Air To Air is a long time ‘breaking his maiden’ but George Boughey’s charge has every chance of making the winners’ enclosure after a ten-runner Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of ‘good to soft’ Newmarket this afternoon when Nicola Currie becomes the sixth different jockey in as many outings to partner this vexing 81-rated Toronado gelding.
Consistency usually brings reward but backing Air To Air, odds-on in his last three races, has indeed proved profitable, for bookmakers, who trade on ‘failures’ which punters all too often follow like sheep!
Obviously I’m guided by a ‘tell tale’ time-handicap which indicates Air To Air is certainly capable of winning and, if able to replicate a neck second to Balearic over a similar distance on Newcastle tapeta in March, this latest task should be successful; unfortunately the copybook was again blotted subsequently, last month.
Off a slowly-run race Air To Air, ridden by useful apprentice Mark Chehan and drawn wide, got behind and never threatened but, significantly, ran on well in the closing stages to finish a disappointing fourth, beaten four lengths. What instructions the young lad was given we obviously don’t know but the actual time-figure was several pounds lower than his previous effort.
Obviously I’ve ‘combed’ the opposition and realise twice-raced duo Sunset and Tacitus could improve further and several ‘super-breds’ may aspire but this is a golden opportunity to back a good-priced winner and Air To Air can’t seriously be opposed; never forget ‘you can’t beat experience!’
Incidentally Nicola has partnered stable companion Navello to victory three times on the trot and the current girl friend of high-profile NH jockey Sam Twiston Davies is eagerly anticipating another engagement next month, at Royal Ascot. Her riding this season has been a revelation with confidence high and, the smile is back.
Rest of a seven-race programme, which comprises five handicaps and a difficult ‘information-less’ two-year-old dash, is too difficult but once-raced, strong-finishing third, Via Sistina, will not be a surprise if able to topple odds-on favourite Chiasma in a shallow six-runner Fillies’ Novice Stakes over nine furlongs of ‘good to soft’ Goodwood. Worth chancing because trainer Joe Tuite has booked Jim Crowley who rides the Arundel circuit particularly well.
Also over jumps at Stratford I’ll be surprised if recent unchallenged Market Rasen debut winner Restandbethankful doesn’t follow up in the opening Novices’ Hurdle over a similar distance, two miles.
Selections, Newmarket, 3.05 Air To Air (e.w); Goodwood, 4.35 Via Sistina (e.w); Stratford, 5.40 Restandbethankful.
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