Whilst most of the attention has been on the 2000 Guineas in the build up to the first classics of the 2017 flat season, there was a mini-gamble on Winter for Sunday’s Newmarket fillies’ classic. Trained by Aidan O’Brien the daughter of Galileo was trimmed to 8/1 from 12s for the 1000 Guineas at BetVictor although stablemate Rhododendron looks the Ballydoyle first string and remains the solid 2/1 market leader.
Fast ground is the order of the day at Redcar where Classical Times (2.30) can make it third time lucky for Peter Chapple-Hyam. The filly had two starts as a juvenile finishing third in a Haydock maiden before finishing a decent fifth (of ten) in a listed contest at Newmarket back in October. That wouldn’t have been the greatest listed contest ever staged at HQ but the selection was well backed and her handler looks to have found an ideal opportunity for her to break her maiden tag.
Ronnie The Rooster is a dual winner on the all-weather but suggested he was well up to winning on turf when finishing runner up at Pontefract last month. One that catches my eye on his handicap debut is Teodoro for Tom Dascombe and this lightly-raced sort gets the vote. The selection has been gelded since his last run in March and is certainly bred to be a fair bit better than a 69-rated animal; do note to see if there is any confidence in the market.
Gilgamesh (4.30) has won his last three starts and is only 4lbs higher than when scoring at Wolverhampton back in March. The placed horses have both won in the interim period and trainer George Scott has always thought a fair bit of his charge who runs in the famous Niarchos colours.
At Lingfield Mukalal (2.10) may appreciate a return to an all-weather surface having not appeared at home on the Newmarket undulations on his reappearance last month. He had previously shaped with promise when runner up at Newcastle on his sole juvenile start when he pulled hard. He was fitted with a hood for his latest start and the headgear is reapplied – the champion jockey Jim Crowley is in the plate.
Something has been clearly wrong with Marmion in his two runs so far this season, but he is extremely well-handicapped on his best form and I’m sure Les Eyre will get him back to form sooner rather than later. Synodic was given the best of rides last time and should be on the premises but Theos Lolly (3.40) is taken to put behind a modest reappearance for Richard Fahey. The selection has run well in both starts at today’s track including when making all from a 1lb lower mark last February.
The 7f Handicap for three-year-olds is a very hot contest with Battered and the unbeaten Family Fortunes much respected but I am looking forward to the reappearance of Endless Charm (4.10) who won her sole 2-y-old start at Kempton over 6f back in November. The second and third have both won and the Godolphin runner would be a confident selection were it not for her draw in stall ten. If she can get a decent position from her wide post by the first bend then she must go close although that is a big if in such a competitive heat.
They go at Sedgefield this evening and Nine Altars is the best-handicapped horse in the field but does he really stay this near two-and-a-half-mile trip? The vote goes to Banny’s Lad who is 3lbs lower than when fading close home over 2m 6f at Wetherby last time. This trip looks ideal, he has winning form on fast ground and the stable of Michael Easterby remain in very good form under both codes.
If the blinkers work the oracle on Boss Des Mottes (7.00) he can bounce back to form in the handicap chase over the minimum trip. The selection is still only a six-year-old and was well backed when weakening close home at Wetherby last time. The selection won off a 12lbs higher mark for Dan Skelton last summer.
At Towcester Nancy’s Trix (3.50) was backed as if she would be very competitive at Exeter last month having her first start since joining Tom George. Connections have had over three weeks to get to the bottom of what was ailing her and I am willing to forgive that mulish effort.
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