Banana, one of only two juveniles with experience in a nine-runner 2-y-o Novice Stakes over five furlongs at Salisbury this afternoon, shaped encouragingly when a close fifth, beaten two and a quarter lengths, at Newmarket eleven days ago; ridden by former champion apprentice David Egan, for Martyn Meade’s quality Manton yard, this Aclaim filly went off an unconsidered 11/1 chance and was soon in rear after a tardy start.
That was soon remedied and Banana had joined a leading group just after halfway; her early dramatic burst to join issue told in the closing stages but she maintained a prominent position, staying on well up the famous final climb of the Rowley Mile. Apparently Meade was delighted.
HQ maidens are the toughest on our English racing scene, it usually takes a graded performer to win them at the Cambridgeshire venue and I’ll be closely monitoring all five which finished behind the 25/1 winner Desert Dream,, mount of Hollie Doyle.
As a consequence of Egan being claimed by his guv’nor Roger Varian at Wetherby an absolute ‘favourite’, David Probert, partners Banana, my solid preference to prove better than the only other to have enjoyed a ‘first day at school’, Ralph Beckett-trained Angel Bleu.
It’s early to get involved with two-year-olds but Banana, with a 5lbs sex allowance, ticks enough boxes for an each-way punt.
‘The Probe’ also partners George Morland (again!) in division one of a Novice Stakes over seven furlongs and what beats this recent Henry Candy-trained Kempton polytrack winner will win!
‘George’ performed quite a feat first-up given the Camacho colt was drawn wide and, at odds of 16/1, must have surprised his veteran trainer who likes a tilt at the bookies in between sessions of playing crochet!
Perhaps Henry knew, there are no flies on him and you can bet his time-handicap top-rated charge will be a deal fitter.
The second leg is too difficult but Hollie looks to be on the right one, Nushafreen, in a fifteen-runner Fillies’ Novice Stakes over ten furlongs of ‘good to firm’ Wetherby, judging by a promising debut on Newcastle tapeta six months ago. The sensational ‘pocket rocket’ was aboard then for Marco Botti whose placing smacks of shrewdness.
Three winners are in opposition but are penalised whereas Nushafreen is advantaged by the maiden allowance, and Hollie who, along with globe-trotting partner, Tom Marquand, has lit up the ‘Sport Of Kings’ these last two years.
Selections, Salisbury, 2.00 Banana (e.w); 3.00 George Morland (e.w); Wetherby, 2.10 Nushafreen (e.w);
Jeffrey Ross, horse-racing correspondent for WMN since 1983 when winning the most prestigious racing journalist award, Sporting Life Naps Table, before winning it a record number of six times collectively in the Racing Post, the current ‘trade’ paper, including 2019