John Gosden’s Too Darn Hot will miss his intended prep race for the 2000 Guineas at Newbury on Saturday and go straight to Newmarket after he was found to have heat in his splint bone on Thursday evening. The colt remains Evens favourite with BetVictor for the first classic of the season next month although I wouldn’t be rushing to back him with that cloud hanging over him at present.
In his absence Boitron – 33/1 with BetVictor for the Guineas – is 3/1 favourite with BetVictor for the Greenham Stakes tomorrow with Silvestre De Sousa booked. Note Richard Hannon’s colt has had a wind operation since losing his unbeaten record when fourth in the Group 1 Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp in October.
The ground is described as soft (good to soft in places) ahead of the first day of Newbury’s opening flat meeting of the year. Coeur De Lion finished runner up in the 2m 2f handicap 12 months ago off the same mark for Alan King before finishing second in the Chester Cup. He looks sure to run a big race.
Marginal preference, however, is for Vis A Vis (3.05) who has been running well over timber of late and was last seen on the level finishing fourth in the Cesarewitch. The drying ground is a plus. Godolphin’s Festival Of Ages is a progressive stayer but he has yet to prove his stamina for today’s trip.
I was a big fan of John Gosden’s Turgenev last summer although the colt appeared to have his limitations exposed when he finished seventh in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy at Doncaster back in October. He must go close, but he must give 3lbs to Space Blues (4.10) and that might be the difference.
Charlie Appleby’s colt made a very impressive racecourse debut when winning at Nottingham over an extended mile on debut – beating a useful Gosden juvenile – and he holds an entry in the Dante and Derby for which he is priced at 33/1 with BetVictor. Note Gosden also saddles the promising Waldstern and the Newmarket handler has saddled the winner of this Conditions event three times in the last four years with Appleby saddling the winner 12 months ago.
The first day of Ayr’s Scottish National meeting this afternoon and Alan King’s Deyrann De Carjac (2.10) will love the forecast good ground. It may be significant that proud Scotsman King did saddle the winner of the 2m handicap Hurdle 12 months ago.
The selection disappointed when runner up at Market Rasen on his last start but that was over an additional quarter of a mile and he can run from the same mark as when falling two out – had every chance at the time – in the Greatwood Hurdle at Cheltenham back in November.
Her Majesty the Queen has a fancied runner at Newbury but her colours are also carried by Forth Bridge who ended a frustrating run of seconds when scoring at Kempton from an 8lbs lower mark last time.
Dimple is a progressive chaser who will make a bold bid from the front but the each way vote goes to Monbeg River (3.25) despite the fact that the 10-y-old only got as far as the first in the corresponding race 12 months ago. The selection has his optimum conditions today and has run very well in defeat in his last couple of starts.
Ravenhill Road (4.00) has had his wind operated on since finishing a well-beaten third in a Doncaster Group 2 last time when he made a shocking mistake at halfway. He wore cheek-pieces on that occasion but they are dispensed with today and he could be very well treated off his mark of 129 although he will need to be given this is a very competitive novices’ handicap chase.
Captain Cattistock will be a warm order in the 3m 2f Novices’ Chase at Fontwell for Paul Nicholls in his first-time cheek-pieces, but I feel Station Master (2.45) lost nothing in defeat at Hereford last time when he jumped well and he might be better served by the prevailing underfoot conditions than the likely market leader.
The mare Danse Idol (3.15) may not have got home over 3m at Doncaster last time but the drop back in trip this afternoon should suit Paul Nicholls’ 6-y-old who receives a stone from Double Treasure who is sure to give it a good go from the front but may be vulnerable to a possible improver at the weights.
In the BetVictor Mares’ Maiden Hurdle at Ballinrobe this evening I hope to see Andalusa (4.50) get off the mark for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend. The selection has not gone on after a very promising hurdles debut behind the ill-fated Sir Erec, but she has been given a near two-month break and connections look to have found a decent opportunity.