Pinatubo’s 9L National Stakes success at the Curragh on Sunday was one of the most impressive juvenile performances seen for many a long day and drew favourable comparisons with the mighty Frankel’s Ascot Royal Lodge victory of 2010.
The interesting thing is that post-race trainer Charlie Appleby admitted that his 2-y-old had been “put in his place” by stablemate Royal Crusade on the home gallops recently. The latter finished runner up in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday which suggests Pinatubo saves his best for the track – an excellent trait in any racehorse. The colt is Evens at BetVictor to win the 2000 Guineas next spring but is likely to race for a sixth time this term in the Dewhurst at Newmarket next month.
The Ayr Gold Cup is the weekend highlight and one of the big betting races of the year. The William Haggas-trained 3-y-old Victory Day is the 6/1 market leader and do note BetVictor are already paying each way five places.
At Newcastle this evening I hope to see Dreamweaver (5.30) go one better than when runner up at Lingfield last time on polytrack when he was forced to race wide around the home turn before lugging in. He was doing his best work at the finish, however, and that was his first start over 12f. This evening’s stiffer track ought to suit and Hector Crouch takes over in the saddle.
Natty Night faced an impossible task at the weights against Logician at Newbury last time but his subsequent 75-day absence from the track is a concern. I feel the 3-y-o handicap lies between Deal A Dollar and Wise Ruler (6.00) with marginal preference for the latter although he still has stamina to prove stepping up to a mile-and-a-half for the first time.
The selection is 6lbs higher than when scoring over 10f here last time and he certainly wasn’t stopping at the end of the race. Deal A Dollar looked a thorough stayer at Wolverhampton last time and wasn’t suited to have to make his own running. He is 3lbs higher tonight but is still open to further improvement if guaranteed an end-to-end gallop.
Festina (6.30) showed plenty of promise at Wolverhampton on debut and this stiffer track should suit Sir Mark Prescott’s filly who was making late gains under hands and heels last time. She is entitled to know more this time and I hope Luke Morris makes plenty of use of his filly.
A market move for the newcomer Finery would be worth noting but Faakhirah (7.00) showed distinct promise at Yarmouth on debut when runner up to Stoute’s Jovial who is entered in the Gp 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket later in the month. The Godolphin filly can go one better with that valuable racecourse experience under her belt.
Fiery Mission is worth a second glance especially if the market speaks in his favour, but there may be more to come from Toro Dorado (7.30) who is drawn next to the stands’ rail in stall 14. Rab Havlin takes over in the saddle with regular pilot Oisin Murphy riding at Chepstow.
El Misk (3.10) impressed at Kempton last time and he is taken to follow up at Yarmouth from a 6lbs higher mark with Frankie Dettori taking over in the saddle for John Gosden. The 3-y-old has won half of his four starts and connections appear to have found a good opportunity to win a decent £20,000 prize against just two rivals.
Imhotep (4.10) is obviously no star but he was backed into 3/1 on debut at Kempton where he lost all chance at the start before staying on late to finish in third. He is entitled to come on for the run although he did give the impression an additional furlong would suit in time. Jockey James Doyle is likely to make plenty of use of Roger Charlton’s gelding.
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