Press Association: Wissahickon set for a winning return at Haydock.
London – The Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock appears a perfect opportunity for the prolific Wissahickon to make a winning return on Saturday.
John Gosden’s colt turned the Cambridgeshire into a procession last September, since when he has won the Quebec Stakes, the Winter Derby Trial and the Winter Derby itself on the all-weather at Lingfield. He suffered a shock defeat on his most recent outing in the Easter Classic on Good Friday, but there were mitigating factors as he was trapped wide for much of the way, and perhaps it was just one run too many after a busy winter.
Some of the subsequent performances produced by the winner, Matterhorn, also make Wissahickon’s effort to finish second a little more meritorious than it appeared at the time. Gosden’s charge has enjoyed a freshening up period and remains very much unexposed on turf after just three runs.
The Charlie Fellowes-trained Mayfair Spirit can complete a hat-trick at the Merseyside circuit in the Vulcan Village Handicap. The Charm Spirit gelding is enjoying an excellent three-year-old campaign, improving significantly from his juvenile year to win four of his six starts in 2019 so far.
He has already risen 7kg in the process, but he had a little in hand when scoring by a length on his latest visit to Haydock and the runner-up, Mutasaamy, has since won emphatically. Mayfair Spirit is only 2kg higher for that latest triumph and it might not be enough to stop him going in again on a track he clearly enjoys.
Soffika can maintain her unbeaten record in the german-thoroughbred.com Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket. For one of Sir Michael Stoute’s, the Zoffany filly was sent off at a generous-looking 5-1 in a novice event at Pontefract – a price that looked even bigger as she went on to win some authority.
It looks significant that Stoute jumps straight from a race of that nature to a Group 3, and the hint should be taken.
On the same card, Roger Varian’s Motawaj is likely to take plenty of beating in the BBAG-Sales.de Handicap. The son of Dubawi shaped with promise in three well-contested maidens as a two-year-old and appears to have found his place in handicap company since being gelded during the off-season.
A promising comeback run to finish third at Nottingham was followed by his first victory at Kempton last month, winning as he liked off a mark of 74. He made a mockery of a 4kg hike when dominating by six lengths at Sandown a fortnight later and while the handicapper has slapped him with a monster 7kg rise ahead of his latest assignment, he is a horse on a steep upward trajectory.
It is Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup day at Ascot and the admirable Danzeno can get punters off to a flyer in the opening Dash. The eight-year-old counts a course and distance win among his eight career victories and returns in rude health, having won two of his three previous outings this year.
Those two victories sandwiched a fine effort to finish third in the Wokingham here and is only 3lb higher for this assignment in a less competitive affair.
Aircraft Carrier is a sporting each-way selection following a gelding operation in the Stayers. Trained by John Ryan, the four-year-old has a touch of class about him at his best and can end his recent losing run.
Koeman can hit the back of the net for Mick Channon in the Challenge, with the William Haggas-trained Victory Day the one to be with in the concluding Sprint. – Press Association