After Eminent’s impressive Craven Stakes success earlier in the week it was the turn of Richard Hannon’s Barney Roy (5/1 from 25s with BetVictor) to make a splash in the 2000 Guineas market with a fluent win in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.
His handler suggested he might get further but I’m not convinced and would be surprised if owners Godolphin decided to supplement him for the Derby. The Frankel colt Dream Castle who finished runner-up in the Greenham looked all speed to me and he is 8/1 for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot over 6f with BetVictor.
The Punchestown Festival begins tomorrow but there is a valuable handicap chase at Warwick this afternoon and If I’dliketheoption’s (3.25) jumping holds up he must go close with the return to a left-handed track a big plus. The six-year-old jumped out to his left consistently when second at Ludlow last time, and was a bit keen having missed the deep winter ground.
With that run under his belt, he looks sure to strip a bit sharper although he will need a true test at this 2m trip and there doesn’t appear to be any natural pace angle in the contest.
Global Dream is running very well of late and must go close to making it three wins in his last five starts in the stayers’ handicap chase, but Morney Wing (3.55) is back to the same mark as when scoring at Plumpton at the beginning of the year and he should take the beating for Charlie Mann.
Connections appear to have found an ideal opportunity for Bear’s Affair (5.30) in the Hunter Chase, which concludes the card. The selection should find this much more to his liking having been mixing it with some of the best Hunters around in recent starts – this looks much calmer waters.
At Pontefract Star Catch will have his supporters for Charlie Hills having finished runner up on his second start at Haydock. The winner subsequently won a decent York nursery from a mark of 78 so Star Catch should be well up to winning a maiden this term.
The vote, however, goes to Hitchcock (4.10) who was green on debut at Newcastle but shaped with considerable promise and is entitled to improve for the experience. The third horse at Gosforth Park has rather let the form down and there is no doubt that Star Catch has the form in the book, but there was plenty of money for Hitchcock on debut and he can overturn the likely market leader.
At Kempton I’m looking forward to seeing the racecourse debut of Roger Charlton’s Time Chaser (4.25) a full sister to the yard’s Time Test winner of the BetVictor Brigadier Gerard Stakes at Sandown last May. The filly is certainly bred in the pink, is well drawn and James Doyle is booked. The betting will give us valuable clues as to how much of her brother’s ability she possesses but if there is to a star on show today it could easily be this filly.
Sgt Reckless (5.20) was thought to need the run when third over 12f here earlier in the month and he will appreciate the step up to 2 miles this afternoon. The selection is 10-year-of-age and the danger could be Chelsea’s Lad six years the selections junior having his first start for Ralph Beckett.
Captain Peacock is likely to be all the rage to follow up his recent Windsor success from a 7lbs higher mark but The New Pharaoh (4.50) won first time out last season and first time out might be the time to catch the gelding. The selection represents the same connections as Mix And Mingle who did us a favour at Newmarket last week and The New Pharaoh has talented apprentice Louis Steward on board taking off a valuable 3lbs.
Windsor’s first evening meeting suggests summer is around the corner and Mr Khalidi (6.45) makes his first start for Roger Charlton having made all in the manner of a useful sort on his second start as a juvenile for Marco Botti. The gelding is fitted with a hood, which suggests he has been a bit keen in
his homework, despite having been gelded since he last run, and Kieran Shoemark may be in for a difficult ride. That said he was a juvenile who suggested he might make up into a decent middle-distance handicapper in time and he is a fascinating contender.