I was at Nottingham to see the debut of Tulip Fever (1.50) when the William Haggas-trained filly got going far too late, and she looks well-placed to shed the maiden tag at the second time of asking. The daughter of Dutch Art is bred to be a fast and precocious juvenile, and can land the York opener under Pat Cosgrave.
It’s interesting that the Haggas yard have persisted with Sainted (4.05) with connections surely tempted to send the Cheveley Park home-bred to the paddocks. Her best form has admittedly come on a softer surface, winning in testing conditions at Doncaster and Newmarket, but is clearly progressive and has been kept in training to gain some valuable black-type. She can shrug off a handicap mark of 83 en-route to a step-up in class thereafter.
Another likely improver is Big Country (2.20), who landed a gamble for new connections on his seasonal debut at Wolverhampton, and followed-up in the Roseberry Handicap at Kempton Park. Mick Appleby’s gelding was last seen finishing fourth at Newmarket however, looked to take to turf well and must go close under the eye-catching jockey booking of Andrea Atzeni. Connections believe the son of High Chaparral has the potentially to be a 100+ rated horse and he is a confident each-way selection dropping back in trip to a mile and a quarter.
Atzeni can double-up aboard Sun Lover (3.30) for his boss Roger Varian in the 7f Handicap. The son of Oasis Dream shed the maiden tag at the belated fourth attempt when last sighted scoring at Newcastle in the autumn however, the 4yo gelding is bred to be useful and boasts the potential to be much smarter than his opening mark of 85. With the yard in terrific form at present (9 winners at 30% strike-rate in the last fortnight) he should have more improvement than his exposed rivals.
I’ve been particularly impressed by how well James Doyle has been riding lately, enjoying a double at Goodwood on Sunday, and likely to enjoy further success at the track aboard Mark Johnston’s Gloriosus (8.15) this evening. The colt made it third time lucky last time out at Beverley, staying on strongly to win a 7f Maiden under Joe Fanning, and should have more to come now sent handicapping and upped in trip to a mile.
Tonight’s Aintree card looks a cracker with Vintage Vinnie (7.20) well-treated returning from a break to land the feature 3m Handicap Chase for trainer Rebecca Curtis and 3lb conditional jockey Jonathan Moore. The selection is just 4lb higher than winning a Listed Chase on his preferred good ground last season at Market Rasen and has conditions to suit to bounce back to winning ways.
Parsnip Pete landed the 2m Handicap Chase on the corresponding card 12 months ago and could be potentially well-treated from the same mark under Paddy Brennan. The 11-y-o should appreciate today’s forecast good ground but is best watched having been pulled-up on his last two starts, and preference lies instead with Fergal O’Brien’s Owen Na View (8.25) under Paddy Brennan. The son of Presenting is bred to appreciate a sounder surface and should strip fitter for two recent runs after returning from an absence of almost six months.
Minotaur (6.50) is likely to be a skinny price but will be difficult to beat getting 7lb from main market rival Jimmy Breekie. Jonjo O’Neil’s expensive French import was a beaten favourite on his hurdles debut at the track in December but has improved thereafter, shedding the maiden tag over timber last month at Carlisle, and is likely to follow-up under Aidan Coleman.
BetVictor are delighted to announce a new customer offer for Royal Ascot with our ‘Top That’ concession giving customers a free bet for all 30 races of the five-day meeting. Godolphin’s Jack Hobbs the 9/4 favourite for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes after 17 were left entered at the five-day stage for Wednesday’s feature Gp 1 contest over a mile and a quarter, with Aidan O’Brien’s globetrotter Highland Reel the biggest mover and 10/3 from 9/2 to follow-up his recent Coronation Cup success dropping back in trip.;