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Herbiers is on the right track for trainer Oliver Greenall and if he takes yet another step forward from his Ascot success then the youngster is a big player here. Decent spring ground is obviously important to him as it is to several winding up their novice season over timber here.
Twominutes Turkish has run his two worst races on soft ground, last time out at Warwick and in a bumper at Huntingdon. Likely to be at the sharp end from the start, this scenario could suit him better and Chris Gordon’s charge could go well at a price. SHELDON gets the each-way call though, that’s after his finishing position in the EBF Novices Hurdle Final here over half a mile further didn’t tell the whole story.
Lobbing along at the back of mid-division, he lost all momentum when checked up turning for home as the leaders quickened and from that point onwards his young jockey was always fighting a losing battle. He was far from disgraced though back in sixth spot beaten some 15 lengths and I have upgraded him significantly from that finishing position.
Dropped 2lbs for that run, he is well treated here and although he has yet to race on ground this quick, his action suggests he should be effective on it and he gets the nod ahead of the two rivals mentioned above and Gordon’s other entry Pasvolsky.
Although there is a disappointing field of five for this feature King Richard III Stakes, there is every likelihood that we will get a fast run race and the normally very keen Shine So Bright is set to be at the head of affairs. Silvestre De Sousa should be able to keep a hang on him after two runs this season, but he is a keen going sort and could set this up for those in behind.
Pogo is clearly the top rated having made great strides last season winning a Listed race at Windsor and running an absolute corker when third of eight beaten a shade over 3 lengths by Persian King in the Prix d’Ispahan.
Mum’s Tipple has bounced back from a disappointing three-year-old campaign, but needs to step up again here, while Beat Le Bon would be the one likely to benefit most from an end-to-end gallop, but I suspect giving weight away to inferior horses in a big field handicap may well be more his domain.
So that leaves Roger Varian’s unexposed son of Kingman, LORD CAMPARI. When I saw him in the flesh on his sole start as a juvenile in 2019 at Sandown Park I was really taken by his physical make-up and he shaped really encouragingly when sixth of 12 to the mighty Palace Pier.
Winner of a novice on his three-year-old debut, there were mitigating reasons for his below par next two runs. Given another winter to grow into his frame and strengthen up, I expect him to make mighty progress through the summer starting here and he could readily make the promotion to graded company as we go through the season.
The first thing that needs to be said about this year’s Bet365 Gold Cup is that it is probably one of the weakest renewals possibly in the history of the race.
Enrilo has been the big market mover in the past 10 days or so with Paul Nicholls having taken Clan Des Obeaux out. This lightly raced chaser promises to stay well, will have no problem with the drying ground and is still thoroughly unexposed. A mark of 143 makes him a big player with Skelton on board.
Henry De Bromhead’s big race runners have to be respected wherever they go, but that glorious wave of success for both trainer and incredible jockey looks to have been over exaggerated in their entry here. Plan of Attack needs to fence an awful lot better than he has through the season (better ground could obviously be a key factor) and there has to be a major doubt about him getting home over 3m 5f.
So, the value call in my book is the Emma Lavelle-trained charge IRISH PROPHECY. He looked as though he would be a leading player in the Scottish National at Ayr last week, but Emma was determined to let him go right-handed.
His win at Taunton was achieved with consummate ease and his Ascot run over timber last time out was merely a warm-up for this and suggested he remains in fine form – staying on nicely from the rear over a trip very much on the sharp side. Of his rivals, Potterman and the featherweight Bob Mahler are both feared if running to their best marks here.
Night of Thunder is really making a name for himself at stud and Richard Hannon has a really interesting son of the 2014 2,0000 Guineas hero here. NIGHT OF HOPE showed promise on all three qualifying runs as a juvenile and you can easily write off the last of those on heavy ground at Newmarket when he was held up off a soft pace and in fact, did well in the circumstances to finish a one-paced third.
A mark of 70, less the substantial 7lbs claim of Luke Catton, looks a lovely mark for him to start from and although this looks a fair race of its ilk, I fancy he could take a nice step forward here before running in some of the better three-year-old handicaps through the season.
Of his rivals, the filly and topweight Lochnaver patently failed to see out a mile and a half here in January. Meanwhile, with the Andrew Balding yard in such good form this season, I can see his Spirit Mixer running well having been given some tough tasks in hindsight to date. He has also been gelded which may bring about more improvement.
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