The all-weather championships day is a real fillip to horse racing, especially given that it is on a day that was never part of the racing calendar. There are some terrific horses and jockeys as well as trainers on show and my first selection of the day comes in the 7f conditions stakes. The day could be a big one for Godolphin and with William Buick now attached to the stable another profitable card awaits.
The main man is back though. Ryan Moore is without doubt the best jockey in the world and he takes the ride on Lamar in the first here and the horse has a terrific chance. The horse didn’t run amazingly well in last year’s 1000 Guineas but the very fact that the horse was entered should see that a massive run could come here. A 2nd place in a listed contest back in Feb is also good form and she likes the surface.
French raider Fresles could be the ‘dark horse’ in this contest and she comes here on good terms having run a belter in the qualifier at a lovely 20/1 price. The form hasn’t exactly been backed up with Intransigent disappointing subsequently and the horse herself running one good race in winning and one poor run-out 31 days ago.
We head to the Scottish track for this test over 1m6f on the level and some interesting contenders and interesting jockey choices both from the trainer and the horsemen themselves. With good prize money available over at Lingfield there are some big names who have chosen to go north of the border. The first pairing that stands out a mile is Paul Hanagan with Gordon Elliott who have Bayan in this race. The trainer is fresh from a decent Cheltenham and has his yard in good form. He has very, very few runners on the level and Bayan is coming here off the back off a pleasing group 3 performance in France and was a winner in the Ladbroke hurdle back in December. He could have a lot to offer in this company and naturally gets much further. The trainer is exceptionally shrewd and putting him in here could be a real winner.
Fire Fighting is top weighted here and like most Mark Johnston horses he will be looking to set the pace and outrun the field. This could be the danger to Gordon Elliott’s charge and if he gets a facile lead he could be tough the rein in. However, saying that the weight could be an issue and he is in better company and may want better ground. All we know for definite is that he will run a big race.
Gabrial The Terror has recently racked up a four-timer on the all-weather at Wolverhampton but question marks remain over his effectiveness on turf. Aramist and Kellini make up the best of the rest but with Jamie Spencer on the latter I am steering clear.
A sprint handicap that the ground could play the key to. This class 4 contest is of low quality in all reality so the idea is to look for the ability amongst the detritus. Is Flash City the answer to that conundrum? The horse is very consistent, has won over the course and distance and Ruth Carr is a much underrated trainer. James Sullivan takes the ride and the horse is fairly treated by the handicapper. The horse has also beaten two of these before in Noble Asset and Classy Anne. She could be a good each way price and may run another good race around here.
Clumber Street comes here having only run 4 times in her fledgling career. Sean Levey continues the partnership that won the last time out on the all-weather at Wolverhampton. She could be hugely unexposed and the competition is not huge here. I am always reluctant to go with a horse that won last time out, and although she has a big chance I will side with Flash City at a bigger price.
Keep it Dark and Distant Past make up the remainder of those to keep an eye on. The former has won twice over this distance and the latter has a chance at these weights given that she is lightly weighted.
Flash City (E/W)