Tuesday 6.30pm All hail Family Mullins!! That 4/1 about Mullins to retain his Irish trainers Championship crown may not have been my biggest win financially but it was certainly right up there with the most satisfying. Hard work really does pay and Open Eagle was certainly a sizeable cherry on a fairly large cake.
Right let’s get back to business and it’s time to switch our full attention to the Flat with a solid Ascot card tomorrow (Wednesday), the Guineas Newmarket meeting at the weekend, three days at Chester, Victoria Cup at Ascot the following Saturday and then three of my favourite days of York’s Dante meeting!
The thrills of Punchestown and the lack of a server for four days have rather put me on the back foot! So the aim is to get tomorrows Lucky 15 up and then complete a long overdue Craven/Greenham Review. My list of 2016 Notebook 2yo’s is already paying dividends and I would rather like to get that in the public domain before the end of the week, to what extent only time will tell.
Wednesdays Lucky 15
Ascot 2.35 ICESPIRE 15/8 Coral + Ladbrokes
Ascot 3.10 HARBOUR LAW 15/2 PP (Low as 6/1 Coral + Ladbrokes)
Ascot 3.45 SEVEN HEAVENS 8/1 general
Ascot 4.55 OASIS SPEAR 14/1 general
and here’s why
Ascot 2.35 ICESPIRE Of all the Frankel fillies I saw last year as 2yo’s this one impressed me the most. Slow away, three lengths last at the three furlong pole, on debut she came through horses, got to the front at the furlong pole and strode away! Massively impressive and with trainer John Gosden saying “I gave her an entry in the Coronation Stakes, but she hints she will go further. The interesting thing about these Frankels – they have an extraordinary stride on them and she is one of those”, it is no surprise to see her open her season here at Ascot!
Ascot 3.10 HARBOUR LAW Last season’s romantic St.Leger winner has to give weight to some seasoned stayers here and that won’t be easy but every one of his opponents has a question to answer. Not only did Harbour Law win the St.Leger but he was a solid second over C&D in the Queens Vase at the Royal Meeting and at the price I think it’s worth taking the chance that as a Classic winner he might just be better than these!
Ascot 3.45 SEVEN HEAVENS Ever since the end of the 2016 Flat season I’ve had in my head that Frankel was more likely to sire a superstar sprinter than he was a Classic winner. Frankel’s time as a 3yo to ^f in his 2000 Guineas victory would have won most July Cups! Don’t know if it will be Seven Heavens but he’s as headstrong as his Dad, certainly has a bit of class and it will be interesting if Frankie Dettori adopts point and go tactics! On debut last season he beat Lockheed over C&D on Good to Firm ground, can he repeat the feat as a 3yo?
Ascot 4.55 OASIS SPEAR Stalls are on the stand side for this straight mile contest and Oasis Spear is drawn furthest away from the rail which I hope will be beneficial if things get a bit messy on the near rail. He was fifth in this contest last year on much softer ground but has form on a quicker surface, he’ll get the trip, Chris Wall has had a couple of winners in the past fortnight and apprentice Gabriele Malune has appeared in my notes in a positive manner before. Worth a go at a double figure price.
#FantasticMrFahey sends an interesting team to Pontefract tomorrow (Wednesday).
In the 2.15 debut winner Jasi tries to give weight to seven others although Adam McNamara reduces it by 3lbs although he’ll need to have his wits about him at the start as he’s drawn widest in stall 8. Ventura Dragon also represents the yard with Paul Hanagan on board. Middleham Park paid £60K for this son of the speedy Dragon Pulse and his mum was a tad rapid too. No surprise to see him put in at just 10/3.
Luna Mare makes her seasonal debut at 4.00 in a C4 10F Fillies handicap but will have her work cut out giving weight to 3yo’s from the Stoute, Beckett and Johnston yards. Adam McNamara saves a valuable 3lbs.
Gin in the Inn will try to defy a 7lb rise by the handicapper in the 4.35. On the plus side Paul Hanagan gets on very well with him coming wide and late. On the down side he’s drawn 2 and for a hold up horse over Pontefract’s 6f that’s not really the best place to be.
#FantasticMrFahey is double handed in the 5.10, a C5 6F sprint for 3yo’s. Springforth is a really consistent type over this trip and grade but I feel the more progressive of the pair is the Hanagan ridden Yarmouk. My notebook says “I am sure this horse was a £165K purchase at the Tatts Guineas Breeze Up’s when he was called “Tumbulgum”! French pedigree by Siyouni. Taking time to get the hang of racing but a good second to the improving Mutahaady on handicap debut. OR70 probably underestimates his talent. Could be a progressive, gelded 3yo.” Has been gelded and runs here off OR68 and at 14/1 with PP I could be tempted into a small each way wager.
