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The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections for 29th July 2023

The Mandarin’s Saturday Selections from York, Ascot & Gowran Park

Sky Bet York Stakes (Group 2) 3.15
My Prospero (nap)
Entered for the Group 1 Juddmonte International here next month, so this should prove a good warm up eased in Grade. He was third, just by a nose to Adayar in the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October, a race won by Bay Bridge, and if he’s anything close to that form, then should be winning this. Royal Champion didn’t hit his sweet spot in that Champion Stakes run last year, but made a winning seasonal reappearance in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot, so rates the main threat. My Prospero should justify favouritism here, so gets the nod


Bateaux London Princess Margaret Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) 1.50
Pretty Crystal
Richard Fahey’s Dubawi filly was a cracking fifth in the Albany Stakes last month over course and distance, and has the scope to improve in just her third start here. There’s more cut in the ground than at the Royal meeting, and that should suit her higher knee action. York scorer Symbology looks the big danger, with Soprano not sure to line up after running at Sandown on Thursday, but Pretty Crystal looks a good prospect so gets the nudge

Longines Valiant Stakes (Group 3) (Filles & Mares) 2.25
Cadeau Belle
Irish raider Cadeau Belle could make the trip over pay for Johnny Murtagh, as his Harry Angel filly goes for a hat-trick. After a cosy win on her debut under rules at Gowran Park, she doubled up with success in a Listed Fillies & Mares race at Navan, and after just the two starts there’s surely more to come. Jamie Spencer gets on board for the hat-trick bid, so he’ll be timing his late charge to perfection on Ascot’s stiff finish

Moet & Chandon International Stakes (Heritage Handicap) 3.00
A typically hot handicap where there are plenty of likely types, but Ralph Beckett’s Biggles seems to relish these big field races, so gets our backing for the in-form trainer. Landing the Bunbury Cup at Newmarket just two weeks back showed he’s kept his form going through this summer, since starting this campaign off with a runners-up spot in the Victoria Cup in May. His ninth in the Buckingham Palace Stakes was a better result than it looks on bare paper, and with Ryan Moore returning to the saddle, every chance

King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes (Group 1) 3.40
Emily Upjohn (nb)
A brilliant renewal this year of one of the signature races of the British flat racing calendar, where Classic winners often face up to older rivals for the first time. Bred in the purple, Auguste Rodin, Aidan O’Brien’s Deep Impact colt, out of multiple Group 1 winning mare, Rhododendron, was the horse that has excited his record-breaking trainer the most ever since he made his racecourse debut at The Curragh. However, this time he has to prove himself at the highest level against his elders, and with the likes of Hukum, Emily Upjohn, Pyledriver and Westover flying the flag of the seniors, and fellow three year old, King Of Steel also lining up, one hell of a race is in store. The final vote goes to Emily Upjohn, who lost nothing in defeat to the smart Paddington in the Coral-Eclipse three weeks ago, and has one Frankie Dettori aboard, to plot one more great show as Mr. Ascot in his swansong season

Flexjet Pat Eddery Stakes (Listed) 4.15
There is sure to be plenty of interest in Charlie Appleby’s Ancient Wisdom for this Listed contest. He cost a cool 2 million Euros as a yearling, and hasn’t put a foot wrong since making his debut under rules at Haydock Park last month, before doubling the tally at Newmarket. However, David Menusier’s Sunway impressed at Sandown Park on his first run, going away in the final furlong when finding space to make his charge, and is taken to progress from that run. Oisin Murphy gets back up on Sunway, and he could upset the hot favourite for this Listed prize

Gowran Park

Darley Rathbride Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) 2.30
Jackie Oh
She didn’t land a blow in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot on unsuitably fast ground, despite going well for a long way, but conditions should be in her favour here. With a win at Naas on her debut under rules on heavy ground, and a runners-up spot next time out on similar going at Navan, she clearly likes plenty of cut underfoot, and gets that here after the deluge of rain last week. Colin Keane is a notable jockey booking with Ryan Moore otherwise engaged, so it’s Jackie Oh to score for in-form trainer, Aidan O’Brien

The Mandarin

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