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Saturday 27th April

Sat 27 April 2019

Good morning from Newmarket - I hope you have a few minutes spare! We have a very busy day in store today with no less than seven runners at three meetings; let us hope we can find one or two that will raise a smile (unlike yesterday), or else it will be a rather long day!

The racing is as competitive as you would expect, and nothing will come easy. That said, we are running lots of nice horses and, whilst I don’t expect a glut of winners by any means, I do hope we will see plenty of respectable performances.

We have to wait until 3.55 to get started, when the mercurial Baasha takes his chance in the mile and a quarter 0-60 handicap at Leicester. He won at Chelmsford in January but has looked progressively less enthusiastic in his runs since. As a result we are switching headgear and reach for a visor and turn to Jamie Spencer to see if he can work his magic. The one crumb of comfort is that Baasha is returning to 0-60 company, but we do need to see a major rejuvenation in truth.

Our second Leicester runner is Mawsool in the seven-furlong 0-75 handicap for three-year-olds at 5.35. A son of my Royal Ascot winning filly Habaayib, he showed promise at two and then won in a driving finish at Lingfield on his seasonal return. The form took a knock at Sandown yesterday, but thankfully the handicapper has left Mawsool’s mark unchanged on 75. This will be the quickest ground he has faced, on a track he is unfamiliar with, and his first start in handicap company – whilst on his only previous run in a double figure field he checked out very quickly. So there are quite a few ifs and buts for him this afternoon, but he has the raw talent to be involved off this sort of mark so I hope he will be competitive.

Moving westwards, we have two runners at Wolverhampton this evening, namely Global Art and Global Freedom, both of whom are owned by Dr Johnny Hon. Global Art was a winner over a mile at Chelmsford back in August, but he won so impressively that his mark sky rocketed and he has never quite got his head in front since.  He competed well on several occasions during the winter and was perhaps unlucky not to win once or twice, and has been given a little break since his last run in order to try and freshen him up. This drop back to 0-75 company is just what he wants, whilst there is no reason to suggest that Wolverhampton won’t suit. He has a fair each way chance, but a wide draw in stall 10 could prove our undoing.

In the finale at 8.30 Global Freedom has his third qualifying run in the novice over an extended mile. He showed a glimmer of promise on debut, but made a noise so needed wind surgery subsequently. On his return to action at Newbury a couple of weeks ago he was far too free and got lost on the holding ground, but we know he is better than that. Hopefully coming back to the all-weather will allow him to show more of his true ability this evening, but he is naturally more of a long-term prospect.

We are also in action at Doncaster, where I will be on course to see our three runners. We get underway with Jabalaly in the seven-furlong novice at 6.15. A talented son of Moohaajim, he was second on his only outing last year, finding just the now 103-rated Space Traveller too good. Jabalaly travelled like a useful horse that day, and we hope there is plenty more to come. However, given that he has been off for nine months, and the fact that we are looking at tacky, holding ground, I definitely expect this horse to improve a good deal for the outing. Fingers crossed he can put in a good showing nonetheless.

Half an hour later Alternative Fact bids to bounce back to form in the 0-95 handicap over a mile and a quarter. This is a tough-looking race, and the vibes are strong for Roger Varian’s unexposed Fujaira Prince, whilst there are several good handicappers in there with strong-looking form. Our horse performed dismally on his comeback at Kempton, but was a Listed-placed two-year-old and competitive in good handicap company last year. So we aren’t worrying too much about the opposition, just hoping that we will see an improved display from a talented horse whom we hope to get back on track. He has handled easier ground in the past, and the track should suit him, so there aren’t too many excuses. Rab Havlin will be in the saddle.

Our final runner to discuss is Valence in the mile and a half handicap at 7.15, also at Doncaster. He had three runs last year to qualify for a handicap mark of 70, and he was far from disgraced on his comeback at Nottingham over a mile and a quarter. The winner of that race has come out and advertised the form by scoring again, whilst the handicapper has helpfully nudged us down a pound to 69.

The step up to a mile and a half should be within his compass (his full-brother Monitor Closely was placed in the St Leger after all) and I hope that our horse has more improvement in him. The doubt is probably the ground, as he has yet to tackle an easy surface and isn’t the biggest, so he could conceivably get a little stuck in the tacky ground up there. We have also stumbled into a rather tough-looking race, with several unexposed young handicappers in there that could be anything. However, Valence is a nice prospect at the appropriate level so I hope he won’t be disgraced.

So we have seven runners in total, and the betting forecasts tell you we have no standout chances. Despite that, I hope we will see plenty of encouragement from several of them, and I am looking forward to seeing how we get on.


All the best,

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