He won a decent maiden at Kempton last season - the runner-up has won four times since - and he rounded off last season with a fair fifth in a Listed race at Doncaster. He doesn't look particularly well treated off a mark of 94 on that form but he is a Sepoy half-brother to the high-class sprinters Deacon Blues and The Tin Man so let's see how we get on. It has taken a Group horse to win this down the years, most recently Aclaim last year, but hopefully this renewal isn't as strong.
He has run well on both his starts at the course, winning over track and trip last September, and he has come back from a winning stint in Meydan in great form, too. He just lasted home over 7f at Wolverhampton last month and then ran equally as well for me when third over 1m at Lingfield on All-Weather finals day at Lingfield last Friday. He looks fairly handicapped on that form and the step back down to 7f should suit this front-runner but the negatives are the quick turnaround and the fact that some of these look nicely-weighted as well, notably Mix And Mingle off a mark of 99.
Brando went from strength to strength last season and he is definitely the one to beat on his Group 1 third at Ascot. Ornate probably has the best part of a stone to find with him if he is at his best - officially 12lb, in fact - so he needs to step up a fair bit to be winning this. But he ran well for me on his most recent start at Ascot last September and he has been gelded and changed stables since then, and he is also a 4yo with not many miles on the clock. And he handles fast ground well enough.
15:35 - War Decree
The form of his defeat of Thunder Snow in the Vintage Stakes has obviously worked out pretty well, and it was a shame that he picked up a small niggle after that win at Goodwood, which meant Aidan put him away for the season. Apparently the stable are very happy with him and this looks a good starting point to tell us where we go next, but we know the fast ground here will suit him well. This looks a good Craven with Rivet, who is probably just about the form horse going into the race, and Larchmont Lad in opposition though, and there has been plenty of talk about Eminent since he won his maiden here last September. In fact, I was also impressed by Benbatl's wide-margin win in a Doncaster maiden, so this looks a good Craven.
He doesn't look to have shown much on the face of it on his sole start at Newbury last season, and some of the opposition have shown a decent level of form in maidens. But who knows how he has done since - I don't, unfortunately - and the step up in trip should suit him if he takes after his sire Nayef. But, then again, there looks to be plenty of speed on his dam's side, so let's see.
This look a pretty hot handicap for its grade and I suspect you will need to a very well-treated 3yo to win it. But my horse did it well on his debut on fast ground at Yarmouth last season before finding the step up in class beyond him in a Listed race at York afterwards. A mark of 85 doesn't look a gift to me - though the Yarmouth form worked out okay, and he clearly had been showing plenty at home before that debut win for him to start favourite - but this is all about how the horses have progressed in the close season and matured. Hopefully mine has done well, but I don't know at the moment, though I am told I have (or rather my agent has) a decent record when teaming up with the trainer.