King George the headline but there’s plenty of class on the undercard

Nick Luck has run his eye over a host of races from York and Ascot.

ATTAGIRL might be open to most improvement and is taken to strike in the Princess Margaret Stakes which opens up ITV’s offering from Ascot on King George Day (1.50) at 15/2. If the heavy showers hit, they shouldn’t inconvenience this nicely bred filly, who looked smart when bolting up on her second racecourse appearance at Haydock last time. She was going on strongly at the finish and this stiffer six furlongs should suit well. The stable is firing at a very healthy rate.

MYSTERY SMILES looks to have been prematurely forgotten in the mile handicap (2.25) at 14/1. He was a pretty smart sprinting juvenile last year but looked to see out the mile well enough in the Craven first time out this year when an excellent third to Master of the Seas. He then bombed out in the Guineas and hasn’t been seen since. Although these are useful handicappers, he is having his sights lowered massively and is not at all badly treated.

ACQUITTED and RAISING SAND are two horses that I’ll be back each way in the International handicap (3.00). Acquitted has been a little frustrating, but travelled up best of all in the Victoria Cup here before fading late. Blinkers seem to have really helped him the last twice, however, and the combination of the headgear, a return to a stiff seven furlongs, and a good draw could produce a bold effort for a yard going well at 14/1. As for Raising Sand, he just loves it here, ran another fine race on the wrong side at the Royal meeting and will surely get close to the frame at least at 12/1.

WONDERFUL TONIGHT gets quite a confident shout in the King George (3.35) at 6/1. She is clearly hugely effective at Ascot, and I think the soft-ground contingency is overplayed: she ran a fine race in the Vermeille on much faster ground than described and is evidently a better, stronger filly this year. Her Hardwicke win could hardly have worked out better and if her trainer is to be taken on trust that she was not cherry ripe that day, she should be right up to giving Love a proper race, particularly if there is significant rain. Mishriff could easily improve for his Eclipse run, but I still didn’t love the way he emptied out uncharacteristically, while Derby winner Adayar is preferred of the two three-year-olds.

MID WINSTER can do best of the Paul Midgley quintet and win the Jump Jockeys’ Nunthorpe at York (2.05) at 6/1. She ran a blinder behind Keep Busy at Ayr, but showed that was no fluke when producing a comparable performance to win last time. These are an inconsistent bunch, but this mare is quite progressive and can defy a big weight.

MUSIC SOCIETY is the pick in a typically tough Skybet Dash (2.40) at 10/1. He is in great heart at present and was pretty unlucky not to win the Scottish Stewards’ Cup at Hamilton (strong form) after suffering trouble in running. Ella McCain is currently riding really well and, in a race of fine margins, her allowance could prove crucial.

ARMORY must surely be the play at the prices in the York Stakes (3.15) at 2/1. Although I hold Mohaafeth in the highest regard, I am not sure that a small field will really play to his strengths in this grade. Armory – so consistent and a terrific third against the pace bias at Ascot – continues to improve and can line himself up for a tilt at all the big autumn 10 and 12 furlong pots here.

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