Ascot tips for Saturday: Western Hymn to call the tune in Cumberland Lodge Stakes


David Metcalf | September 30, 2016

Class-dropping Western Hymn to collect in Cumberland Lodge Stakes

Western Hymn can take advantage of a drop in class to get back to winning ways in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot on Saturday (14:30).

This John Gosden trained gelding started last season in fine form, winning the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes over course and distance before following up with a game head success over Arab Spring in a similar grade affair at Sandown.

Western Hymn then ran a blinder when stepping up into Group 1 company and finishing third to Free Eagle in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, only getting outpaced inside the final furlong to be beaten 2 3/4 lengths

That form is extremely strong in the context of this contest, and the five-year-old was also far from disgraced on his final start of the campaign when third to brilliant stable companion Golden Horn in the Group 1 Coral-Eclipse.

Western Hymn started off this season with three really solid efforts to finish runner-up in this grade, but has found life tough in his last two starts in Group 1 contests.

The son of High Chaparral will appreciate the return to calmer waters and this is arguably the easiest task he has faced for some time.

All eyes on Shalaa in Bengough Stakes

Shalaa can make his class tell to overcome a lengthy absence and land the Group 3 Bengough Stakes (15:05). Gosden’s colt was a top-class juvenile last season when winning five of his six starts.

The last two of those successes came in Group 1 company with Shalaa beating Gutaifan by 1 3/4 lengths in Prix Morny at Deauville, before following up with a stylish victory in the July Stakes at Newmarket.

Shalaa made all in the latter, quickening clear at halfway to readily beat Buratino with far more in hand than the winning margin of 1/2 a length suggests.

It was a most taking performance, which earned the son of Invincible Spirit an official rating of 120, and marked him out as a potential superstar sprinter in the making.

Although Shalaa now makes his belated reappearance following 371 days on the sidelines due to injury, he has reportedly been working well and looks potentially a cut-above his rivals in what is not the strongest of contests for the grade.

Sole can Power to glory in Rous Stakes

Sole Power can capitalise in an ease in grade to notch a first success of the year in the Listed 5f Rous Stakes (16:15).

The Edward Lynam trained veteran has won 12 of his 58 starts and five of those successes have come in Group 1 company.

Sole Power is also a dual course and distance winner so, although not quite the force of old, ran really well to finish eighth of 18 to Limato in a red-hot renewal of the Group 1 July Stakes at Newmarket back in July.

He was also far from disgraced when eighth of 19 to Meccas Angel in the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York on his penultimate outing.

This nine-year-old now drops down into Listed company for the first time in over four years, and on the pick of his form would eat his rivals for breakfast.

Other pluses are that Sole Power now gets the quick underfoot conditions that he relishes and the services of Jamie Spencer in the saddle, who looks the ideal partner to deliver him with his customary last gasp challenge.

Ascot tips for Saturday, October 1st

14.00: Eternally
14.30: Western Hymn (NAP)
15.05: Shalaa
15.40: Squats
16.15: Sole Power (NB)
16.50: Shamshon


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