Congratulations to champion jockey Harry Skelton who thoroughly deserved his first title. He has improved leaps and bounds in recent years and, for the first time, arguably, since AP McCoy was in his pomp, the champion jockey is also the best jockey day in day out on the circuit.
It is Classic Trials Day from Sandown and the ITV cameras are showing four races as well as the latest National from the idyllic course in the grounds of Scone Palace on the outskirts of Perth.
In the Esher Cup at Sandown I am sweet on the chances of the Crisfords’ Ilza’Eem (1.50) who easily landed the odds at Redcar on his turf debut having gone down by half a length at Kempton previously to Godolphin’s Royal Fleet who also made a winning seasonal reappearance at Yarmouth last week. The selection – 3s with BetVictor – is still entered in the Guineas next weekend and, while that may be tilting at windmills, I would be disappointed if he did not run a big race off an opening mark of 89.
Yibir heads the market in the 10f Classic Trial but I think there might be one or two with more to offer this term. Etonian is a dual course winner and his debut success over 2000 Guineas favourite One Ruler was very good juvenile form as was his subsequent Gp 3 Solario Stakes success although the runner up was a beaten odds-on favourite earlier in the month.
There are mixed messages on breeding as to his stamina for this trip, however, and I hope to see Frankie Dettori make plenty of use of Trawlerman (3.35) who clocked a decent time when making most at Pontefract earlier in the month over 12f. He looks a stout stayer, and he is well berthed in stall three for one who is likely to race prominently. A son of the Derby winner Golden Horn the each way selection is 8s with Boylesports and the forecast fast ground is ideal.
At Doncaster, another Gosden inmate Side Shot (2.50) will appreciate the return to a left-hand track having hung left-handed when second at Kempton last time. As a son of Frankel, the selection – 5/2 with 10Bet – should appreciate the return to turf although he has been raised a couple of pounds for his latest effort.
Nigel Hawke had a winner at Perth on the opening day of their three-day April meeting and Alminar (2.40) gets the each way vote in the Highland National. The ew selection – 9s with MansionBet – is 5lbs higher than when scoring at Wincanton last time when the further he went the better he went. Connections suggested he appreciate the better ground on that occasion and today’s additional 5 furlongs is considered a positive.