Dazzling Dan, one of eleven ‘decs’ for the concluding ‘aged’ class 3 handicap over six furlongs of ‘soft’ Ascot this afternoon, represents a ‘throwback’ for this long-standing racing journalist; the Pam Sly-trained five-year-old is in ‘the lucky last’, by default.

Over the years I’ve often advised the Peterborough-based dual-purpose trainer and, honestly, I’ve made decent profit, especially with Speciosa!  

Pam, from a farming family, was always a hard-worker and grafted successfully, after a brief riding career in ‘point-to-point’ racing, at the National Hunt venues of the English racing scene; consistency was always a word one associated with her modus operandi. Eventually a family decision to train on the flat was made, for commercial reasons, in other words profit. It worked!

In 2005 the Sly stables housed a superb, quality Danehill Dancer filly, one of three owners of ‘Team Speciosa’ was brother Michael!

A slow burner Speciosa won two-year-old races which included a ‘group one’ and in the following year landed the 1000 Guineas at massive odds, as older readers of this column will doubtless recall.

Nothing like those incredible days can ever be repeated but Pam’s ‘flat’ business prospered and her current ‘star’ is Dazzling Dan; a few weeks ago he ended a fallow spell with victory at Yarmouth under apprentice Ray Dawson and last time, significantly, achieved a ‘career-best’ time-handicap mark over a similar distance at York; ‘train him for the ‘Bunbury’ at Newmarket in July’ was my advice.

Pam agreed but missed the entry date which is why Dazzling Dan faces a small field as against a ‘cavalry charge’ at HQ tomorrow; I’m delighted because if he has an outstanding opportunity at the Berkshire course.

That’s my thought process and with Ray claiming 3lbs I’ll pay a rare visit to the handicap scene.

Second day of the ‘July meeting’ kicks-off with a real ‘special’ because Sweeping is clear best-in to make it third time lucky in a fourteen-runner Maiden Stakes over seven furlongs; this twice-raced Siyouni colt nigh on replicated his debut effort in the ‘Chesham’ at Royal Ascot and though several lightly/unraced types could be anything I’ll be making an ‘investment’ on Hollie Doyles’ mount before, hopefully, playing-up winnings on Oscula in the ‘Duchess Of Cambridge’ group two race.

Selections, Newmarket, 1.15 Sweeping (e.w); 2.25 Oscula (e.w); Ascot, 4.00 Dazzling Dan (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