Finally the progressive Noah Amor looks to double up in the apprentice handicap at 5.45 with winning jockey Connor Murtagh keeping the ride. Well drawn in stall 2 this looks a bit of canny placement to me! The 4/1 with PP looks a bit of value to me!
For all of you who are already going through the weekend’s Newmarket cards, not to mention looking at later Ante Post bets Johnny G was recently very revealing about where his big guns were going! Never had him down as a “Man with a Plan”. May have to rethink that!
“John Gosden mapping out path to Classic riches with powerful three-year-old team Tuesday 25 April 2017
After a week stacked full of Classic trial winners, John Gosden has been attempting to find the next logical steps for his three-year-olds. Shutter Speed, Daban, Dabyah, Middle Kingdom and Gracious Diana all put their names into the hat for future honours, with Daban and Dabyah set at this stage for the English and French 1000 Guineas respectively.
“Shutter Speed is a good filly and has always looked our best middle-distance three-year-old filly. She ran well last year when it was soft and we are heading towards the Musidora at York with her,” said Gosden. “Her pedigree is quick. The mother is by Oasis Dream and a mile and a quarter may be her perfect trip, but we will see.
“Gracious Diana is a lovely filly and I think she is a Ribblesdale filly. We hope to go back to Newbury with her for the Oaks trial (Swettenham) there.
“I am going to have a go at the Dante with Middle Kingdom and find out where we stand. He is a War Front and has a good attitude, so we will see where we go.”
Gosden said of Daban and Dabyah, who run in the colours of Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah: “I don’t think there is any point for an owner with two fillies who’ve won their trial to be taking each other on in a Classic, which is why Dabyah is pointing towards Deauville and Daban towards Newmarket.
“In the Pretty Polly (at the Guineas meeting) we have a nice filly called Astronomy’s Choice and also Precious Ramotswe. She won her only start at Kempton and Astronomy’s Choice won her only start at Newmarket, both are pointing towards the Pretty Polly.
“We have a nice filly that won the Zetland last year called Coronet. The plan with her at the moment having spoken to the owner is that she looks towards the Prix Saint-Alary.”
One who will not be running anywhere soon is Utmost, third at Newcastle on his reappearance behind Forest Ranger. “The spring has been a little hard on Utmost and he is looking a bit light in himself. We are backing right off him and are not rushing him anywhere,” said Gosden. “I am just going to give him time off and you won’t see him until mid-season onwards. He is perfectly sound, he just wants backing off. The smartest thing a trainer can do is hit the pause button, the worst thing you can do is push on with them.”
Gosden’s patience in Jack Hobbs was rewarded with success in the Sheema Classic and his mid-season target is the King George at Ascot, with the Royal meeting first, while the likes So Mi Dar and Journey are also working towards a return. “Jack Hobbs is pointing towards the Hardwicke. He started cantering yesterday. We are going for the Hardwicke as a prep for the King George,” said Gosden. “So Mi Dar is in great form and we looking towards the Middleton (at York in May).
“We are pointing Journey towards the Coronation Cup (Epsom). She is in good form and has not run since Champions Day last year.
“There is not much for Nathra at the moment. She won the Nell Gwyn and was second in the French 1000 Guineas. She will be waiting for races later on. She could possibly go for the Duke Of Cambridge at Ascot.
“The plan is to run Western Hymn in the Jockey Club Stakes. He is in great order, the old boy. The old chap likes a little more distance now. So he will like going a mile and a half rather than a mile and a quarter.
“There is the Lockinge for Persuasive, but it is a tough race for a filly. She is in good order and we could well be looking at a Group race in Ireland (Lanwades Stud) that Chris Richardson (racing manager) was keen that she was put in. She could go there, then the Duke Of Cambridge. She had a good winter and, a bit like me, she did too well.”
The Godolphin-owned pair of three-year-olds Dreamfield and Valcartier both have Royal Ascot targets.
“Dreamfield we will point towards the Commonwealth Cup and that sort of direction. I’ve not decided where to start him off yet. You could look at the Pavilion or the race at Newbury, the Caernarvon. That is most likely,” said Gosden.
“Valcartier is in great form and I want to go the longer route with him. We will step up to a mile and a quarter and see if he is good enough for the Tercentenary. He is a nice horse, he was always a bit mentally slow and delicate but he has done well.”