A winner and a non runner in my last article so all to fight for this week, but before that there has been so much going on in the world of racing that I have resorted to making notes to make sure I keep on top of things!
Last Sunday saw the long awaited clash between Treve and Cirrus Des Aigles at Longchamp and although we had a ding-dong battle between the pair of them all the way to the line, all I learnt is that Treve is not the new Frankel after all! The Arc winner 2013 is clearly a very decent filly but, despite murmurings of needing the run, better on quicker ground etc etc, connections must have been disappointed she could not beat a useful yardstick who she really ought to have left trailing in her wake?
On the same day they also raced in Hong Kong and Military Attack ran a blinder of a trial for the SIA Cup when a neck runner up to stable companion Designs On Rome. I backed the six-year-old last season in Singapore and I see no reason why he cannot follow up (let me look at the final field before placing any bets though), while trainer John Moore also looks to have a great chance in the sprint so watch this space for details as he is currently mob handed!
Back to matter closer to home and I was distraught to read that they intend to replace the all-weather track at Wolverhampton with Tapeta – time will tell but I won’t be betting there for at least a year on that basis alone. I remember how hated the surface was at Meydan to start with and I have heard of numerous trainers struggling to get their horses fit at home on tapeta gallops that allegedly take a few years to fully settle down?
Moving on to better news (not everyone agrees with me!), and the appointment of Sam Twiston-Davies as the number one at the Paul Nicholls yard. Whether he is the best jockey at this moment in time is a separate issue to be honest, but he is highly intelligent, takes his work very seriously, and will be a very valuable addition to the team (and will certainly get better in the saddle), but more importantly will be inputting directly from the schooling grounds and gallops (which is what is needed), watch this boy fly is all I can add and wish him the best of luck.
Switching my attentions to the weekend (anyone noticed the first two Classics or has Ron got you all hooked on handicaps lol?), and Newmarket. Not my favourite course (a bit too corporate and character free for my liking), the racing is obviously top class though I doubt the results are quite as obvious as the betting may imply? To my disgust they are already watering (annoys me big time – if you have a soft ground horse and it rains, tough luck, if you have one who likes to hear his hooves rattle, they water), and although I understand Michael Prosser needs to keep the ground safe and attract the better runners, I do feel sorry for the owners of the horses who may now be inconvenienced. Anyway, moaning over (for now), and on to the racing where I cannot desert favourite Kingman in the first classic (but at the odds he stays off the tips this weekend), who showed an electric turn of foot to take the Greenham though it needs to be noted the time was nothing to write home about. Those looking for an each way alternative could do a lot worse than Kingston Hill who is reported to be working well for Roger Varian
but all in all it’s a race to savour and not one to get rich from (unless you own the winner of course)! Me, I’ll be betting at Goodwood instead (see you in the ring) with Sir Michael Stoute’s Waila first on the list in the 2.20pm over a mile and a half. She is a class act whose only really bad run last year was when seventh at Ascot but that was the Group One Champion Fillies and Mares – a light year better than this Listed contest. We are hoping she is fully fit of course after 196 days off the track but she is certainly the class act and well worth opening the wallet for. Secondly, I cant miss out on Zibelina who is pulling up trees on the Newmarket gallops (allegedly) and is said to be even better ahead of her seasonal debut which will take some doing. The daughter of Dansili won her first three races and wasn’t beaten that far in the Group Three Atalanta Stakes on her last run, but she has grown and blossomed after a winter off and should find this event fairly easy pickings.
Lastly, we cannot let the 1000 Guineas go by on Sunday without at least a mention. As Ron and I discuss on the Podcast this is one tough to solve classic and much as I would be happy to see favourite Rizeena win for Clive Brittain, I just cant see it and the 7/2 is too skinny in a very competitive renewal. Betimes is reported to be working well and is overpriced at 33/1 for the John Gosden yard but I hope Lucky Kristale can take it for the wonderful George Margarson. Fact is she has all the form needed and would be far shorter if trained by someone a little better known but at 10/1 she could prove difficult to keep out of the frame at an each way price – he says with precious little confidence!
Selections this week:
Waila 2.25pm Goodwood Saturday
Zibelena 4.05pm Goodwood Saturday
Horses to follow:
Horsted Keynes – always seen as a late develop connections hope he will be even better as a four year old. He started well enough with a comfortable victory at Yarmouth last Tuesday but was blowing hard enough after the race to suggest there is improvement to come despite the fact that the seven furlongs that day were covered in an impressive 1.m 23.44 seconds, 0.16 quicker than standard!
***No Current entries***
Between Wickets – ran a blinder at a big price when runner up to the impressive and well backed Provident Spirit, and just like all Tregoning horses the son of Compton Place looked certain to improve considerably for the run. I doubt he is special but he ought to be more than capable of picking up his maiden if well placed by connections as seems most likely.
***Entered 4.40pm Goodwood Saturday ***
Tominator – back in training at the Jonjo O’Neill yard they are very happy with him and he looks a picture – expect a few wins this season with the Chester Cup very much on the agenda.
***No current entries***
Mutakayyef– trained by William Haggas I had a quandary this week – do I or don’t I back the son of Sea The Stars? As with all the stable juveniles he was a shoe in to improve for the run but he is spoken of in glowing terms by gallop watchers in Newmarket. Fact is he ran as expected – slowly away, green as grass, and hampered as well, he will learn plenty from the experience and can be ignored at your peril.
***Entered Newmarket 5.00pm Saturday***
Freemason – a once raced juvenile owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing – Harbinger (a posh syndicate), he cost a whopping 150,000 Guineas so ought to be half decent – word is he is all that and more, so one to stay on the right side of.
***No current entries ***
Idea – twice raced two year old trained by Sir Michael Stoute and said to be flying on the gallops. Won after a poor run at Windsor when last seen looking as green as grass and very much one to keep on the right side of – originally nominated by a Post racing reader!
***No current entries***