After an unbeaten juvenile campaign, the sky had seemed to be the limit for Clive Cox’s Reckless Abandon. Defeats in his two all-age Group race outings this term have done little to discredit that assumption and a step up in trip for the July Cup could be to his advantage.
His seasonal reappearance run when third to Kingsgate Native in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at Haydock looked a strong run on his first foray into action against older horses and the fact that he saw his three-year-old’s weight-for-age allowance eroded to 4lbs by a Group 1-winner’s penalty endorsed his effort further.
Whilst most certainly not stopping on that occasion, it may have been that – quite apart from needing the run against race-fit opposition – he was just slightly outpaced.
Given a miler’s campaign had been mooted after the colt’s juvenile season, it would make sense that he may not have the pace to mix it with the very best around over the basement trip and his sire’s other two Group 1-winning offspring posted their top-table successes over 7f and 1m.
As such, a step up to the July Cup’s 6f could be just the ticket for the Godolphin-owned son of Exchange Rate, who has won each of his three tries at trips beyond 5f, including two Group 1 races.
Nonetheless he was far from disgraced against the re-opposing King’s Stand first and second Sole Power and Shea Shea in his most recent outing over the basement trip – finishing a two-and-a-quarter-length fifth – and could have been a lot closer to winning had he not drifted off a true-line when the chips were down at Ascot.
The Cox inmate has shown a tendency to do as much in the past and for this reason a draw close to the rail would offer dramatic assistance to his chances.
Finally for a horse that has been raced up with the pace – if not as an outright front-runner for the majority of his career – renowned hold-up ride supremo Richard Hughes is an intriguing jockey booking.
Hughes had previously been strongly linked with the ride on Aussie raider Shamexpress, so his decision to plump for Cox’s colt is a vote of confidence.
Whether a change to hold-up tactics is to be employed or not, the Irishman is arguably a superior pilot to Adam Kirby – who has partnered the three-year-old on both his runs this term – and a superb judge of race-pace.
Top class jockey? Check.
6lb weight-for-age allowance? Check.
More suitable trip? Quite possibly.
A helpful draw could well be the final piece in the jigsaw and should providence in its infinite wisdom yield the desired near-rail berth, the 9/1 available about victory for Reckless Abandon – who has prior experience of scoring over the HQ undulations as a juvenile – could be worth more than a second look.