Is Palace Pier the real deal? He carries a heavy responsibility on Sunday, having lured Frankie Dettori into giving up the Ebor meeting to ride him in the Prix Jacques le Marois, for which he is the hot favourite.
He might be the only hot thing in Deauville, as the forecast temperature looks pretty ordinary for August and the rain will continue during Sunday’s action. It will be a very different surface to any Palace Pier has encountered and will blunt his pace.
Only with trepidation can we oppose any classy, unbeaten colt representing the Gosden / Dettori partnership. But a one-length win over Pinatubo and Wichita is not irresistible form.
I was tempted by Persian King, whose French Guineas win was on soft, but the balance of his form gets less impressive with probing. Instead, the pairing of Circus Maximus (2.50) and Christophe Soumillon is one to fire the imagination at 5-1 or bigger.
Circus Maximus is always vulnerable to a turn of foot like the one shown by Mohaather at Goodwood, but he ran well in defeat there. Ground like this gives him a chance of outbattling his rivals, as he has done in three other Group Ones, and he should give us a run in the Marois, to be shown on Sky Sports Racing.
1.50 Newbury Having shown his ability to cope with this sort of ground at Haydock, Risk Taker looks the answer in the first of seven races on ITV4. Clive Cox’s chestnut appears to have started in handicaps on a lenient rating.
2.05 Ripon Now back to the mark from which he won this last year, Hortzadar has been knocking on the door and the useful claimer Sean Kirrane may be able to get him over the line.
2.25 Newbury From the Owen Burrows yard now enjoying an unprecedented period of hotness, Danyah was a tidy winner on his handicap debut and has been given time to progress.
2.40 Ripon Fountain Cross is talented but might lack the raw pace of Internationaldream, third at a big price in the Molecomb.
3.00 Newbury Jim Crowley is back in Baasem’s saddle for the first time since he was winning last summer and it might be worth giving him another chance at 8-1 or so, now that he’s back on muddy ground.
3.15 Ripon Available at 33-1 in places, Deputise is not certain to love a big-field test like this but looks well treated on the lowest mark he’s had since his juvenile days. He fared very respectably in a couple of all-weather spins in the spring after joining Michael Wigham and excuses were available for a couple of the flops at the end of his time with William Haggas. His new trainer will surely get him winning at some point.
Tips by Chris Cook
12.00 Balagan 12.30 Soldier On Parade 1.05 Mille Of Mayo (nap) 1.40 Get Back Get Back 2.15 Ready And Able 2.50 Classic Escape 3.25 Tricky Customer 4.00 The Bees Knees
12.55 Urban War 1.30 Cindy Looper 2.05 Hortzadar 2.40 Internationaldream 3.15 Deputise 3.50 Zeeband 4.25 Magna Moralia 4.55 Baarij
1.15 Renaissance Rose 1.50 Risk Taker 2.25 Danyah (nb) 3.00 Baasem 3.35 Miss Jingles 4.10 One Day 4.40 Mashhoor 5.10 Tasfeeq 5.40 Shamaroon 6.10 Fahad
3.35 Newbury There’s a lot to like about the progress Miss Jingles has been making and the Goodwood winner is surely up to Listed level. This ground might not be perfect for her but that also seems true of her most significant rivals.
Trial return of racecourse bookmakers from Tuesday
Bookmakers will return to British racecourses on Tuesday for the first time since March in a two-week trial intended to establish whether they can trade safely under Covid‑19 restrictions. Limited numbers of bookmakers will be allowed at tracks, taking business only from racehorse owners.
“We’re going to trial it to see if it works,” said Paul Swain of the Racecourse Association. “After two weeks, we can either extend it, change it or stop it.” Although cards are the preferred method of transaction, bookmakers will be allowed to accept cash, in contrast to the Goodwood trial that was abandoned at a late stage a fortnight ago.
“It’s a bit of a buzz out of the blue,” said the veteran bookie Joe Huddlestone, who, along with Keith Johnson, will be allowed to take bets during York’s Ebor meeting that starts on Wednesday. “I’m not thinking my finances are going to change overnight.
“I haven’t missed an Ebor meeting in over 40 years and, funnily enough, I was saying to my wife that we’ve got kind of used to not going racing but it would really hit home if they’d had Ebor week without us. And lo and behold, now we’re going.”
Racecourse bookmakers have fretted about being the sport’s forgotten sector since racing professionals returned to action in June. They fear the world is moving on without them, as punters open online betting accounts and become accustomed to starting prices derived from high street firms rather than on-course trade.
As many as six bookmakers may be able to trade at Musselburgh a week on Wednesday, if the track gets the green light to test the return of spectators. It is understood the venue has asked the Scottish government to allow a crowd of 600 to attend. If approved, it would become the first trial of a crowd at a racecourse, a fortnight before the Doncaster St Leger meeting, which has already been named as a likely pilot event. Organisers are said to be putting the finishing touches to their operational plan.