Empire to strike again at Hamilton
Last Empire can claim her second successive victory at Hamilton in the racingtv.com Novice Stakes today.
Kevin Ryan's filly shaped with abundant promise on her only juvenile appearance at Haydock last October, keeping on at the death to finish a never-threatening third.
The daughter of Pivotal returned from an eight-month absence over this course and distance at the start of June and looked to have a much better idea of what was required, travelling strongly before powering home to win decisively.
The obvious question to ask is whether Last Empire will prove as effective on the forecast faster surface on her return to Scotland, but if she does then she is likely to prove very hard to beat.
Coolagh Forest catches the eye in the most valuable race on the card, the £30,000 Almada Mile Handicap.
Richard Fahey had been targeting his three-year-old at the Britannia at Royal Ascot, but for one reason or another he failed to make the gig.
He has won his last two outings in the style of a very progressive animal, winning the Royal Mile at Musselburgh before returning there to defy a 4lb higher mark with ease.
That might not have been much of a contest, and he is up another 12lb, but he looks worth sticking with until it is clear the handicapper has caught up with him.
Clarion should make it third time lucky in the Janes Solicitors No Win No Fee Maiden Stakes at Brighton.
Owned and bred by the Queen, the daughter of Dubawi looked a winner in waiting after finishing a highly-promising fourth on her May debut over seven furlongs at Newmarket.
With a step up to a mile expected to suit, she was unsurprisingly a warm order on her second start at Goodwood, but favourite backers had their fingers burnt as she found one too good in Andrew Balding's Be More.
It was still a decent effort from a filly who clearly has talent, and a further rise in distance to a mile and a quarter should help her open her account in this lower grade.
Crystal Tribe is fancied to give weight and a beating to his rivals in the Brighton Supports Racing Staff Week Handicap.
The William Haggas-trained three-year-old is bred to be pretty smart as a son of Dansili out of Fillies' Mile winner Crystal Music, but his three efforts in maiden company were average at best.
However, with blinkers fitted for the first time, he was a well-backed favourite on his handicap debut at Lingfield a few weeks ago - and there was plenty to like about the way he flew home from an unpromising position to deliver the goods.
A 4lb rise for his return to turf looks more than fair for a horse with potential to improve further.
Haggas could also be on the mark at Chepstow, with Narina in the County Marquees Chepstow Handicap.
Making her handicap debut, the daughter of Rip Van Winkle starts life with a rating of 64 - which, based on her second at Bath on her penultimate outing, may prove pretty lenient.
National Hunt fare comes from Stratford, where Alan King's highly-rated hurdler Fidux can make it two from two over fences in the H. L. Barnes Novices' Chase.
BRIGHTON: 2.00 Confrerie, 2.30 Orobas, 3.00 Clarion, 3.30 With Approval, 4.00 Crystal Tribe, 4.30 Sonnetina, 5.00 Esaaka.
CHEPSTOW: 6.00 The Establishment, 6.30 Dramatic Sands, 7.00 Seaforth, 7.30 Huboor, 8.00 So Near So Farhh, 8.30 Narina, 9.00 All Right.
HAMILTON: 2.15 Don Ramiro, 2.45 My Little Orphan, 3.15 Mecca's Gift, 3.45 LAST EMPIRE (NAP), 4.15 Coolagh Forest, 4.45 Mondain, 5.15 Paddy Power, 5.45 Dancing Mountain.
STRATFORD: 6.15 Surrey Blaze, 6.45 Fidux, 7.15 Ink Master, 7.45 Fresh New Dawn, 8.15 Argyle, 8.45 Vinnie's Getaway.
SELECTIONS: Last Empire and Crystal Tribe.