‘General’ is expected to rule on a day of ‘buts!’

Matamua, one of two fancied Simon Crisford-trained declarations, has the call in a Maiden Fillies Stakes over seven furlongs of ‘ good to soft’ Lingfield today, mainly due to her fourth outing which resulted in a career-best time-handicap effort at Nottingham only thirteen days ago; the Lope de Vega three-year-old has already proved a model of consistency, a good basis for a solid betting proposition.

Handicap experience is second to none.

Andrea Atzeni becomes the fifth different jockey to partner twice-placed Matamua which, though disconcerting, is unlikely to be an issue with several pounds in hand of stable companion Sense Of Humour and eleven others, best of which might just be once-raced Makinitup, sixth (of 16!) over a similar distance of Newmarket’s July course last month. Monitor Peter Chapple-Hyam’s charge, hopefully for next time.

An hour or so later a ‘favourite’ jockey, Rossa Ryan, partners Coup De Force in a five-runner Nursery Handicap over six furlongs, extra distance being my singular concern; Stuart Kittow’s charge has only Goodwood selling plate winner Rose Mystica to beat on actual time-figures.

Coup De Force, not disgraced despite being fifteen in the group two ‘Queen Mary’ at Royal Ascot last month when a ‘social runner’ for owners, is worth chancing because the Lethal Force filly, an easy winner at Chepstow beforehand, should be cantering over lesser quality rivals but Rosa Mystica does indeed add spice at a difference of 13lbs on a likely demanding surface. Nothing straightforward in this game, eh?

‘Un-watered’ Bath stages a seven-race card on good ground which affords ultra-consistent, hitherto luckless General Lee an excellent opportunity to end a vexing sequence in the nine-runner Maiden Stakes over a mile but, as ever, there could be a ‘fly in the ointment’ with another vexing rival Roscioli similarly-profiled; expect them to fight out the finish. Whatever transpires we have a sound each-way treble for the ‘trixie!’

Then it’s all systems go for an intriguing ‘Euro’ soccer semi-final tonight, England against Denmark ; I’m far from certain about the ‘Three Lions’ but from a commercial point of view they need to win to keep this elongated competition alive at the weekend. We’ve been here before, remember Iceland five years ago?

Selections, Lingfield, 2.45 Matamua; 3.55 Coup De Force; 6.05 General Lee (e.w).

 Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019