SOFTENING ground at Newmarket could help Oasis Star (3.25) inch to victory in the Bellwinch Homes Handicap.

Although Oasis Star has done most of her racing on a firm surface, there is evidence from an earlier win at Chester that in an ideal world she would prefer less jarring underfoot conditions.

Soon-to-retire trainer Peter Harris sensibly gave his three-year-old a midsummer break and she has come back as good as ever with a couple of storming efforts at Newbury and Ascot.

Although Oasis Star failed to make the frame in either of those races, she got within sniffing distance of some high-class rivals, giving rise to more than a glimmer of hope of paying today's expenses by scoring at odds almost certain to be 10-1 or better.

A freak occurrence when hampered soon after the start by a loose horse at York last Saturday might well have cost Penrith success at the final fixture of the season on the Knavesmire.

Given that Penrith lost vital momentum as a result of that unfortunate incident, and yet was only beaten 2 lengths by Nashaab, there is little doubt Sheikh Mohammed's representative can be considered a most unlucky loser.

At least the Middleham-based colt has not risen in the weights as a result of finishing fourth in what was a competitive event, and therefore must have a great chance of reversing the form with Nashaab, who has to shoulder a 6lb penalty in the George Winsor Handicap.

The main attraction on a very busy card at Redcar is the appearance of three blue-blooded two-year-olds from the mighty Newmarket-based Godolphin team.

Somewhat surprisingly two of them, Archeology and Fashion House, take each other on in the EBF Maiden Fillies Stakes.

The reason for the head-to-head clash of stablemates is due, I suspect, to the lack of viable opportunities for juvenile fillies at this time of year, forcing Saeed Bin Suroor to pitch his youngsters up against one another.

As for the outcome of the £6,000 contest, the fact that Frankie Dettori's able deputy, Kerrin McEvoy, takes the ride on Archeology, speaks volumes for her prospects, especially as she ran so promisingly when fifth on her debut at Newmarket.

At the last meeting on the course 13 days ago, backers of Mount Vettori (3.45) had good cause to feel hard-done-by as Lynda Ramsden's gelding was mugged near the winning line by a 33-1 rank outsider, Mistress Twister.

Perhaps the distance of one mile contributed to the selection's demise because he's now been dropped back to seven-furlongs for the Wedding Reception Handicap.

Mount Vettori has tumbled down the weights since the start of the year and if anywhere near back to his best will surely prevail off his favourable rating.

In the mile-and-six-furlong Weatherbys Insurance Services Handicap, Best Port (3.10) could take some beating at a venue where he invariably takes on a new lease of life.

Young Mark Lawson left his challenge far too late when Best Port was only third behind Red Forest and Most Definitely over course and distance last time out. It was a tactical error, which didn't help the John Parkes-trained stayer, who looks a real banker for each-way thieves.

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