The flat is back, and it’s back with a bang! This Saturday sees Doncaster host the Lincoln Handicap meeting, Kempton puts on some smart events while there is Group action galore on Dubai World Cup day over at Meydan.
3.30 Rosehill (Ranvet Stakes – Group 1) – ADDEYBB
Look out for the early start down in Australia, as Rosehill hosts several big Group 1 events. One of them is the Ranvet Stakes, a mile-and-a-quarter event won last year by William Haggas’ Addeybb.
Addeybb had a great time down under last year and ended his European season with a career best in the Champion Stakes, when his performance in winning put him among the best in the world and now Tom Marquand can partner him to another valuable top-level win.
With conditions in his favour, he can get the job done again and there is no shortage of bookmakers offering odds. While Verry Elleegant is consistent she doesn’t seem at Addeybb’s level, though she’s being backed which could help the price rise for our horse. Colette and Sir Dragonet also made the list.
1.30 Meydan (Al Quoz Sprint – Group 1) – SPACE BLUES
We have a large and pretty high-class field for the Al Quoz, a six-furlong Group 1 event worth £438,000 to the winner.
Khaadem has always shown quality, Final Song has ability and it will be fascinating to see how well Equilateral gets on over this trip.
American runner Extravagant Kid is rather overpriced, as too is Royal Crusade and that horse could be part of the key here. Given his form with Threat, Glen Shiel and others, Royal Crusade has always looked like he may get to the top at some stage but still Charlie Appleby and William Buick’s top choice is the classy Space Blues.
A Lennox Stakes and Prix Maurice de Gheest winner, Space Blues ran more or less within himself last time for a valuable win in Saudi Arabia and will strip fitter now.
2.00 Doncaster (Doncaster Mile – Listed Race) – MONTATHAM
Part of Doncaster’s opening card of the season is the Doncaster Mile, a Listed event. There are a number of potentially high-grade horses looking to bounce back here; Jersey Stakes winner Space Traveller and 2000 Guineas fifth Juan Elcano being among them.
Father Of Jazz tries turf having been beaten when favourite for the Winter Derby and the filly Bounce The Blues will attract plenty of money. The one to be on however may well be Montatham.
Trained by William Haggas for the late Hamdan Al Maktoum, Montatham is five now and should peak over a mile this term. He took three handicaps at Newmarket, Sandown and York last season beating some very strong fields and looks more than ready for Listed or Group 3 races now.
2.15 Kempton (Roseberry Handicap) – ALMIGHWAR
Hamdan Al Maktoum’s team have another strong hand in this 1m3f handicap. William Haggas’ Al Zaraqaan is favourite and he comes into this race on a hat-trick having won over this course and distance last year, as well as in a handicap at Lingfield.
His form is strong and he carries the first colours, however the better value is in Almighwar under the same ownership. Now trained officially not just by John Gosden but also by his son Thady, Almighwar himself won a pair of 1½-mile races at Kempton last year but was put away after disappointing slightly on handicap debut.
Ready to go again now, there’s nothing in his profile to suggest he wouldn’t improve as much as, or more than Al Zaraqaan while his speed figures are also far superior. Rab Havlin takes the ride.
3.30 Meydan (Dubai Turf – Group 1) – LORD NORTH
This is a cracking race and a proper Group 1. We should see most of this field closer to home later on in the year at the likes of Ascot, Sandown and York so regardless of whether you bet or not, this is an important race to keep an eye on.
Court House can once again make a bold bid from the front and ensure we get a proper pace here though ultimately, he shouldn’t be good enough to win.
Regal Reality is still with Sir Michael Stoute but under different ownership and has been and done it at this level, while good old Lord Glitters has had a cracking carnival and should be a short price to grab a place.
The horse who was favourite to beat Lord Glitters last time out was Al Suhail and he is fancied more. A good juvenile, it was felt he’d trained on well last year and was hastily shipped across for the 2000 Guineas. That didn’t go well, but he monstered his Listed field at Newmarket and still looks capable of a Group 1 win as he matures.
The big dog here though is Lord North and the Gosden’s runner should be able to confirm the fact. The 2019 Cambridgeshire winner improved last year to win the Prince of Wales’s Stakes in fine style before finishing third to Ghaiyyath in the Juddmonte International.
He’s top-class this lad, and so given that the pace should be strong here we can see him at his best and he can start an important year in the best way possible.
3.55 Kempton (Handicap) – TAWLEED
There may just be one more opportunity for John and Thady Gosden, as well as Hamdan Al Maktoum’s Shadwell team, to grab a winner in this seven-furlong, Class 3 event.
Tawleed was second to Alkumait on debut and then to Naval Crown thereafter, both now top-class animals, before he finished his juvenile season with a simple win at Leicester.
He looks worthy of a rating somewhere in the mid-90’s at least now and should get even better than that as his season progresses, so starting him off in a handicap off 86 looks like a good move and he can land the spoils under Rab Havlin before moving onto bigger and better things later on.