Shamshon's star could rise further in Mill Reef
SATURDAY'S big betting race may come from Ayr but with three Group races Newbury's card has plenty of class and the Group 2 Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes could produce a potential superstar with Richard Hannon's Shamshon.
The Mill Reef (2.20) has consistently thrown up subsequent Group 1 winners, with Excellent Art, Dark Angel, Lord Shanakill and Awzaan all going on to win at the highest level since 2006, while Caspar Netscher and Moohaajim have won the last two runnings.
Shamshon, who is unbeaten in both career starts and won the Listed Prix De La Vallee D'Auge at Deauville on his last start, is the 5-2 favourite.
"Shamshon has always looked the part at home," said Hannon. "He now moves up two grades so will need to improve again, but he has plenty of speed and I'm hopeful he will enjoy the ground. The extra furlong won't be a problem."
British Champions Sprint winner Maarek makes his second start for new trainer Barry Lalor in the Group 3 Dubai International Airport World Trophy (3.30).
"He was off since Royal Ascot before having his first run for us at the Curragh last weekend where his chance wasn't helped by getting stuck behind horses before half-way. He's travelled over well but we'd like the ground a good bit softer than it is," said Lalor.
Newbury's other Group 3 is the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup (1.50), while at Newmarket there are two big sales races as well as the Betfred Cesarewitch Trial that could provide clues for next month's 2m2f heritage handicap.
Today's key pointers
Look out for Sharestan if he runs in the 2.05 at Ayr, who goes well fresh. He is returning from a 175-day absence and if you include his racecourse debut his record after a 100-day layoff reads 111.
Mares don't have a terrific record in the Ayr Gold Cup (3.50) recently, but the last two winners of this big handicap had run in the Great St Wilfred on their previous start, so mud-loving Spinatrix really does look the right type for the race.
Ralph Beckett's form figures at Ayr since 2010 read 119722415 (3-9 +£7.17), so anything he sends there warrants interest. He has a few set to head north but Group 1 placed Anna's Pearl could run well in the 4.25 after being dropped 13lb in the weights since the start of the season.
Pointers courtesy of Raceform Interactive
Ayr: good to soft, soft in places
Listowel: yielding to soft, yielding in places
Wolverhampton: standard to slow