LONDON – Dubawi Phantom should take all the beating in the feature race of the day at Stratford, the Sunday Mercury Handicap Hurdle (for the Stratford Summer Salver).
Trained by John Ferguson, he has won two of his four starts over timber and the fact that Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock advisor has kept him on the go looks significant.
Ferguson has only had a handful of runners through the summer months and the likelihood is this has been a target for some time.
Trained by David Simcock originally on the level, he was above average in that sphere.
He may have only won once but that was a victory over Sea Lord who progressed very quickly for Mark Johnston to take his chance in the 2010 Irish Champion Stakes.
At three he finished fourth in the Craven, second in the Lingfield Derby Trial and even ran in the Irish Derby.
It was no surprise he ended up in Dubai but he never cut the mustard out there and found his way to Ferguson.
A win on his hurdling debut at Uttoxeter was then followed by an unseating of his rider and a poor display at Newcastle.
Given plenty of time off he returned in June at Hereford where he was a very comfortable winner and the 4.5kg rise might not be enough to stop him if he has got the hang of the game.
The Birmingham Post Handicap Chase (for the Stratford Summer Cup) can go to Venetia Williams’ Nobunaga.
A winner of one of his five starts over hurdles, he looks much better over the bigger obstacles.
After a couple of confidence-boosters he won at Ludlow in April and Stratford in June before going down to Stage Acclaim at Ffos Las.
The trip of nearly 4000m in heavy ground seemed too much for him the last day so a drop in distance and a return to a sounder surface all look in his favour.
David Pipe’s Shoegazer can defy a penalty in the Mansfield Chad Novices´ Chase at Southwell.
Miraculously the ground on the turf track there was good at declaration time and that appears to be the key to this seven-year-old.
He does have a win in testing conditions to his name but whenever he has come up against decent rivals when the ground is soft he has been found wanting.
Mistakes also hindered him last time out at Perth, where he wore first-time blinkers which have been discarded this weekend.
He might be able to outclass his rivals.
Tim Vaughan’s True Blue could be the type to run up a sequence after getting off the mark over timber at Towcester and he reappears in the Mansfield Chad Handicap Hurdle. – Press Association.