The revellers at the Last Night at the Proms still have a fortnight to wait before they can start waving their Union flags. But royalist race fans can get an early fix of patriotism by backing the Queen’s horse, Marching Song, in Saturday’s big sprint at York, the William Hill Trophy Handicap.
This is not just a bet for monarchists, however. This three-year old has run only two races this season and has the profile of horse that will get better with age and experience. That was certainly true of the race career of his sire Royal Applause and the fact that he handled good to soft ground when winning the Haydock Sprint Cup gives encouragement that Marching Song will also act on Saturday’s ground.
The main rival and head of the betting is inevitably a Dandy Nicholls runner, Tax Free. The king of the sprints gave followers of this column a big boost when sending out 10/1 shot Ice Planet to victory in the Great St. Wilfred Stakes two weeks ago and all his runners merit respect. But at cramped odds in a maximum field Tax Free is worth taking on with any number of horses in with an each-way chance.
In terms of quality the Totesport Celebration Mile at Goodwood on Sunday is the weekend highlight with some established group class milers doing battle. However, the improving Layman from the mighty Godolphin yard looks like a good thing. They have an excellent benchmark to judge their milers against in Irish Guineas and Prix Jacques Le Marois winner Dubawi who is beginning to live up to his hype.
3:25 York: Marching Song (each-way)
3:15 Goodwood (Sunday): Layman (win)