Pinatubo maintained his unbeaten record in the Dewhurst at Newmarket on Saturday, but his latest success was more workmanlike, and he goes into winter quarters Evens at BetVictor to return to the Rowley Mile for classic glory in the spring.
British Champions Day is this weekend’s highlight and I hope conditions are not too testing at Ascot. The ground was described as soft – heavy in places – on Sunday and there is further significant rain forecast. The only wager I have had to date is Benbatl in the QEII – 4/1 at BetVictor – but I am concerned about underfoot conditions given he ran poorly on his sole previous start on soft/heavy ground.
Windsor must pass a morning inspection to get the green light to race this afternoon on ground described as soft – heavy in places – at noon on Sunday. If racing goes ahead, I hope to see Skyman (4.10) follow up his win at Sandown on fast ground at the end of August. The selection has good form on soft ground having finished runner up at Newbury on his penultimate start. The Roger Charlton/Jason Watson combination landed the Fillies’ Mile with Quadrilateral on Friday and the yard is going very well at present.
Critical Time (5.10) is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Newcastle last time on tapeta, but she ran well on good to soft on her penultimate start behind a most progressive filly of Richard Fahey – Eva Maria – who has since won two of her three subsequent starts. The William Haggas-trained selection is by Pivotal so you would be optimistic she would be able to handle today’s conditions.
Heavy ground also at Yarmouth and Donnybrook (2.45) drops back to 6f having finished third on debut behind White Moonlight at Kempton over an additional furlong. The winner has since followed up in impressive fashion on turf at Newmarket and this 900,000-euro yearling, who was fitted with a hood on debut, can take this before returning to further.
Society Lion shaped with considerable promise on debut, but I am looking forward to the first start of Gosden’s Mishriff (3.15). The selection is a half-brother to the 100-rated Momkin, and connections look to have found a nice starting point for their son of Make Believe.
Stallone (5.30) escapes a penalty for winning by no less than 7L in a Leicester handicap for apprentice riders last week and, if in the same mood, will be hard to beat in the 7f handicap for Richard Spencer who has also entered his son of Dandy Man in races on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before he is reassessed for his Leicester romp.
There is a good card north of the border at Musselburgh and I have been waiting for the reappearance of Tribal Warrior since his facile C&D success on good to firm ground back in July from a 6lbs lower mark. The ground was given as good to soft with further showers forecast on Sunday and I hope to see Montatham (3.25) improve for the return to an easier surface having finished third on his handicap debut at Yarmouth last month. The selection has been dropped 2lbs for that effort and it is nice to see Paul Hanagan – who rode a double at York on Saturday – back in the colours of Hamdan Al Maktoum.
At Wolverhampton Continuum (6.25) lost his race at the start last time but, in the circumstances, ran a terrific race to finish second at Lingfield. If BetVictor brand ambassador Nicola Currie can get the veteran out on terms he must go close although he hasn’t won for over five years. He was a favourite of mine when trained by the late Sir Henry Cecil and I hope there is one last hurrah in the 10-year-old.
In the finale Major Snugfit (8.25) is blinkered for the first time for Mick Easterby and gets the each way vote stepping up to 12f for the first time. The selection finished third at Beverley over 10f last time and is 1lb lower in the weights this evening.