Aidan O’Brien has already saddled the winner of the Derby six times although only once in the last four years. The Ballydoyle handler will have monopolised the British and Irish Trials if the lands the last recognised Trial – the Dante Stakes at York on Thursday where it is likely he will be represented by Japan who is 3/1 at BetVictor behind 7/4 market leader Too Darn Hot.
Note the money in recent days – 7/2 from 5/1 having been twice that price when betting opened – with BetVictor has been for Roger Varian’s Surfman although he has to improve dramatically on what he has shown on the track to date to trouble the principles.
In the opener at Beverley this afternoon Quiet Place (1.50) can go one better than when runner up on debut for Saeed Bin Suroor at Yarmouth last month. The filly is well drawn in stall three and the ground is drying out all the time which should suit the Godolphin runner.
Firewater (4.20) is reunited with Tony Hamilton who was on board when the selection won at Ayr from a 4lbs lower mark on good to soft ground at Ayr back in October. The selection went into a number of notebooks when running on, having met trouble in running, at Wolverhampton on his reappearance from a 1lb higher mark. Trainer Richard Fahey has won this corresponding race twice in the last six years.
Casanova (5.25) went down by a neck to a useful sort of Andrew Balding at Epsom on his reappearance and he can break his maiden tag in the finale for John Gosden. The son of Frankel is drawn out wide in stall 10 but he gets the vote in what promises to be a decent maiden for the track.
Over at Chepstow and I like the booking of Oisin Murphy for Master Gray (4.00) stepping up to two miles for the first time. The 4-y-old did win off this mark over 1m 6f at Salisbury on heavy ground last term but has run well enough on faster ground subsequently. His track record in south Wales is 122.
Teodora De Vega (4.30) cost 250,000 gns as a yearling, but begins life handicapping off a workable mark for Ralph Beckett. The filly improved for the step up to 10f on her third start at Windsor last time and looks sure to run a big race with Harry Bentley keeping the ride. A market move for Roger Charlton’s Mystiquestar – also having her first start in a handicap – would be worth noting.
Dan Skelton has started the new jumps campaign in the same way he finished the last and he has good claims of saddling winners at both Southwell and Sedgefield later today. Ashoka (6.40) returns from a 12-month lay-off in the feature at the Nottinghamshire course and Bridget Andrews will do the steering with Harry Skelton going to the north east for a couple of mounts.
The selection is lightly-raced over fences and should have the race run to suit with Ballyvic Boru likely to make it a true test dropping back in trip having shaped with promise at Perth last month.
At Sedgefield, Royal Beekeeper (2.10) has rejoined the Skelton’s having been claimed by Conor Dore following a fluent win back in December 2017 at Ludlow. The gelding struggled at his former yard and has not seen the track since last summer, but his handicap mark has plummeted as a result. He could be very well treated at present and the yard have done well with similar sorts in recent years.
Zolfo’s (4.40) tack went wrong at an early stage at Southwell last time and, although he remains 11lb higher than his last winning mark, he gets a narrow vote in a competitive handicap chase over the extended two miles.