Aidan O’Brien won a 16th Gp 1 Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh with Sioux Nation on Sunday although I’m not convinced about his ability to get a mile next term. I certainly wouldn’t, at this stage, be looking to support him for the 2018 2000 Guineas where he is 20/1 (from 25s) at BetVictor and, as a son of Scat Daddy, he may always need fast ground to be seen at his best.
There are more showers forecast for Thirsk this afternoon where the ground was already described as good to soft ahead of their eight-race card. Nathalie (3.00) has improved steadily if not dramatically in her three starts but she is taken to land the 12f maiden for James Fanshawe and Daniel Muscutt who finished runner up in the prestigious Gp 1 Arlington Million aboard Fanciful Angel on Saturday night.
The selection finished runner up at Lingfield (turf) last time and today’s switch to slower ground should suit this daughter of Nathaniel. Connections will be keen to get a win next to her name for breeding purposes, and I will be disappointed if she doesn’t get her head in front later today.
Plundered (2.30) is fitted with cheek-pieces for his handicap debut for David Brown in the 6f Nursery and he might be a different proposition now that he is eligible for a mark. Sean Levey is certainly a positive jockey booking and there should be more to come from this well-bred juvenile who runs in the famous but rarely seen John Fretwell silks.
Bollin Ted will be popular in the mile-and-a-half handicap for Tim Easterby but there is a possibility that this trip on soft ground will stretch his stamina, and he is overlooked in favour of Clenymistra (5.00) who ran a race full of promise on her first start over 12f earlier in the month.
The selection can run from the same mark this afternoon and the David O’Meara yard look to be coming right back to their best after what has been a relatively slow first half of the turf season.
Cosmopolitan Queen sets a fair standard in the Mile Novice event for juvenile fillies’ but the debutante Ceramist (5.55) looks a likely sort on breeding and John Gosden often runs some of his best two-year-olds at Colwick Park.
Daniel Muscutt travels down to Nottingham from Thirsk and can make the journey worthwhile courtesy of Master Archer (6.25) who ran a cracker when runner up at Sandown from a 1lb lower mark at the beginning of the month. This 1m 6f is a proper test for the classic generation against their elders, but I felt the grey applied himself better in the first-time headgear last time and he remains open to further improvement.
There are a couple of £50,000 handicaps at Chelmsford this evening and in the mile Murad Khan (7.10) broke his maiden over C&D last season and has a plum draw in stall two. It has been noticeable at the last couple of meetings just how important a low draw is and Josephine Gordon takes over for the first time on the Hugo Palmer-trained gelding.
Yalta (7.40) is lightly-raced this term having been taken out of a number of engagements over the last month on account of the rain-softened turf. No such concerns this evening although his ability to handle tonight’s polytrack surface must be taken on trust. Mazzini did us a favour here three weeks ago but a 10lbs rise looks harsh and that improved effort was over an additional furlong.