Things are heating up in the west with some classy animals staking feature-race claims on opening day at Ascot.
DISRUPTIVE I reckon this three-year-old son of Reset is going much better than first appears. He recorded slick time to break his maiden first-up at Northam and had excuses for the midfield finish at Belmont next time out, getting cast in his gate prior to the start and racing keenly before tiring in the straight. On Saturday Disruptive showed ample early toe to lead but carved out the first 800 metres of the 1400-metre journey in under 48 seconds – way too quick for this class, and was outmuscled over the concluding stages to finish a close third. If I were trainer Lindsey Smith, and clearly I'm not, but if I were, I'd be talking to owners about backing Disruptive up in the 1200 metre Belgravia Stakes this Saturday or the 1000 metre scamper the weekend after, races where he can use his speed to better effect. Career record (5:1-0-2)
Race to look for – 3YO race 1200m or shorter
DAINTY TESS What a great money spinner this mare is. Second-up from a spell on Saturday and carrying plenty of weight even after the claim for apprentice Kate Whitten, the state's Westspeed bonus record-holder was spotting a start to Winterbottom Stakes candidate and eventual winner State Solicitor turning for home but rattled off similar sectionals to finish a fighting second. The ultimate goals for Dainty Tess this preparation are likely to be the Jungle Mist and Jungle Dawn Classics that are run in late November and early December, respectively, and while she will probably be forced to take on the 'big boys' in the coming weeks she looks more than capable of measuring up, especially with some relief at the weights. Mark her prominently in anything she attempts between now and then. Career record (25:9-9-4)
Race to look for – Sprint races 1100-1400m
TOUCH OF SILVER A winner of five from eight so certainly knows how to find the line and there look to be plenty more wins to come if his first-up effort is any indication. The 1400 metres appeared within scope first-up especially after a solid trial prior however Touch of Silver was totally unsuited by the moderate tempo that transpired, taking a while to stoke up from back in the field and eventually finishing just over a length away in fourth. Expect the Durrant-trained gelding to derive a stack of improvement from the outing to be cherry-ripe for a race over further where he can find a more prominent spot around what is often a speed-favouring Ascot track. Apprentice Fred Kersley (grandson of the iconic horseman) is riding quite well at present and I'd be keeping him on for the near future. Career record (8:5-0-1)
Race to look for – Benchmark 66+ 1600-1800m