Red Verdon, a one-time Derby contender may be the answer for the all-weather marathon championship. With top notch form already in the locker he is now stepped up in distance and could quite easily become a serious cup horse. If he stays he’s going to be far too fast for the others.
Although Lucymai, a mare trained by Dean Ivory, is not top rated in the lineup she does have one thing massively in her favour: she is a long sprint 7 furlong specialist. For most of the other runners, including those ahead of the selection in the market, it is a bit of an unknown distance.
As you would expect, this sprint final is loaded with early pace. I’m hoping Gifted Master does not get drawn into a fight on the front end and set it up for a close up for a closer. He has the required tactical speed and stamina to track the pace and hit the line strong.
In an open-looking three-year-old sprint championship, Never Back Down looks to have been laid out for the contest. The favourite, Carinthia Night, has been on the go and is worthy at the top of the market – however, Never Back Down beat him fair and square when last seen 111 days ago. The trainer reports him fit and ready to go off the layoff.
In the mile race, Second Thought is the one the bookmakers fear most on Good Friday. He brings in a perfect six-from-six record on the all-weather and is off the back of an impressive last-to-first victory at Wolverhampton. He is flexible as regards trip and tactics, and has also drawn the fence in stall one.
Master of the World got the Winter Derby in the stewards room but surely with a clear passage he was the moral winner anyway. That particular race was run at a steady tempo and he came from way off the pace. Hopefully the Easter Classique will be run at a more even tempo, which should play into his hands. The winners of the Winter Derby have a great record in this one.
Chaplin Bay may well fly under the radar and is a huge price. Yes, he is off the back of a little layoff – however his all-weather record is very impressive: one run at Dundalk and two here at Newcastle, only once finishing out of the frame.
He hails from a yard in form and at massive odds each-way can go very well in this.
Shabeeb is a lightly raced improver with a massive ticket to improve. A glance through his previous form shows you that his two bad races to date were on testing ground. He has a wonderful pedigree, and is bred to be effective over this distance. Coming in here on a handicap rating of 96 may well underestimate how good he is – we could end up reading a good deal more about him later in the season.
Great Prospector was lucky on a couple of occasions last year in the big money sales races. He ended up shooting far too high when dipping his toe into Group 1 company behind US Navy Flag. This looks a good starting point at listed level for him.
The key with the front two in the market is they like to push forward and go handy or front-run, whereas the selection will be held up and hopefully pounce late.