Last weekend’s Classics and subsequent Derby and Oaks Trials threw up more questions than answers this week.
Galileo Gold was a good winner of the 2,000 Guineas but the DNA tests that trainer Hugo Palmer got back from Dublin have determined that he sticks to a mile rather than take his chance over the extra half mile in the Epsom Derby.
The ante-post fav Midterm is due to run at York in the Dante Stakes next week and the Derby looks a match between him and Aidan O’Brien’s impressive 1,000 Guineas winner Minding if Ballydoyle swerve the Oaks and let her take on the boys.
Incidentally, if 5f speedsters are your thing Ascot third Deningy was the unluckiest loser I’ve seen this month.
He will probably be aimed at the Royal meeting at Ascot next month and could gain some valuable compensation there with a clear run this time.
But there’s some business to take care of first tonight …
Time Check, Ripon 6.55pm
There is no doubt that the Saeed Bin Suroor yard are very in and out at the moment but Time Check is the only lightly-raced runner in the line-up and open to improvement.
She’s been treated fairly by the handicapper for her Doncaster win on softish ground last month and can improve again for better ground today. and should be able to take care of a moderate bunch of handicappers.
Winterval, Nottingham, 6.45pm
Has switched across to the Roger Varian stable along with all of this owners’ runners. He was a tidy winner beating a fair type in Landwade Lad on his final start last year at this track and must work like a champion in the morning as he has been heavily supported on five of his six racecourse appearances.
The stable is red-hot right now and he looks just the type to continue and upward curve. This looks a very easy opening opportunity at Nottingham.
Little Avon, Nottingham 7.20pm
Looks to only have the Willie Haggas-runner runner Shufoog to beat in this Fillies handicap but with that team struggling for winners now is the time to take them on.
Ralph Beckett’s team are absolutely flying with their fillies and she put up a good performance at Leicester over the extended mile and will have no problem with conditions this evening.
The trainer doesn’t shoot for the stars on a whim but the fact she holds a Group One entry tells us that she is expected to progress from handicap company later in the season.
Wishing Well, Ripon 8pm
Had the pace to finish fourth over 7 furlongs at Dundalk on the all-weather and was acquired by Micky Hammond. Put up a very solid performances at Wolverhampton and Thirsk over 1m 4f suggesting that this 2m trip will suit.
PJ McDonald takes the ride again and with the freewheeling nature of the track she can get her head in front at a fair price tonight.
Zest, Ascot 8.10pm
She was all the rage on her reappearance at Kempton 34 days ago when everybody in Newmarket was told to get on as she was a 1,000 Guineas filly in the making. She turned out to be a major disappointment, finishing last of four beaten four lengths.
With an official rating of just 84 and James Fanshawe’s team in better form, she can make a mockery of this handicap mark and progress through the season.