Thursday 4 August 2022 14:03, UK
Grocer Jack is finally starting to live up to his chunky price tag and he can secure a Group Three triumph in the Betfred Rose of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock.
The five-year-old won a couple of Group Threes in Germany and Italy last season and was also placed at Group One level, prompting Prince Faisal Bin Khaled to splash out 700,000 guineas at last year's Tattersalls Autumn sale.
Moved to William Haggas from Waldemar Hickst's German team, Grocer Jack made a satisfactory debut for the yard in Saudi Arabia, enduring a troubled passage in the Neom Turf Cup before eventually coming home fifth.
However, he never looked like challenging on his second spin for Haggas, taking a keen hold in the early stages of the Grand Prix de Chantilly and making only limited inroads at the finish of that 12-furlong affair.
Dropped back to 10 furlongs and on quick ground at Newbury, Grocer Jack was an entirely different proposition, making the most of a dip to Listed class to demolish a couple of decent rivals by upwards of nine lengths and secure this step back up in grade. While Anmaat is respected, Grocer Jack can set himself up for a big autumn campaign with victory here.
Oscula is a dream of a horse for Nick Bradley Racing and she can keep the fairytale going with a second successive win in the British Stallion Studs EBFbDick Hern Stakes. The three-year-old is a model of consistency and toughness, only once finishing out of the first four in 10 juvenile runs last season while this term has yielded two wins and four places from seven trips to the track.
She struck Group Three gold at Goodwood last week, just days after narrowly missing out at Ascot, and she is head and shoulders above her rivals on the ratings.
Whitebeam takes the eye as she lines up in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Handicap. Given a starting mark of 91 after winning two of three career outings, Whitebeam has shaped like a filly who could yet make her mark at a higher level than this.
Harry and Roger Charlton are seemingly happy to take a patient approach and the daughter of Caravaggio can take full advantage.
Grocer Jack's stablemates Amanzoe and Pride Of Priory can ensure it is a very good day for Haggas by taking starring roles at Ascot's Shergar Cup meeting. Amanzoe is on a hat-trick in the opening Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Curtain Raiser Classified Stakes, while Pride Of Priory is also on a roll ahead of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup Challenge.
The latter has won four of his eight runs to date and the way he overcame a less than perfect passage to win by a head at Newcastle last month marked him out as a runner with something yet to give.
Lakota Sioux brings strong form to the table in the Jewson Sweet Solera Stakes at Newmarket. Third behind the reopposing Inanna on debut, she took a huge step forward whencoasting home by six and a half lengths at Lingfield next time - with Mark and Charlie Johnston then making the decision to pitch into Listed company at Royal Ascot.
Sent off a 33/1 chance as she took on the colts in the Chesham Stakes, Lakota Sioux defied those odds to be beaten just two and a half lengths in third, with the winner Holloway Boy boosting the form finishing second in the Vintage at Goodwood last week and well-regarded ninth The Foxes on the scoresheet since.
Although the daughter of Sioux Nation flashed her tail on every occasion so far, it does not appear to hinder her efforts.
Ropey Guest has been his admirable self so far this season and after not being beaten far in the International at Ascot recently, he might just be able to get his head in front for the first time in nearly a year in the Time Test Handicap.
This year's renewal of the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh is truly top drawer, but Little Big Bear can stamp himself as one of the season's leading juveniles.
Aidan O'Brien resisted a Group-race assignment at Royal Ascot, but after landing the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes in a thrilling finish, the No Nay Never colt made a seamless move up to Group Three level in the Anglesey Stakes at this track.
Last month's race may not have been the strongest, but his near five-length verdict could not have been more impressive and unsurprisingly Ryan Moore has plumped for Little Big Bear over stablemate Blackbeard.
ASCOT: 1.00 Amanzoe, 1.35 Divine Magic, 2.10 Judicial, 2.45 Island Brave, 3.20 Pride Of Priory, 3.55 Jungle Cove, 4.30 Franz Strauss, 5.05 Spangled Mac.
AYR: 5.45 Viva Voce, 6.15 Elzaal, 6.45 Goodwood Glen, 7.15 Tyrone's Poppy, 7.45 Water Of Leith, 8.15 First Greyed, 8.45 City Vaults.
CURRAGH: 1.30 Boy Scout, 2.05 Delightful, 2.40 Gloves Off, 3.15 Wings Of War, 3.45 Janoobi, 4.15 Little Big Bear, 4.55 Superior Force, 5.25 Big Gossey.
HAYDOCK: 1.50 Delorean, 2.25 Mr McCann, 3.00 GROCER JACK (NAP), 3.35 Oscula, 4.10 Come On John, 4.40 Whitebeam, 5.15 Star Zinc.
KILBEGGAN: 5.20 Virtual Oscar, 5.55 Mr Macphisto, 6.25 Secret She Keeps, 6.55 Darver Star, 7.25 Steps Match, 7.55 Arrycan, 8.25 Skip Mahler.
LINGFIELD: 5.00 Alwajd, 5.35 Running Lion, 6.05 Royal Mariner, 6.35 Queen Of Burgundy, 7.05 Diligently Done, 7.35 Open Champion, 8.05 Turner Girl.
NEWMARKET: 1.20 Magical Sunset, 1.55 Killybegs Warrior, 2.30 Fearless Bay, 3.05 Falling Shadow, 3.40 Lakota Sioux, 4.20 Ropey Guest, 4.51 Bay Of Honour.
REDCAR: 1.42 Naughty Ted, 2.17 Irish Approach, 2.52 Star Shield, 3.27 Golden Voice, 4.02 Stroxx, 4.35 Ravenglass, 5.10 Desert Quest.
DOUBLE: Grocer Jack and Whitebeam.