We have top class racing across the continent this weekend with the French 1000 and 2000 Guineas taking place over at ParisLongchamp on Sunday and more classic trials taking place in Ireland too.
We concentrate largely on the domestic action however with the closing day at Chester on Friday followed by more classic trials at Lingfield where Aidan O’Brien and John Gosden may have the two big races between them, however with little in the way of value in the Derby and Oaks trials we take on a punt on the below.Embed from Getty Images
2.25 Chester (Huxley Stakes – Group 2) - EMINENT
Martyn Meade’s Derby fourth and French Group 2 winner may not be a big price for the Huxley, however he really should prove to be a class above these and rates a confident bet to get his season off to the best possible start.
The main point of highlighting him here though is that it’s interesting to watch what could be another Group 1 middle-distance performer making his seasonal debut en route to better things this summer and he should be able to take care of the likes of Forest Ranger and War Decree.
2.50 Ascot (Buckhounds Stakes – Listed Race) – GLENCADAM GLORY
There’s little argument that Barsanti could win this if he is at his best, however in these conditions and at six years of age I can’t quite see it and so a chance is taken on the level of improvement the masterful John Gosden can get out of Glencadam Glory which could be considerable.
He needed to be nowhere near his best to take care of a substandard field at Wolverhampton in his sharpener there last month and it seems the Nathaniel gelding is being prepped for a summer of climbing up the middle distance ranks, starting here.
He was mixing it with some very good types early last season as a 3yo before his progress was curtailed, however with his confidence and fitness back he may be terrific value to beat Roger Varian’s stalwart as well as Sir Michael Stoute’s Mirage Dancer.
3.40 Lingfield (Chartwell Fillies’ Stakes – Group 3) – ONE MASTER
The weight-for-age given in this race, while appearing generous on paper, has rarely helped too many three-year-old fillies and so while I can see Richard Hannon’s Tajaanus running a big one, she may not cope with the in-form William Haggas runner.
One Master displayed excellent progression last season as a 3yo, culminating in her winning the Listed October Stakes at Ascot at the backend and if anything she should probably be better on faster ground.
It’s also worth noting that, not seen as a sprinter by connections, she was probably just getting home over seven furlongs back then especially on rain-softened ground and so should be right at home in these conditions as an older filly. Tomyris also makes the shortlist on seasonal debut.
4.20 Haydock (Spring Trophy – Listed Race) – MUBTASIM
The only four-year-old in the field is the one with the most improvement in him and a look at his overall profile tells you that Mubtasim could still be on for Group success somewhere down the line over this distance.
Beaten over an inadequate 6f trip by superstar Harry Angel at the start of last season, the son of Arcano ran a blinder to be third to Le Brivido in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot and, having now been gelded, has his mind firmly on the job in hand (on the track as opposed to eyeing up the fillies).
He blew the cobwebs away with a thoroughly decent third to Lancelot Du Lac in a good conditions race at Chelmsford two weeks ago over an unsuitable trip and is primed to attack this time around under the excellent James Doyle who comes here primarily to take this ride.
So Beloved and Richard Hannon’s Tabarrak could well prove to be the main dangers to a horse still entered in Group 2 races further down the line, albeit over six furlongs.
2.35 ParisLongchamp (Poule d’Essai des Poulains – Group 1) (French 2000 Guineas) – WOOTTON
There may yet be some British and Irish interest in this classic however it looks like being one for the home side with the Henri-Alex Pantall runner Wootton for Godolphin.
While others may prefer much slower ground to be at their very best, this horse fairly cantered home on good ground at Deauville on his racecourse debut back in August and has been treated very kindly since then.
A devastating Listed race win in October was followed up with a clever, cosy front-running win under the control of Mikael Barzalona in the trial here last month and he can progress more than the rest. Dice Roll and Hey Gaman could prove tough nuts to crack for the places but in truth shouldn’t get to Wootton.
Given the fact that Newmarket winner Saxon Warrior is to go up in trip, Wootton could well come to England at some point and be among the favourites for such races as the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.