Newmarket preview: Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (15.15)
Mahsoob can take the step up into Group 2 company in his stride to land the 1m 4f Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket (15.15).
The John Gosden trained colt is unbeaten in four starts, and after running out the comfortable winner of a mile maiden at Kempton back in November put in a stunning performance on his handicap debut at Newbury when beating Nancy From Nairobi be a neck.
After being forced to drop in from a wide draw and race in the last trio in the early stages of the contest, Mahsoob making stealthy headway on the outside two from home under a confident Paul Hanagan.
The son of Dansili then quickened smartly to take up the running inside the final furlong, and stayed on strongly to score with far more in hand than the winning margin suggests.
Mahsoob was put up 9lb for that success, but made light of it when putting in a similar performance to land a competitive 18-runner affair at York.
The four-year-old then put in a career-best performance last time out when readily landing the ultra-competitive Wolferton Handicap at Royal Ascot by 1/2 a length having been raised another 9lb to a mark of 106.
Mahsoob was well on top at the finish and still looked to be learning about the job, and it was a effort which suggested he was well up to winning Group races.
This is the acid test to see if Mahsoob can confirm that view, and I fully expect him to come through it and maintain his unbeaten record en route to a possible crack at the Group 1 King George.
Second Step has to shoulder a 3lb penalty for his Jockey Club Stakes success on seasonal reappearance but is highly progressive and looks a big danger.
This Luca Cumani trained four-year-old dug deep to beat Telescope by a head, and it was a terrific performance on level weights given that he was officially rating 12lb inferior to that rival going into the contest.
The son of Dalakhani has now won four of his seven starts, and remains open to further progress for a stable going well at present.
Hillstar finished runner-up in the race 12 months ago but was below form when fifth in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, and stable companion Gospel Choir would appear to hold stronger claims.
The Sir Michael Stoute trained six-year-old is a lightly raced sort who bagged a couple of Group 2 prizes in the early part of last season and looked as good as ever on reappearance when narrowly landing a Listed event over course and distance.
Coral’s top tip: It’s tough to look past Mahsoob landing the spoils here!