London – Trinity Star can add funds to the Royal Ascot kitty by winning at Wetherby today.
Fortune has deserted the Michael Dods-trained five-year-old of late, but that can change for the better when he reports for duty in a 2000m handicap in Yorkshire.
The gelded son of Kheleyf has been kept busy since March, yet has not found the back of the net in seven starts this year. Context is required, though, as he was a little unlucky not to win at Ayr on 24 May when he overcame a tough draw to finish quickly for second place.
Trinity Star was only beaten a head by Gworn and would probably have won within a handful more strides.
The same two horses then renewed rivalry back in Scotland a week later. Gworn upheld the form with a 1.50-length victory, with Trinity Star fifth.
That, again, perhaps does not tell the full story as Dods’ inmate was beaten less than two lengths, despite missing the break in a falsely run encounter. He also had to be switched for a clean run to the line, so that was not a bad effort from a horse who was backed as if defeat was unthinkable.
Trinity Star is three-points (1.5kg) higher at Wetherby but remains a very well-handicapped animal on his best form. Those losses at Ayr last time can be recouped in a moderate race with the yard in great form of late.
Willbeme has not won for three years but there are seedlings of cautious optimism ahead of a 1200m handicap at Carlisle. The nine-year-old mare is now in training with Simon West, for whom she made a decent debut at Haydock a few weeks ago.
Willbeme will not have appreciated the soft ground on Merseyside, nor was she particularly in her element over 1400m. Be that as it may, she still shaped with a hint of verve to take third place behind Courier, so it appears the change of scenery has done her no harm.
The hope is that a return to a shorter distance on a brisker surface will stir the fires within her belly off a humble mark of 65, given she was rated 98 at her peak.
Midnight Malibu ought to run well at Nottingham. The four-year-old filly must have pleased trainer Tim Easterby at Musselburgh earlier this month when she only succumbed to Longroom.
Midnight Malibu did well to take the silver medal that day as she was at the apex of a rapid gallop throughout, whereas the winner was ridden with more restraint.
Easterby’s sprinter runs in the 1000m fillies’ handicap off the same mark and is clearly at somewhere near the same sort of level that saw her knock off back-to-back victories at Chester and Ascot last July. This is her time of the year.
Manton Grange won pleasingly at Leicester three weeks ago and has the scope for further progress at Windsor.
George Baker’s four-year-old is lightly raced for her age and should not be inconvenienced going back up to 1600m in a weak-looking handicap. – Press Association.