6.05 Ascot – ERTIYAD
The selection is a daughter of Dark Angel who is the second foal of smart 6-7f 2yo winner (including at Listed level) who was a half sister to useful 5-6f winner Saristar (later dam of French 12f Listed winner Jetfire), useful 6f-1m Flat/2m-2m 1f hurdle winner Genari, multiple 7-8.5f winner Pravda Street and 5-12f winner Commissar out of a dual 7f winner. This filly is trained by William Haggas and fetched £90,000 at auction as a yearling, making plenty of appeal on pedigree as the second foal of a 7f 2yo Listed winner who was successful on debut (over 6f) and a half sister to a handful of winners, including useful speedster Saristar who later produced a smart performer in Jetfire. It is a family that has tended to be fairly sharp, several of them either successful on debut or going close first time out, whilst her top stable landed this particular contest two years ago with a newcomer in the shape of subsequent Group 2/3 winner Besharah. The fact this daughter of Dark Angel has been bought here for her debut outing suggests all has gone to plan at home, and her handler’s first two-year-old runner of the season ran with real credit last week; absolutely no surprise to see their representative here go close at the first time of asking.
7.50 Ascot – MAZZINI (nap)
The selection, trained by James Fanshawe, is a son of Exceed And Excel who didn’t immediately build on the early promise he had shown in maidens, but he got off the mark at the sixth attempt when played late to readily account for course specialist Kenny The Captain in a 6f handicap at Newcastle last August (strong form). Having endured a luckless passage at Yarmouth before posting an excellent effort in defeat over course and distance when 2lbs ‘wrong’ at the weights, he signed off with victory in a 6f handicap at Kempton last November, waited with off a strong pace and swooping to lead inside the final 150 yards and score by 2 lengths from Brilliant Vanguard. He was undoubtedly well positioned as things went that day, but the manner in which he cut through to deliver his challenge and ultimately score left a lasting impression all the same, and a 7lb rise for that success is highly unlikely to halt his progress. It is fair to say that a bigger field here would likely have seen him to better effect, but there are one or two in the field that like to go forward and thus should ensure a reasonable gallop; bred to excel with time and open to vast improvement, it’d be a little disappointing if this gelding couldn’t make a winning return to action.
8.00 Nottingham – LUNAR JET (nb)
The selection, trained by John Mackie, is a son of Ask who who hinted at ability in maidens at Nottingham (1m) and Wolverhampton (8.5f) last autumn and a 10f event at Doncaster on his return last month, never a threat on either of his first two starts and then hampered when on the retreat on his third and qualifying run. He made his handicap debut over 1m at Haydock 13 days ago (11/1 chance), racing enthusiastically in behind the leaders but travelling strongly throughout, not having the clearest of runs from over two furlongs out until entering the final furlong, keeping on well to take fourth behind Sidewinder (beaten 1¼ lengths). The manner in which this gelding travelled that day suggests he is more than capable of striking from his current mark of 69, caught in behind runners for more than a furlong and then taking a while to find top stride once out in the clear inside the final furlong. His pedigree also points to him being much better suited by this ten-furlong distance, his year older sister a progressive sort for these connections in middle distance handicaps at three; very much the type to follow suit and, provided he settles better in the early stages this time around, it wouldn’t at all surprise to see this son of Ask come good here.