Silks Graphite – 3-year-old gelding; Darryll Holland – placed over six furlongs as recently as April, it is since being stepped up in trip that Silks Graphite has begun to start to look interesting. He caught the eye running on late over 7f at Brighton three starts back and again shaped with a deal of promise on his penultimate start. Upped to 10f there, he travelled well and made a big effort down the outside that he was never going to be able to sustain, particularly over a distance that would have stretched him. Interestingly, he made the same initial move as the well-handicapped Gallimimus there but wasn’t able to finish out as well as that progressive, strong staying winner. Silks Graphite was bizarrely stepped up in trip again next time and was well beaten, but he was still pressing for places with two furlongs to run and patently didn’t stay. He moves well through his races and has some gears, and looks crying out for a drop to a well run mile on decent ground. When he gets those conditions, he can definitely win off a mark of 55.
Beatron – 3-year-old filly; Tim Easterby – sneakily backed throughout the day, Beautron produced an excellent performance on her first run of the season, winning in the manner of a horse that is well ahead of her mark. Travelling best, she was closer to the fast pace than the strong-finishing runner-up but turned him away with relative ease and powered through the line. A 6lb rise will not be enough to stop her winning again, particularly as she should be even better over 7f.
Merricourt – 7-year-old gelding; Ian Jardine – down to a mark of just 60, Merricourt shaped like a sure-fire future winner on his most recent start. Held up off a steady pace at Musselburgh, he had little hope given the flow of the race but produced a remarkable effort to finish a clear second. Blinkers seemed to suit him very well here, and he should be making his presence felt in Northern handicaps over the next month.
Le Beau Garcon – 4-year-old gelding; Michael & David Easterby – Le Beau Garcon had only finished 15th on his season debut at Musselburgh, but subsequent events have shown that he ran a much better race than it looked there, with a number of those who raced wide with him coming out and running huge races since. Le Beau Garcon, himself, joined that club with a fine effort last time out at Catterick. Missing the break after the hood came off late, he had lost his race in the first furlong, but made up relentless ground into third and would surely have won with a level start. Down another pound for that run and with the yard in fine form, his turn should be just around the corner.