I have a hill to climb to get back into the plus numbers for May after a shocking start to the month – I am at least glad to report well in front for the year still. Onwards and upwards and it is the Derby Trial race day at Lingfield on Saturday and I am getting involved. The going is on the soft side with a chance of showers on and off all day.
The Listed RaceBets Money Back All Losers Oaks Trial Fillies' Stakes at 1.55 is over 1m3½f. Frankel is well represented with his daughters King Power and Anapurna plus Frankellina all lining-up. If you visited the site earlier this week you will know that the William Haggas trained Oppenheimer owned chestnut filly is of interest to me. She won on debut at Yarmouth last October over a mile, running a bit green before the penny dropped and she got up late. A big strong looking filly you would think she will have come on over the winter and her dam, Our Obsession (also owned by owner/breeder Oppenheimer), won a Listed race over 1m4f at York back in the day so the trip should be fine. Trainer William Haggas said this week “She’s lovely. The form of her maiden is terrible, but she’ll stay well. She’s only just ready to run. I had a setback with her and if I’ve got any Oaks aspirations I’ve got to get on with it, so that is what I’m doing. Epsom is at the end of May, it’s early this year, Goodwood is too close, so it was between Lingfield or York and I think she stays well so we are going to Lingfield.” For me, she looks the one for this and I have the 2-1. In a year where the Oaks still looks pretty open at 33’s she is also an each-way ante-post punt for the big one in June – see the Classics page.
Anthony Van Dyck is the standout name in the Listed RaceBets Derby Trial Stakes at 2.30 over the same trip. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Galileo colt has some decent form as a juvenile, winning the G.2 Futurity Stakes before placing in the G.1 National Stakes and G.1 Dewhurst. The B.C. Juvenile didn’t go so well. Clear top rated and with the yard bang in form, you can see why the colt is priced at Evens.
It is 7f at 3.40 for the Group Three Chartwell Fillies Stakes. This doesn’t look the best line-up for this. Pretty Baby won a G.3 at Goodwood last season but all her form is on faster ground. Perfection takes a step-up in class having won a Listed heat when last seen but she is another whose form generally has the word ‘firm’ on the card whilst G.3 Sceptre Stakes winner Dancing Star also prefers good ground. Devant won the G.3 Prix Miesque back in October on very soft. She was hampered when making a move before a closing fourth in the G.3 Prix Imprudence at Maisons- Laffitte last month on her 3yo seasonal bow. The French raider looks the one that will appreciate the recent rain most out of these, other than perhaps Eirene. She remains open to improvement and gets the 8lb weight-for-age allowance which is a big plus. Gerald Mosse rides the Henri Pantall inmate and I am on at the 11-2 with Coral from Thursday.
Ascot has a very competitive looking card with some fiendishly difficult handicaps . The card includes the Listed Backhounds Stakes at 2.50 but it’s a no betting heat with Salouen and Barsanti both short in the four-runner event and the punting minefield that is the Victoria Cup is best left alone.
My old mucker the Editor and Lord of all he surveys down at Archant London newspapers Mr Michael Adkins will be propping up a bar in the Grandstand somewhere. Hopefully, I have one that might pay for half a shandy for Mikey boy and that is Setting Sail in the opener at 2.15. The lightly raced 4yo won well at Wolverhampton last month over 1m4f after 572 days off the track; looked to have quite a high knee action so soft ground might be ideal. Looks to me the type that will be campaigned by Appleby and team Godolphin in black type races by the autumn rather than Class 3 handicaps – he is by Dansili out of G.1 Prix de Diane Hermes winner West Wind so you would expect him to be better than this level. Godolphin kept him in training for a reason, he is also entered in one of the big handicaps at York next week, and he should be one to keep onside. Help yourself to the 13-8 that is about on Friday as I think this one is only going to get shorter in price.