The 2020 Soba Conditions Stakes takes place over 5 furlongs and 7 yards at Hamilton Racecourse on Saturday 1 August. Just six runners are set to go to post, but the appearance of some seasoned sprinters makes it an interesting contest.
Tanasoq looks the least likely winner on a mark of 87, as the 7-year-old has been regressive this season, dropping 11lbs for five disappointing runs. However, he did beat El Astronaute in receipt of 4lb in April 2019 and was second in the 2019 Soba Conditions Stakes. He could go close on his best form, but he’s been a long way off that recently.
Keep Busy has been living up to her name with four runs since lockdown, and she performed well in two of those to finish second behind two potentially high-class sprinters. But she disappointed in a Group 3 last time and, though this is supposedly a drop-in-class, the leading protagonists are rated higher than the horses that beat her that day. She could go well but her busy season may have caught up with her.
Istanbul ran well when beaten just over three-lengths in a Group race on his final start as 2-year-old but was well-beaten by inferior rivals to some of the ones he faces today. He could improve for his first run of the season but needs to if he’s to win this.
El Astronaute can be forgiven his poor run at York last time, where he’s often disappointed, and is best judged on his win at Doncaster on his penultimate start. He beat Tarboosh off level-weights but must concede 3lb to that re-opposing rival. He could get an easy lead, which should suit, but the stiff climb to the line ay Hamilton should make his vulnerable in the closing stages.
Tarboosh returns to defend his crown after winning a five-runner race last year. He’s 8lb worse off with Tanasoq for a two-lengths win but he won cosily on that occasion and arrives in much better form that Tanasoq this year. But he could still be vulnerable to a horse that remains unexposed at 5-furlongs.
Lahore is our tip for the Soba Stakes 2020. The six-year-old spent most of his career trying to win over 6 and 7 furlongs, but he’s won two of his four starts since being dropped back to the minimum trip. He’s also been strongest at the finish in those two wins and looks capable of tracking a likely strong pace before pouncing late in the climb to the line.