London: Stradivarius set himself up for a #1million bonus with victory in the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup last year – and he can repeat the trick at York on Friday.
John Gosden’s charge emerged as the undisputed star of the staying division in 2018, ending the campaign unbeaten in five starts and with the Weatherbys bonus firmly in his back pocket to boot.
An impressive three-length scorer in this race first time up, his margins of victory were not quite so impressive at Ascot and Goodwood, but he again showed a love of the Knavesmire when winning the Lonsdale Cup to secure the #1million windfall.
Stradivarius was possibly just feeling the effects of those efforts when he made relatively hard work of a final win on Champions Day. But a lengthy winter break should have restored his energy levels, and he can tee up another bonus
Gosden and Frankie Dettori can also strike gold with Twist ‘N’ Shake in the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes.
Handled by Luca Cumani during her juvenile career, she switched to Gosden when that trainer retired and showed she had oodles of promise when beaten just a short head by Maqsad on her first start for the team.
It was no surprise to see her canter home seven lengths clear at Nottingham on her most recent outing, and her Coronation Stakes entry perhaps shows the regard in which she is held.
This Listed heat looks a nice stepping stone to better things later in the campaign.
Baileys In Bloom made a splash on her debut at Beverley last month and could go well at a decent price in the Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes.
While it was only a moderate event on the Westwood, Richard Fahey’s charge did not enjoy the best of runs and can be rated a shade better than the 0.50-length verdict.
Habub is two from two so far, and if his Diamond Jubilee Stakes entry is to come to anything he really should be winning at Newbury for Owen Burrows. The four-year-old was a clear-cut winner on his only start last term before
making a splash with a five-length win on his reappearance in a novice heat at Lingfield last month.
That was only a modest event, but he was giving chunks of weight to the second and should be up to the task in the Coolmore Stud Handicap.
Velorum merits a second look as he returns to action in the Planche Property Investment & Rentals Novice Stakes at Newmarket. He had just one start for Charlie Appleby last year, beaten two lengths into second by Skardu – who went on to land the Craven Stakes last month before finishing a fine third in the 2000 Guineas.
If Velorum can run anywhere near that kind of form, he may emerge best in what looks a competitive heat.
Shimmering Dawn can make the long journey to Hamilton pay dividends in the Palmaris Integrated Facilities Services William Wallace Handicap. She did not enjoy the best of runs on her return but still managed to win by two lengths at Chelmsford, and looks a filly on the up. – Press Association