Project Dante is an obvious first day ‘special’ in the group two July Stakes over six furlongs of ‘good to firm’ Newmarket this afternoon when the fabulous mid-summer meeting promises sustained quality action; two-year-olds are always my main focus and Brian Smart’s charge meets median requirement, judged on a tremendous Royal Ascot third three weeks ago.
After scoring narrowly first-up at York in May this Showcasing colt was trained for the group two Norfolk Stakes also over five furlongs but blotted his copybook by missing the break which left a mountain to climb; throughout Project Dante applied himself to the task and stormed through in the final furlong where his effort just failed when Perfect Power and Go Bears beat him by a head/nose. ‘Unlucky loser’ doesn’t come close to describing the vexation of veteran jockey Graham Lee, never one to make excuses and fiercely self-critical.
Ironically Project Dante improved his time-handicap by at least thirteen pounds and so over an extra furlong I’m convinced he’ll be too good for ten rivals in this highly-prestigious grade two dash. Enough ‘recovery time’ has been allowed and all signals are down, unopposable in my book.
Ground conditions will be in stark contrast on ‘soft’ Doncaster where Adaay To Remember again looks a solid betting proposition in an eleven-runner Novice Stakes over six furlongs; ‘remember’ Patrick Owens’ charge doing this column proud four weeks ago when the Adaay filly landed a tremendous gamble on Lingfield turf under Lewis Steward?
Adaay To Remember scooted five lengths clear, improving her time-handicap mark considerably from an encouraging debut at Nottingham; fillies in form are often devastating and Lewis is confident.
Evening turf-flat meetings are scheduled for Epsom and Newbury where, on a ‘good to soft’ surface Brighton debut winner Robjohn can return to the winners’ enclosure after an eighteen-runner Novice Stakes over six furlongs of the picturesque Berkshire circuit.
Since successful Richard Hannon-trained Robjohn has been second three times and last month ‘clocked’ a career-best time-figure around Chester where form is like gold dust to juvenile aficionados.
Obviously a penalty has anchored the Mukhadram colt but Hannon has booked stable apprentice Thore Hammer Hansen, who claims 3lbs allowance, and from an advantageous draw Robjohn justifies support. What beats him will win!
Down the years this-type Newbury maiden has been so profitable, so many ‘non-triers’ just having an educational outing and they are closely monitored, believe me.
Selections, Newmarket, 2.25 Project Dante (e.w); Doncaster, 2.50 Aday To Remember (e.w); Newbury 6.20 Robjohn (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