LONDON – Wigmore Hall may not have tasted victory on these shores almost two years now, but he is taken to end his hiatus from the winner’s enclosure with victory at York.
The five-year-old won a conditions event at Newmarket back in August 2010, supplementing his previous John Smith’s Cup verdict on the Knavesmire, but Michael Bell then switched his sights to further afield.
As a gelding, opportunities perhaps do not come quite so frequently in the better races in this country, but he has been plying his trade with success abroad.
The son of High Chaparral has secured over £1 million in prize money to date and posted a career best when winning a Canadian Group 1 event at Woodbine last September.
That was a richly deserved win after some near misses in the past, but he has failed to hit those kind of heights in six subsequent starts.
He turned in a couple of fair performances in Dubai over the winter, while the ground and pace were thoroughly against him when a well-beaten fourth in the Prix Ganay in France in April.
The ground was also too soft when he was third at Chester but he had few excuses when comprehensively beaten in the Prince of Wales’s at Royal Ascot.
Wigmore Hall is evidently not good enough at the highest level in this country, particularly against a horse like So You Think, but the opposition in the Sky Bet York Stakes is nowhere near as hot.
He must reverse Ascot form with seventh-placed Planteur but as a previous course-and-distance winner, you can see why Bell views this Group 2 as an excellent opportunity.
Haamaat is one to follow as he takes a dip in class for the sportinglife.com Stakes, while Farlow could be the answer to a tricky puzzle in the Sky Bet Dash Stakes.
Maureen was surely the moral winner of the Cherry Hinton, but after having to settle for second at Newmarket, compensation awaits at Ascot.
An impressive winner on her racecourse bow at Newbury last month, trainer Richard Hannon felt confident enough to pitch her into Group 2 company on her next start.
However, the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor enjoyed no sort of luck on that occasion with Jimmy Fortune electing to hold her up and wait for a gap to appear on the rails.
That space did not materialise though and Fortune was eventually forced to switch outside to make his run, but winner Sendmylovetorose had already flown.
Maureen tried her best to make up the ground, finishing a neck down at the line, and surely must go close again in the Princess Margaret Juddmonte Stakes.
Scatter Dice has plenty to find on the bare form figures in the Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Handicap but she is worth a shot under a feather weight.
Officially 15 points behind the joint topweights, Scatter Dice makes plenty of appeal as a progressive three-year-old who is really just finding her feet in these competitive middle-distance events.
Mark Johnston’s charge arrives on the back of a win in a tough event at Musselburgh, when she showed just what a tough nut she is in knuckling down for a neck victory over Clayton.
An eight-point rise for that win is pretty steep but this filly is on the upgrade and 2.5kg claimer Darren Egan takes off a little of that extra burden.
Priceless Jewel flopped on soft ground last time but can make amends back on a sound surface in the boylesports.com Free Phone Betting 0800 440000 Fillies’ Stakes at Newmarket.
Sent off favourite for an ultra-competitive three-year-old sprint on the Knavesmire last month, Priceless Jewel was never really travelling.
Previously a winner on the all-weather and good to firm ground at Newbury, she obviously prefers to hear her hooves rattle and conditions at Headquarters should be back in her favour this time.
Duke Of Firenze has been the subject of some promising gallops reports of late and after getting off the mark in handicap company last time, he can go in again for Sir Michael Stoute.
He appeared to win with plenty in hand at Windsor so an eight point rise for the boylesports.com Mobile Betting Handicap may still not arrest his winning run.
Seven Veils was a wide-margin winner for Sir Mark Prescott earlier in the week and the fact she reappears under a 3kg penalty in Lingfield’s Family Fun Day 10th August Handicap should be noted.
Madrasa is the pick in the New County Traffic Management Handicap at Newcastle while Bravo Youmzain can strike at Salisbury in the KJ Pike & Sons Ltd Maiden Stakes. – Press Association.