The Master of Ballydoyle Aidan O’Brien boasts six entries in Saturday’s Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster but the market has spoken in the favour of Capri, with the current 16/1 second favourite for next year’s Derby the Even Money favourite for Gp 1 success on Town Moor. O’Brien has had little luck in previous renewals, St Nicholas Abbey aside however, and it could be worth taking a chance on William Haggas’ Rivet at 7/1. The yard remain in good nick and his Champagne Stakes success at last month’s St Leger meeting was franked yesterday by Godolphin’s D’Bai in the Listed Silver Tankard Stakes at Pontefract.
As seen at Ponte on Monday, Godolphin have enjoyed a wonderful campaign thus far and should claim this afternoon’s feature at Newmarket with unbeaten colt Dreamfield (3.40) under James Doyle. The son of Oasis Dream is bred to be smart, out of the Gp 1 winning filly Izzi Top and cost the boys in blue a cool 1.1m Gns at last year’s sales. The colt made a winning debut earlier this month at Nottingham, earning quotes of 20/1 for next year’s 2000 Guineas after bolting-up by nine lengths, and looks a terrific prospect for connections.
Another colt that could prove a classic horse next year is Sheikh Hamdan’s exciting son of Frankel Alfawaris (4.15) who finished an excellent third on debut behind two very smart prospects and should shed the maiden tag at the second time of asking under Paul Hanagan.
James Fanshawe and Tom Queally combined for Group One glory with The Tin Man on Champions Day at Ascot and the same combination can land the closing fillies’ handicap with Up In Lights (5.20). The daughter of Makfi has often disappointed, as she did last time out Doncaster, but is worth another go based on her course and distance success two starts back and if on a going day should be too good for these from a 4lb higher mark.
I’m looking forward to Kitchapoly (1.50) at Worcester, making his debut for the Dan Skelton yard at Worcester, after leaving former handler Donald McCain. The selection was well-backed when last sighted running with credit in handicap chases last summer at Market Rasen, Cartmel and Hexham however remains open to much further progression and should prove better than his revised mark of 112 suggests.
The Skelton brothers should go close with Churchtown Champ in the 3m Novices’ Handicap Chase however he could prove vulnerable over today’s trip and preference lies instead with Bronco Billy (2.55) under the excellent Aidan Coleman. The Jonjo O’Neill trained 6yo signed off last season with success in a competitive 3m handicap hurdle at Huntingdon and makes his debut over the larger obstacles from his same mark over timber. The son of Flemensfirth is bred to prove even better over fences and gets the nod to make a winning reappearance.
Paul Nicholls’ Nexius (4.05) looks the class act in the feature, and must go close in his bid to give weight and a beating to his nine rivals under 5lb conditional Jack Sherwood. The selection was sent novice chasing last term with little reward and it is far from surprising to see him revert back to the smaller obstacles. He bolted up at Haydock when last sighted over timber 18 months ago, winning by nine lengths from a 7lb lower mark, and remains well-treated at the weights to carry on Ditcheat’s fine start to the campaign.
Charlie Longsdon is another to have his string plenty forward and I’m personally excited to see his runner Monbeg Charmer (5.10) makes his hurdles debut under Brian Hughes. The ex-pointer made a winning debut under rules when well punted for the yard at Carlisle, and was far from disgraced in a listed bumper when last seen at Ascot in December. He clearly goes well fresh and looks to have been well-placed to make the perfect start to life over timber.