Latest news

Friday 26th April

Fri 26 April 2019

Good morning from Newmarket. As reported in yesterday’s blog, I was at Doncaster Sales yesterday and today two of my horses have followed me up the motorway, as Venedegar and Dagueneau take their chances on Town Moor.

In the 1.40, a mile and a quarter 0-85 handicap for three-year-olds, Venedegar is on something of a retrieval mission. Although still a maiden, he showed plenty of useful form as a two-year-old, running close-up behind the likes of Phoenix of Spain, King of Comedy and Persian Moon, and earning a handicap mark of 82 for the start of this season. However, on his reappearance over this course and distance a few weeks ago, he showed very little zip and trailed in a well-beaten sixth of nine.

I didn’t know what to make of that performance, as he had been showing up nicely in his work at home, but there was no sign of spark in the race. It could be that he was feeling the quick ground that day (the rain the course received yesterday will surely help our cause), or it could be that he has not trained on as we had hoped. However, I hope the ability is still intact, so we have reached for a pair of blinkers this afternoon in order to try and coax something more from the horse. He is a difficult horse to weigh up, but the handicapper dropped him by a pound to 81 after his last run, and it will be very interesting to see how he responds to the application of some headgear.

In the 4.25, a two mile 0-85 handicap, Andrew Gemmell’s Dagueneau has his second run of the season, following a promising reappearance sixth at Leicester over an inadequate trip. A son of Champs Elysees, he developed all the way through last season, winning twice, finishing second on several other occasions and improving his rating by the better part of two stone.

He clearly needs to have found some further improvement from three to four then, but we hope that is not out of the question and that he can be competitive from his current perch of 79. Doncaster ought to suit him as a track, the good ground will be ideal, and he has come forward nicely for his Leicester run. This is a very competitive contest, with Carnwennan a deserving favourite and one of many dangers, but this is an excellent opportunity for us to test the waters with Dagueneau and find out more about what sort of horse we have on our hands for the season ahead. Can he take that step forward and go up the ratings again, or has he reached the ceiling of his ability for now? Today’s race should be very informative.

All the best,




< Back