Wichita looks to hold leading claims of providing top Irish handler Aidan O’Brien with a third winner of the 7f Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes for juvenile colts at Newmarket on Thursday (15:35).
The Ballydoyle maestro saddled King Charlemagne to land the spoils in 2000 and Aussie Rules five years later.
In Wichita, he has a highly promising son of No Nay Never who created a big impression when making a winning debut in an 18-runner maiden at The Curragh last month.
After chasing the leader in second place, Wichita then dropped back into seventh at halfway as lack of experience kicked in.
However, jockey Seamie Heffernan didn’t panic and when Wichita finally began to realise what was required he made steady headway to dispute the lead approaching the furlong marker.
Under a very sympathetic hands and heels ride, he then stayed on strongly to cosily account for Fiscal Rules by a head.
That taking success saw connections pitch Wichita into Listed company and he ran an absolute cracker when finding only Molatham half-a-length too strong in the 7f Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster.
Wichita ran on strongly and pressed the winner throughout the final furlong, leaving the impression that this stiffer track would play to his strengths.
Molatham is also a very highly regarded sort who was just beaten just a neck by the very exciting Mums Tipple on debut at Ascot before winning in good style at York, so the form has a solid look to it.
Wichita also looks a work in progress and open to stacks more improvement, In what isn’t the strongest renewals of the Tattersalls Stakes, he looks a worthy 9/4 favourite with Coral and the one to be on.
Monoski bidding for Johnston hat-trick in Tattersalls Stakes
Middleham handler Mark Jonhston has won the last two runnings, so that makes sole representative Monoski of obvious interest.
This son of Street Boss has won one of his seven starts and now drops back in grade having finished an 11 1/2 lengths fourth of eight to super two-year-old and ante post 2000 Guineas favourite Pinatubo in the Group 1 National Stakes at The Curragh.
Monoski took up the running at halfway and only weakened out of contention when getting headed two from home.
The winner scored in stunning style by nine lengths, so it was a fair effort to finish on the heels of the second and third home Armory and Arizona, who are both useful types in their own right.
This is easier, so – should Wichita fail to live up to expectations in the Tattersalls Stakes – Monoski appeals as the one most likely to take advantage. He can be backed at 14/1 with Betfair.
Withhold taken to bloom in Rose Bowl
In the Listed 2m Jockey Club Rose Bowl (16:10), Withhold looks a worthy 5/6 favourite with Betway to resume winning ways now stepped back up in trip.
Trained by Roger Charlton, this six-year-old landed a monster gamble in the 2017 running of the Cesarewitch at this venue when sent off the 5/1 favourite and romping to an easy 3 3/4 lengths success.
The Tony Bloom owned son of Champs Elysees then defied a 12lb rise in the weights when making all and staying on strongly to land last year’s renewal of the 2m Northumberland Plate by 2 3/4 lengths from Prince Of Arran.
Withhold has had just three starts since and looked as good as ever on seasonal reappearance at Newbury when defying top weight of 9st 10lb and beating Billy Ray by 1 3/4 lengths in the competitive 16-runner Marsh Handicap.
He then found drop back to 1m 6f against him last time out in the Ebor at York, but was far from disgraced in finishing 13th of 22 to Mustajeer.
The step back up to 2m, over which he has won three of his four starts, is sure to see Withhold in far better light and an official rating of 113 gives him 4lb and upwards in hand on his four rivals.
It makes him the one they all have to beat, and we thus had no hesitation in making Withhold the pick in this.
Spirit Ridge worth siding with
Spirit Ridge was not at his best last time out, but remains with potential and looks value to bounce back and land the spoils in the 1m 4f handicap (16:45).
This Amanda Perrett trained four-year-old is unexposed sort who has won two of his six career starts.
In the last of those at Leicester back in October, this Khalid Abdullah owned son of Nathaniel made all and stayed on gamely when pressed inside the final furlong to assert in the last 150 yards to win ears pricked by half-a-length from Scaramanga off a mark of 85.
Spirit Ridge got put up 7lb for that taking success and ran well off his revised rating of 92 on seasonal reappearance at Newmarket when a three-length fifth of nine to Baghdad over course and distance.
He looked ring rusty and lost his place three from home, before rallying well to be gaining all the way to the line at the finish.
It was a promising comeback run which suggested there were more races to be won with Spirit Ridge.
He was clearly amiss next time up over 1m 6f here when beaten 20 lengths and finishing 11th of 15 to Red Galileo.
Connections have wisely given him time and a break to freshen up and – having also been dropped 2lb in the interim – Spirit Ridge is now able to race off a reduced rating of 90.
That looks exploitable on the pick of his form and both his career successes have come over the 1m 4f trip of this.
So, with the stable also in form and operating at a strike rate of 23 per cent in the last 14 days at the time of writing, Spirit Ridge looks well worth a wager at the 5/1 on offer with Ladbrokes.