4.50 Wolverhampton – VOLUMINOUS (nap)
This looks an interesting race for the grade, with the ten-strong field split into two groups of older, experienced horses and three-year-olds, some of whom are wholly unexposed and open to plenty of improvement.
The selection, trained by James Fanshawe, is a nicely-bred daughter of Nathaniel whose sole outing at two saw her finish down the field in a strong 1m fillies’ maiden at Nottingham last autumn, and she shaped promisingly on her return in an 8.5f fillies’ novice event here at the start of May (12/1 chance), finishing well from off the pace to take fourth behind Desert Diamond (beaten 2¾ lengths). Her third and qualifying run came in a 10f fillies’ novice contest at Salisbury a couple of weeks later (15/2 chance), slowly into stride and racing at the rear of the field, shaken up three furlongs out and making steady progress to eventually finish sixth behind wide-margin winner Sun Maiden (beaten 20 lengths). This filly has shaped as though there will bigger performance in her at some stage, staying on well here over an extended mile on her return before closing up late under considerate handling behind a smart sort last time. The step up in trip is sure to see her to even better effect, and an opening mark of 73 looks a fair one; open to significant progress, it wouldn’t at all surprise to see everything click for this daughter of Nathaniel here.
The Ian Williams-trained My Fantasea is another to have been revitalised by this stable, showing very little since a maiden win at Dundalk in 2016 and offering little in six starts for David Evans, rated 59 when switching to current connections. He landed a pair of 9.5f handicaps here back in the spring, overcoming traffic problems to get up and deny Caramuru in the final strides for the second of those two wins, finishing a good second over this course and distance either side of lesser efforts back on turf. He clocked up his third win for this stable in a 12f handicap at Doncaster nine days ago, making most and coming clear from over a furlong out, keeping on strongly to record a 2½-length margin of victory over Searching. That all means he now arrives here from a mark of 72, which makes life tougher for all he is only 1lb higher than when second over this course and distance a month or so ago; also faces some unexposed three-year-olds here, but unwise to assume he’s reached the peak of his powers for this stable.
The Sean Harris-trained Song Of Love was a five-time winner in Ireland for both Aidan and Joseph O’Brien, all of those victories gained at Dundalk, the fifth of those wins coming last February but signing off his time there with a lesser effort. He joined this stable not long after and offered little promise initially, but it all clicked when getting up on the line to land a 14f handicap at Chelmsford in April by a nose from Marshall Aid (second start since wind surgery). He followed that with a good second place finish in a 12f handicap at Southwell a few weeks later and has since shaped a little better than the bare result, including when a couple of places behind My Fantasea over course and distance last month. However, he is essentially not one to place maximum faith in nowadays, a keen goer who isn’t always the most willing of individuals under pressure; no surprise to see him find a few of these too good.
Daniel Loughnane’s Dream Magic offered bits and pieces of promise in maiden company during the early part of 2017, but it took him until his eleventh start to get off the mark, leaving behind some miserable efforts to land a course and distance handicap last December by 8 lengths from Tis Wonderful. Soundly beaten next time at Southwell, he once again ran out a wide-margin winner when returning to this course and distance for a claimer back in February, dictating matters and stretching clear in the straight to score by 10 lengths from Akkadian Empire. He was caught in the dying strides back here two starts later but hasn’t been in the same form of late, albeit at a slightly higher level; return to Class 5 company and this course and distance should help but others still preferred.
The Anthony McCann-trained Temasek Star is a seven-year-old whose merits are fully established, not always proving the most straightforward of individuals but boasting a consistent profile nonetheless, five of his six career wins coming on artificial surfaces including here in a 14f handicap last April. He won a 15f handicap at Leopardstown not long after but has remained winless since, even refusing to race at Chelmsford back in March but otherwise running well in defeat, his latest outing seeing him come home seven lengths adrift of Bibliotheca in a 13f handicap at Ballinrobe a couple of weeks ago. He is a largely consistent sort who also has winning course form, but it is noticeable that he has been kept to distances in excess of this trip in recent times; doesn’t have much margin for error off his current mark and will likely prove vulnerable once again taking on younger, less exposed rivals.
The Brian Meehan-trained Phoenician Star is a son of Mastercraftsman who finished down the field on his sole start at two in a 1m novice event at Newbury last October won by Extra Elusive, offering a bit more over the same course and distance when fifth to Raymond Tusk on his return in April. Well held on his qualifying run in a decent 10f novice event at Nottingham the following month, he shaped well on his handicap debut over the same distance at Leicester two and a half weeks later, keen under restraint but staying on well to take fourth behind Sweet Charity (beaten 2 lengths). This gelding deserves extra credit for the way he saw things out despite refusing to settle, while he was one of the few closers from off the pace in a race where it paid to sit handy; extra two furlongs here sure to suit and, so long as he doesn’t pull his chance away, ought to be in the thick of things despite a 2lb rise.
Ed Dunlop’s Dubai Frame is a well-related son of Sixties Icon who improved steadily with each run at two, well beaten on debut at Newmarket (7f) but offering much more encouragement when finishing fifth in 1m events at Nottingham and Lingfield, seeming to pay for a refusal to settle on the latter occasion. He made his return to action in a 12f handicap back at Lingfield in May (9/2 chance), waited with a little worse than midfield and travelling better than most three furlongs out, shaken up two furlongs out and soon outpaced, keeping on close home to finish sixth behind Rustang (beaten 5¼ lengths). A steadily-run race that day counted against him, tapped-for-toe on the approach to the home straight but closing in on the leaders come the finish (not given an overly hard time); boasting a good pedigree and still very much unexposed, this son of Sixties Icon isn’t one to write off by any means.