The feature race at Sandown on Wednesday is the Fortune Stakes (15:25) – a Listed mile contest for three-year-olds and upwards. Now dropped in grade, Wootton looks decent value to get back to winning ways.
This four-year-old has some very smart form last season when trained in France, finishing fourth in their 2000 Guineas and a cracking, running on 3 3/4 lengths third of 10 to Without Parole in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Wootton then joined trainer Charlie Appleby at the beginning of this year and ran a blinder second time up for the Newmarket handler when finding only Dream Castle a length too good in a Group 1 at Meydan.
Although disappointing when last seen in action and finishing a well-beaten ninth of 13 to Japanese super filly Almond Eye in the Group 1 Dubai Turf, this Godolphin owned son of Wootton Bassett has since been given a break and has gone well fresh in the past.
This also represents a return to much calmer waters and fitness is unlikely to be an issue.
Appleby’s yard are flying at present and operating at a 28.5 per cent strike rate in the last fortnight at the time of writing.
Wootton has also won three times and been placed once in eight starts over the trip. He’s also versatile as regards ground.
So, in what is a wide-open looking renewal of the Fortune Stakes, Wootton look to have lots going for him and the one to be on at 3/1 with Bethard.
Absence a concern for King Of Change
The Richard Hannon trained King Of Change also drops in class having run the race of his life last time out at Newmarket when second of 19 to Magna Grecia in the 2000 Guineas.
After opening his account in good style when scoring by 2 1/2 lengths at Nottingham, this son of Farhh belied odds of 66/1 in the first Classic race of the season.
King Of Change showed plenty of pace to track the leaders on the favoured stands’ side and ran on well inside the final furlong to go down by 2 1/2 lengths.
He had some very smart types and subsequent winners in behind, including Epsom Derby runner-up Madhmoon and Group 1 July Cup hero Ten Sovereigns.
That is form of the highest order and has earned King Of Change a rating of 115 – the highest in the six-runner line-up.
It puts him 3lb clear of Wootton and Turgenev, and he receives a handy 4lb weight-for-age allowance from the former.
That suggests that King Of Change is the one to beat, but he has not been seen since the Guineas and now has an absence of 137 days to overcome.
It also remains to be seen if he can back up that effort, so at best odds of 5/2 with Coral there are reasons enough to oppose King Of Change on this occasion.
Turgenev holds solid claims in Fortune Stakes
The aforementioned Turgenev hails from the red-hot yard of John Gosden and looks a big player on the pick of his form under Frankie Dettori.
This three-year-old, well-bred son of Dubawi looked a smart prospect when winning two of his four starts as a juvenile, but has surprisingly failed to get his head in front in six starts this season.
However, Turgenev has posted some very solid efforts in defeat – including when a 1 1/4 length second of 28 to Biometric in the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He arguably should have won as Dettori got a rush of blood to the head and kicked clear too early when tanking along at the head of affairs two from home.
Turgenev also ran very well last time out in the Group 2 Celebration Mile at Goodwood where, after being steadied at the start and held-up well off the pace, he ran on strongly to go down by just three-quarters of a length to the thriving Duke of Hazzard.
The third home, Happy Power, had previously run well to finish a 1 3/4 lengths fourth to Too Darn Hot in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes, so the form reads really well in relation to this lower grade affair.
Turgenev also has a 33 per cent strike rate over the 1m trip of this, and looks sure to make a bold bid to go one better.
He can be backed at 9/4 with William Hill to do just that and looks the main danger to Wootton.
Last Winter a fascinating contender
Last Winter, a 10/1 shot with Betfair, is a fascinating contender on his first start for Sir Michael Stoute.
This six-year-old won four of his six starts when trained in South Africa and finished an excellent half-a-length second to Oh Sussana in a Group 1 when last seen in action.
It’s hard, however, to value that form in relation to this and Last Winter has since been on the sidelines for 599 days.
The son of Western Winter has clearly had issues, so this is a big ask and he is best watched with regards to the future.
Silver Line is the mount of the champion jockey elect Oisin Murphy, but this five-year-old looks to face a stiff task having finished fifth in a handicap at York last time out.
The Fortune Stakes field is completed by the Roger Vrian trained Prince Eji, who won one of his three starts as a juvenile and now makes his belated seasonal reappearance.
He needs to step up significantly on what he has achieved so far, and odds of 14/1 with Ladbrokes reflect that.