LINGFIELD’S Classic rehearsals have been switched to the all-weather track in the wake of incessant heavy rainfall and that opens the door to Polytrack winner ED DE GAS (3.10) in the Betfred Derby Trial. Rae Guest’s colt remains unbeaten in three career starts, having scored at Lingfield and Wolverhampton before slaughtering some inferior rivals at Catterick on his most recent outing. Normally, that would represent unlikely form to scoop a Classic trial, but he is clearly in great heart. Main Sequence also defends a 100 per cent record, while Rougemont has claims after edging out Mickdaam (Chester winner on Thursday) at Newmarket.
Also on the Polytrack, BEST TERMS (2.10) is fancied to bounce back after getting bogged down at Newbury in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes won by Moonstone Magic. Richard Hannon’s filly was a very sharp juvenile and has drawn the plum rails box in the Group 3 Betfred Mobile Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes.
On a mixed card at Haydock, CLARE ISLAND BOY (4.50) has the assistance of Richard Hughes for the first time this season. My selection floundered in the Sandown mud 15 days ago but had earlier posted an excellent third at Newmarket, weakening close home after looking the possible winner a furlong out. The drop in trip seems a sensible move.
At Nottingham, Mark Johnston’s Prussia will be a warm order to complete his hat-trick after scoring with something in hand at Musselburgh. One horse guaranteed to handle the arduous conditions is Ed Dunlop’s SPIRIT OF THE LAND (4.25), who ploughed through the Doncaster morass to pip Beyond Conceit after a protracted duel.
Graham Lee has made a superb start to his new career riding on the level and is developing a fruitful relationship with Jim Goldie. The Scottish trainer has snapped him up to ride HAWKEYETHENOO (3.25) in the Betfred Victoria Cup at Ascot. The ground was riding much quicker when strong-travelling Hawkeyethenoo lifted the event 12 months ago but he should still give a good account of himself. He is closely handicapped with Pastoral Player, another likely to show to the fore.
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