A couple of exciting performances at Kempton on Tuesday with First Receiver and Meraas gaining wide-margin successes. The latter’s was the best display of the day on the clock and the way he saw off Godolphin’s well-backed City Walk, who tried in vain to match strides with Mark Johnston’s three-year-old, was visually very impressive.
At Newcastle Mubakker did us a favour when landing a gamble in the 6f handicap to maintain his unbeaten all-weather record. He now needs to prove himself as effective on turf although I thought he shaped with considerable promise at Yarmouth on debut. His trainer Sir Michael Stoute has certainly hit the ground running this term.
The first first turf meeting of the campaign is held at Yarmouth this afternoon, but we begin today’s preview back at Kempton where the highlight is the 10f Group 3 Classic Trial Stakes – transferred from Sandown – which features at least a couple of exciting unbeaten prospects.
John Gosden’s Hypothetical was a fluent 5L winner at Chelmsford on debut and his ability to handle today’s underfoot conditions are proven. The runner up went one better on his next start, but the form is nothing special and this represents a big step up in grade.
If there is a star on show today it is likely to be Born With Pride (2.45) who made all to win her sole juvenile start in listed company at Newmarket back in the autumn. That success was gained on heavy ground and her ability to handle today’s polytrack surface must be take on trust, but she is clearly held in some regard by connections given she holds Group 1 entries going forward.
Her draw in stall eight is less than ideal but I hope “Aussie” Tom Marquand can get his mount into a decent position at the first bend. The William Haggas’ trained filly is 9/4 with Unibet. One note of caution the two Haggas-trained runners on Tuesday were, arguably, a tad disappointing although Cold Front finished second and may have caught a tarter behind Meraas.
John Gosden saddles two in the listed Snowdrop Stakes including the progressive Nazeef who won three of her four starts last term and steps up in grade this afternoon. She is drawn poorly in stall 13 – of 14 – however and preference is for her stablemate Scentasia (3.55) the mount of Frankie Dettori.
The filly carries a 3lbs penalty for winning twice in this grade at Lingfield back in the autumn over a mile and when stepped up to ten furlongs. The selection is well drawn in stall three with the likely pacemaker Viva Gloria, who is having her first start for Jane Chapple-Hyam, drawn inside her in stall one. The each way selection is 5/1 at Boylesports who are paying four places on the race.
In the Mile Handicap Highfaluting was in tremendous form when last seen in the autumn when he didn’t finish out of the first two in four handicaps here over 7f and a mile. The suggestion is that he is slightly better at the shorter trip, however, and he is 4lbs higher than for his last run.
Purgatory (4.30) may need luck in running from stall one but his record since the application of blinkers reads 1311 and his latest success at York back in October was a career best. He will need to improve again given he is 6lbs higher in the weights, but he gets the each way vote at 4/1 with Unibet who are offering four places.
The ground is, unsurprisingly, described as firm at Yarmouth. Amanda Perrett’s Dutch Story’s course record reads 121 and I remember him running away with a handicap here from an 8lbs lower mark here back in October. That fluent success was gained on heavy ground, but he does have winning form on fast ground. He must go close, but he is short enough in the betting – best price 7/4 at William Hill – and the each way alternative goes to Atletico (2.30).
The booking of Ben Curtis is a positive for the David Evans’ trained 8-year-old who can run from the same mark as when runner up over today’s C&D back in August. The selection had been running consistently well earlier in the year without striking gold on the all-weather where he is rated 7lbs higher than turf. There is plenty of pace in the race which should suit and 5/1 with Boylesports looks a fair each way alternative to the market leader.
In the finale Casino Di Notte (6.00) bids to extend his excellent course record which currently stands at 2211. Both wins have been gained over a mile and today’s drop back to 7f is a slight concern given there is no guaranteed pace in the race. The hope is that talented apprentice Cieren Fallon is wise to the pace angle and 10/1 with Boylesports is another fair each way price.