has her problems and has not been easy to train.
However, he has had a clear run with her in recent weeks and she was able to run out an emphatic winner of a small field, but good quality, maiden at the Esher course. She has taken those exertions well and looks nicely weighted for her first venture in a handicap.
Sole Power can see off the challenge of well fancied Music Master and win the Group One Betfred Sprint Cup. Eddie Lynam has a real stranglehold on the sprinting division this season, but he is forced to stray from his winning formula of running Slade Power in the top six furlong races by running five furlong specialist Sole Power here.
He is fresh from an amazing win from well off the pace in the Nunthorpe, a success all the more remarkable because he was short of match fitness after being laid low by a dose of ring worm, the exact same problem which has forced Slade Power to sidestep this race.
Sole Power blew for some considerable time after the York showpiece, but confidence is high he will be back to his imperious best and confirm that he, too, is a very high level performer over the longer trip. The ground has dried out to his liking and the pace is likely to allow Richard Hughes to drop him in and come, once again, with that devastating late surge in the closing stages.
William Haggas, trainer of Squats, should go close with Roossey in the Betfred Goals Galore Nursery.
The son of Acclamation has some solid form behind him and followed a win at Ripon with an eye-catching fourth in a valuable handicap at the York August meeting. He remains on a decent mark and may just have the edge over Teruntum Star, who will find this company much easier than the Gimcrack Stakes at York on his latest start.
The progressive Artistic Muse is now with Charlie Hills after a successful spell with his father Barry and she can make her presence felt in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap. A winner over a mile and a half at Ffos Las last month, she was just found out by the lack of a finishing kick over the same trip at Goodwood. Hills senior has always felt that stamina is her forte and this extra two furlongs should play to her strengths.
Russian Reward is well regarded by Paul Cole and he should shake up the front two in the market in the four-runner totepool Conditions Stakes at Kempton. Although he will have to improve a good deal on his debut third to Salt Island at Windsor, the winner of that race is very highly regarded by the Hills' team, and his chance was hampered by his lack of experience. He will know more of what is required this time and the step up to seven furlongs is also a plus.
Spring Offensive, like Russian Reward, a son of Iffraaj, looks to have been given a more than workable mark by the assessor after his win at Redcar last time and will be fancied by the Richard Fahey team to follow up on his handicap debut in the Judith Marshall Memorial Nursery at York on Sunday.
Ya Hade Ye Delil, an unraced son of Raven's Pass, is not going to be the easiest horse to get to grips with for commentators when he makes his debut and if word from the Hannon emporium is right, he could figure at the business end of a number of good races in both the near and distant future. Has produced a more than useful level of work for some time at home and he will be one to take a close look at when he does make his first racecourse appearance.
Dance Track, like Ya Hade Ye Delil, sidesteps the valuable maiden at Ascot in favour of an entry next week. He has been showing Charlie Hills plenty since his promising debut fifth at Newmarket last month, and looks a potentially useful prospect.