Alfaadhel one of three ‘Shadwell’ runners in a compelling ‘aged’ Novice Stakes over ten furlongs of Lingfield polytrack tonight, is mount of contract jockey Jim Crowley but in this instance I’ve had to think the ex-dual champion jockey can only ride one of ’em!’
This twice-raced Night Of Thunder colt is ‘best-in’ on my time-handicap, judged on a decisive, hard-fought success over a similar distance/surface at Chelmsford last month but it’s far from cut ‘n dried for Roger Varian’s charge which of course carries the famous ‘first colours’ of the recently-deceased Hamdan Al Maktoum.
What will happen to his Shadwell Stud operation is up in the air but there’s good reason to believe it will remain operational on a somewhat harmonised scale; good news, of course,’Hamdan’ had more than four-hundred in training but was in the process of reducing numbers significantly when struck down rather suddenly last month.
No official report on his condition has been issued to my knowledge but he was a great influence on the English racing scene, along with Prince Khaled Abdulla who also died during last winter. Their loss is immeasurable but they leave a colossal legacy.
Discussing the merits of twelve rivals is pointless and boring apart from Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old Chai Yo Power owned by Leicester City Football Club which failed to qualify for the 2021/22 Champions League when my old club tamely succumbed to Tottenham Hotspur during a dramatic climax last Sunday.
A 309 days absence rules out Chai Yo Power, a four-year-old which hit similar marks on both outings; whatever transpires, follow him.
A seven-race Newcastle AWR fixture looks too difficult but, by process of elimination, David Barron’s Lilikoi looks ‘nailed on’ to make it fourth time lucky in a shallow Novice Stakes over nine furlongs of ‘good’ ground Musselburgh; odds-against would be a bonus judged on a ‘career-best’ third to Grangeclear View at Redcar last week. A filly in form, advantaged 5lbs by sex allowance and trained by a maestro who knows the value of ‘winning brackets’ for stud purposes. Napped.
Bangor is a ‘favourite’ course and veteran trainer Philip Hobbs has found a gilt-edged opportunity for Man Of Light in ten-runner Maiden Hurdle over two miles of ‘soft’ ground; if he doesn’t win this…!
Just before ‘penning’ this in the middle of Monday ‘night’ I glimpsed a wholesome full moon; the weather is about to change, at last.
Musselburgh, 1.00 Lilikoi (nap); Bangor, 3.03 Man Of Light (e.w); Lingfield, 6.05 Alfaadhel.
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