Newbury preview: JLT Stakes (14.35)
Consort posted a cracking effort last time out in Group 1 company at Royal Ascot, and can take advantage of a drop in grade to get back to winning ways in the Listed 1m 2f JLT Stakes at Newbury (14.35).
The Sir Michael Stoute trained colt won his first two two starts, and looked an exciting prospect in the last of those when storming clear to easily landing the Listed 1m Heron Stakes at Sandown by 2 1/2 lengths.
It was a most taking performance which suggested Consort needed keeping firmly onside, and that view was confirmed when the son of Lope De Vega finished third to Gleneagles in the St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal meeting.
Consort travelled strongly at the head of affairs in the hands of Frankie Dettori and, after being headed approaching the final furlong, weakened late on to lose second close home and be beaten just three lengths.
The winner is a colt of the highest order, who had previously won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas, and the form reads extremely well in the context of this contest.
Consort also remains unexposed and open to plenty more improvement after just three starts, and the step up to 1m 2f should suit.
Fire Fighting has produced some smart efforts in hot handicaps this season and may well prove the biggest danger.
The gelding is an ultra-tough and consistent sort trained by the in-form Mark Johnston, and ran very well at Royal Ascot on his penultimate start when beaten just 3/4 of a length into third behind Mahsoob.
It was a cracking effort in trying to conceded 4lb to a very progressive winner, and Fire Fighting shaped as if still in form when sixth of 17 in the valuable John Smith’s Cup at York last weekend under a big weight.
The four-year-old looks well worth a crack at this level judge on those efforts and, with the red-hot Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle, Fire Fighting looks sure to make his presence felt.
Another worthy of a mention is Intilaaq, who looked a smart prospect when winning a maiden at the track by eight lengths on his seasonal reappearance before disappointing when 15th of 18 to Glengeales in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarrket 14 days later.
That race may have come too soon for Roger Varian’s colt, and having since been given a break to freshen up it would be no surprise to see the son of Dynaformer put in a much improved effort.
Coral’s top tip: Consort looks a worthy favourite to win and companion for punters here.