News broke on Tuesday that Towcester racecourse was to close with its remaining fixtures of 2019-20 sold to Arena Racing. The track went into administration in August 2018, but it has not been able to find a buyer with Arena Racing and the Jockey Club both deciding the track was not economically viable.
William Buick has never finished better than sixth in six previous Arc rides, but the Godolphin jockey is confident of a bold show from Ghaiyyath who won the Prix Grosser Preis von Baden at Baden-Baden by no less than 14l last time. He is 10/1 at BetVictor and will appreciate any significant rain that hits the track with Sunday now likely to be wet in Paris.
Salisbury abandoned today but they go on polytrack at Lingfield this afternoon and Recondite (1.40) is fitted with blinkers for the first time having finished runner up at Windsor from a 2lbs lower mark last time for Ralph Beckett. The selection is well drawn in stall two and the hope is that Harry Bentley can get a good pitch and strike inside the short straight.
There is little between Imperial Empire (2.10) and Forbidden Land on Sandown running but I just take the Godolphin runner to confirm the form on 1lb worse terms for the short head he was in front at the line at the Esher track. The selection is making his all-weather debut this afternoon but is certainly bred for a synthetic surface and he gets the nod in a most informative contest.
Imhotep looks sure to improve for the step up to a mile for Roger Charlton but Sheriffmuir (2.40) reappears after a 440-day absence from the track for John Gosden and this Americn bred colt went off favourite on his sole juvenile start when third to Momkin and Beat Le Bon at Newbury over 7f. Those two who finished in front of him are now rated in the 100s and he will meet nothing of that class this afternoon.
I’m looking forward to the jumps debut of Arrivederci (2.00) at Warwick and hope he can make a winning debut for the father and son combination of Jonjo O’Neill. The selection finished fourth in a very hot Bumper at Exeter under a penalty having won at Haydock on debut. The 4-year-old receives 6lbs from the course winner Golden Taipan and I would be disappointed if he didn’t run a big race.
Aimee De Sivola (2.35) is half-sister to four winners and she steps up in trip for her seasonal debut to 2m 5f. The selection is only rated 118 but receives the sex allowance from the geldings and Chester Williams takes off a further 5lbs.
There is a valuable 3m Handicap Chase and all eight can be given a realistic chance. The form of Chasma’s second at Bangor last time was given a boost when the winner – Anteros – followed up here last month. The each way vote, however, goes to Molly Childers (3.15) who is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time for Stuart Edmunds. The mare won from this mark at Wincanton back in January and can go well fresh. It was encouraging to see the stable have a Bumper winner at Market Rasen on Saturday.
At Chelmsford this evening Predictable Tully (5.30) is taken to go one better than when runner up at Newbury over 6f last time. Clive Cox’s filly has a decent draw in stall six and she looks sure to appreciate the step up to 7f. Of the newcomers a market move for Rideson of Roger Varian would be worth noting.
I appreciate that I could be accused of following Swansdown (7.00) over a cliff, but I am convinced William Haggas will get a win next to her name, she has the plum draw in stall one and Cieren Fallon takes off a valuable 3lbs.
The lightly-raced Alrajaa (7.30) can reverse Salisbury form with Aluqair stepped up to a mile for the first time on his all-weather debut. Jim Crowley was in the plate when the selection won a match by 9L at Chepstow last time and he is taken to give his powerful connections another winner.