Staying races have staged a remarkable recovery in recent years thanks to the performances of horses like Double Trigger and Kayf Tara, which turned Cup races into highlights of the big meetings, rather than embarrassing sideshows. With Kayf Tara retired, though, there is an obvious vacancy at the top of the staying game, and the first applications will arrive today in Newbury's John Porter Stakes.
The trip today is a modest 12 furlongs, but most of the runners would prefer at least a couple more, which makes it a difficult event for punters to solve. The fact that several are returning from long absences only adds to the uncertainty. There is no doubt, however, that horses like Dalampour and Saddler's Quest could be major players in the stamina business.
Saddler's Quest has not seen a racecourse since winning the Lingfield Derby Trial 11 months ago, but he remains unbeaten in three races to date, and showed the mettle of a stayer to wear down Going Global in the last few yards at Lingfield. Dalampour, meanwhile, started third-favourite for the St Leger, but worked himself into a sweat in the preliminaries and ran no sort of race. His performance when storming away with the Queen's Vase, over two miles at Royal Ascot, is a better indicator of his potential.
A return to that meeting for the Gold Cup remains in the future and the question today is whether Dalampour will reproduce his best form over 12 furlongs. If he does not, there are several runners in the field with the ability to take advantage, Churlish Charm and Lucido among them.
The one who could be worth a small bet, though, is Windsor Boy (next best 3.40), who clearly proved difficult to train last year. The simple fact that he has been kept in training is encouraging, and so too the form of his two runs as a three-year-old. On his seasonal debut in the Chester Vase, he ran Millenary, who went on to win the Leger, to half a length, and then filled the same place in the Derby Italiano.
Two rated handicaps make up the rest of the televised card, with Monkston Point attempting to win the sprint for the second year in a row. He goes well early in the season, but is 6lb higher than when getting up to beat Lord Kintyre by a neck a year ago, and preference is for Indian Spark (nap 3.10). James Goldie's runner is now seven, but was as good as ever at six, and should improve for his debut in a Listed event at Doncaster. In the eight-furlong event, Zeloso (2.40), whose trainer Roger Charlton had a good Craven meeting, should go well.Reuse content