A competitive renewal of the 6f juvenile Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes headlines Saturday’s card at Newbury (14:55), and Mystery Power is worth forgiving his last run.
Trained by Richard Hannon, whose father saddled four different winners to land the spoils, this King Power Racing owned No Nay Never colt caught the eye over further when winning his first two starts.
After running on well to score by a length on debut at Haydock, Mystery Power took the step up into this grade firmly in his stride when following-up in the Superlative Stakes.
He led on the July Course at Newmarket approaching two out and stayed on well under pressure for another length victory.
What Mystery Power beat is questionable, but he did absolutely nothing wrong and justified connections’ faith in him.
A tilt at the Vintage Stakes during Glorious Goodwood saw him carry a 3lb penalty against champion juvenile colt elect Pinatubo last time out.
It was an impossible task for Mystery Power against the best two-year-old in training in the British Isles. Not much went right in the race either.
Mystery Power was denied a clear run two out and so came under pressure approaching the final furlong before fading out of contention to finish sixth and beaten 15 1/2 lengths.
That suggests a drop back in trip is well worth trying. While Mystery Power again gives weight all-round, this may be less demanding. The booking of Ryan Moore by connections also looks significant.
In a Mill Reef Stakes renewal where plenty fancy their chances, Mystery Power appeals most at 100/30 with 888Sport to resume winning ways.
Pierre Lapin a danger in Mill Reef Stakes
There’s substance to the form of a very taking debut victory for Pierre Lapin, so he’s feared most.
Trained by Roger Varian, this son of Cappella Sansevero ran on well to win going away by 3 1/2 lengths at Haydock back in May.
We haven’t seen Pierre Lapin since, but both the runner-up and third horse home have come out and won. Connections may have been laying him out for this
As the least exposed in the Mill Reef Stakes line-up and off the back of a 120-day break, Pierre Lapin is 3/1 favourite with Betway to follow-up here.
This race is named after one of the Balding family’s greatest racehorses. It is naturally close to their hearts, then, and Shadn represents Kingsclere this year.
As a filly, she gets weight all-round and is 2-2 over the trip including a course and distance success in Listed company.
Trained by Andrew Balding, the daughter of No Nay Never quickened well to win a Kempton maiden on the all-weather by 3 1/4 lengths.
Shadn then shaped better than the bare result suggests when 13th of 25 to Raffle Prize in the Group 2 Queen Mary at Royal Ascot.
She passed beaten horses after being forced to switch more than once and finished 6 3/4 lengths down on the winner.
When eased in grade to Listed level, Shadn resumed winning ways here in July. She kept on well in the final furlong and led close home for a three-quarters of a length success over Misty Grey.
Although unlucky in-running again in the Group 3 Prestige Stakes over 7f at Goodwood last time out, Shadn went down by just a length in third. She looks solid each-way value at 7/1 with Paddy Power.
Pondus can go one better in Legacy Cup
Moore is also an eye-catching jockey booking for James Fanshawe’s Pondus in the Group 3 Legacy Cup over 1m 3f (14:20).
This three-year-old Sea The Moon colt comes out 1lb ahead of Desert Encounter on adjusted ratings.
Pondus scored by three-quarters of a length on his second career start at Nottingham and followed-up by five lengths under a penalty when making virtually all at Sandown.
He was then far from disgraced when pitched into Group 2 company and finishing sixth of eight to Japan at Royal Ascot.
The winner has since won two Grade 1s and Pondus raced far too keenly early in the King Edward VII Stakes.
He paid the price for that later on, but has shaped as if this trip is not beyond him in two subsequent starts.
In the first of those over 10 furlongs here, Pondus was a staying on length runner-up to Fox Chairman in a Listed affair. He then chased home mudlark Addyebb in the Group 3 Rose Of Lancaster at Haydock.
With more to come, Pondus is preferred at 5/2 with Coral to Desert Encounter, who won this two years ago.
The seven-year-old is respected, however, after consecutive wins in the grade for trainer David Simcock.
He is not getting any younger, though, and giving weight and age all-round is no easy task.
Desert Encounter carries a penalty for successes at Glorious Goodwood and Windsor. There is every chance he is vulnerable to an improving sort like Pondus.
Taking the race terms into account, Desert Encounter is at a disadvantage and justifying odds of 6/4 with Bethard in this old Arc Trial may take some doing.
Equilateral can shade World Trophy duel
In the Group 3 World Trophy for sprinters over the flying 5f (13:45), Equilateral is taken to follow-up on a gutsy success under Moore last time out.
Trained by Charlie Hills for Khalid Abdullah, the four-year-old Equiano colt had run some fine races in defeat earlier this season.
They include when a 2 3/4 lengths third to Invincible Army at Doncaster on reappearance and when chinned on the line by Mabs Cross.
Equilateral was a desperately unlucky loser in the Group 3 Palace House at Newmarket.
The form of his 6 1/4 lengths seventh to Blue Point in the Group 1 King’s Stand during Royal Ascot sets a clear standard in this lower grade affair.
The runner-up, Battaash, and fifth horse home, Fairyland, have gone in at the highest level since.
Although then a disappointing seven-length sixth in a Group 2 in Ireland, Equilateral resumed winning ways after a mid-season break.
That overdue success came during the St Leger Festival at Doncaster last week.
After tracking the leaders, Equilateral made headway approaching the final furlong and was driven inside it to get up close home and score by a head.
As he was giving the runner-up a 5lb sex allowance, this was an impressive display.
Moore was on board that day and once again takes the ride, so Equilateral looks well worth a wager to follow-up back on the upgrade at 7/2 with BetVictor.
Thriving Dakota Gold commands respect
Dakota Gold is in the form of his life, however, and is the clear danger. Trained by another sprint specialist, Michael Dods, the five-year-old has won his last four.
After shaping as though needing the run on reappearance in the Gosforth Park Cup on the all-weather at Newcastle, the gelding quickly landed a hat-trick of handicap successes off marks of 96, 99 and 104.
Having defied the assessor repeatedly, Dakota Gold was well worth a go in Listed level at his happy hunting ground of York.
He made most and kept on strongly for a 1 3/4 lengths victory over Danzeno in the Garrowby Stakes there earlier this month.
It was another remarkable display from Dakota Gold, who is officially a whole stone better horse than his run at the end of July.
A career high rating of 110 he has is now being tested in group company. This demands even more from Dakota Gold, however.
Given his winning sequence, bookmakers can’t do anything other than make him favourite but he tackles horses previously aimed at the highest level.
There is also a suspicion he may be better over 6f than the minimum distance.
An in-form animal such as Dakota Gold commands respect though, but odds of 15/8 with William Hill against some classy sorts look too short.