Regular readers of the ante-post pieces on here will know that I was fairly keen on Swiss Spirit in the Temple Stakes, recommending him as a bet alongside the solid Sole Power; the latter ran below form but the cash was so nearly landed on Swiss Spirit who, in truth, should have won.
I was actually at York on Temple Stakes day but managed to watch the race in one of the on-course betting shops and, so annoyed was I that Swiss Spirit narrowly failed to catch the resurgent Kingsgate Native, I launched several race cards that happened to be in my hand across the establishment, striking a poor, unsuspecting chap a telling blow on the shoulder. Apologies mate, but I was fuming.
I left the shop nursing not only a feather-light wallet but also a new found loathing of the Roger Varian-trained Morawij, who stumbled at the start, badly hampering Swiss Spirit and arguably costing him the race. Can John Gosden's charge gain much deserved compensation here? Quite possibly, but it would be wise to assess his potential rivals first.
The flag bearer going into the Temple Stakes was Sole Power, who more often than not runs his race in these top sprints. He should probably have won more in his career to date but the impression created when he scored in the Palace House Stakes was that he was right at the top of his game, even if that win came under his optimum conditions, a well-run five furlongs on quick ground. He encountered such conditions once more at Haydock so it was fairly disappointing that he could manage only a respectable effort, but he is the sort that will bounce back to form fairly rapidly.
South African raider Shea Shea is deserving of plenty of respect as on the Timeform weight-adjusted figures he is the one to beat. The six-year-old, successful on eight occasions in his native country, took his form to a new level in Dubai earlier this year, being beaten on his first start at Meydan prior to trouncing his rivals in a listed event and then landing the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, beating Sole Power for both wins.
Shea Shea appeals as being a high-class sprinter and one more than capable of making his mark in this country, particularly with the prospect of him having even more still to offer, but it is worth bearing in mind that form at Meydan in the winter/spring does not always travel through to the summer, and he could be worth taking on at a relatively short price.
Connections of Reckless Abandon have stated recently that this race is the intended target rather than the Diamond Jubilee and, although he has landed a brace of Group 1's over six furlongs, the suspicion is that a stiff five will be ideal when bearing in mind the speed he has shown throughout his career.
Reckless Abandon was unbeaten in a stellar juvenile career, his conquests including the Norfolk Stakes, the Prix Morny and the Middle Park, and although he was beaten for the first time when third in the Temple Stakes on reappearance he strengthened his prospects of mixing it in the top sprints throughout this season. The worry was that he wouldn't train on, as he is only a small horse, but physically he looks to have strengthened and developed over the winter and is far from out of the question that he could do better still, being just six races into his career.
Having discussed the second, third and fourth from the Temple we really ought to touch on the winner, Kingsgate Native, who took his resurgence up a notch when getting his head in front for the first time since 2010. The point to remember when considering his chances is that his Haydock win was his bets effort for three years, even if he was a fortunate winner, but it is questionable as to just how long he can maintain this sort of form.
The final one that deserves a mention is Pearl Secret who made an instant impression, landing his first three assignments in impressive fashion prior to taking a listed race at Sandown, where he wasn't quite so flashy but was disadvantaged by the distinct lack of pace. His performance in the Nunthorpe, where he finished only ninth, can be forgiven as he enjoyed no luck whatsoever having been poorly drawn and it is still hoped that he can develop into a force to be reckoned with in the sprinting division, but whether he can land a race of this nature on his reappearance has to be a doubt.
Shea Shea clearly merits plenty of respect, as he sets the standard based upon his form in Dubai and could even improve a little bit more, but that form has to travel from Meydan to Ascot and if he underperforms there are a host of dangers lying in wait. Reckless Abandon and Swiss Spirit both appeal as being upwardly mobile sprinters and seem sure to go well, with marginal preference given to the latter here. He really should have won the Temple Stakes and has always struck as one that would eventually take his place towards the top of the sprinting tree; he can confirm that impression with success in this Group 1.
Back Swiss Spirit in the Kings Stand Stakes
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