Sea Oscar, sixth to Miss Scaletta at Goodwood just over four weeks ago, is strongly-fancied by trainer William Haggas to reverse placings with his Newmarket-based counterpart, Ed Walker, in an intriguing Fillies’ Novice Stakes over an extended nine furlongs of Wolverhampton tapeta this afternoon; none of eight other rivals has achieved anything like their time-handicap marks.
Less than two lengths separated them over a mile and the manner in which quietly-backed Sea Oscar stayed on strongly in the closing stages under Cieren Fallon suggests this Sea The Stars filly will be a much different proposition on the back of her ‘first day at school’ experience; I’ll bet that’s the case.
Given Sea Oscar will be advantaged by a maiden allowance and Miss Scaletta carries a savage 7lbs penalty, equating to at least three lengths, I’ll be surprised if Richard Kingscote doesn’t adopt positive tactics and makes the running on a left-handed circuit which compromises negativity. For those in behind down the far side it’s a real dilemma getting a clear run and there are no flies on our champion all-weather jockey, who often sets sail on the final bend to glorious victory. Opening betting shows will be most interesting.
One most significant factor is Haggas’s approach to placing; like myself he never wastes a race which probably rubbed off from observing his uncle and my former ‘guv’nor/friend, Robert Armstrong, who recently passed away. We enjoyed a golden spell with several truly great horses/fillies.
Following a spell of total frustration and indeed disappointment we got back on the winning trail Sunday with an all-weather double and a second under ‘summer-jumping’ rules; two ‘codes’ which have constantly supplied the goods in darkest hours and it was pretty grim trying to make sense of form on turf last week at so many venues which had been compromised with ‘watering!’
This tailpiece on my daily article is all about reminding myself (and punter/readers) about the shortcomings of the English Racing scene, my passion for the best part of fifty years since when hard/firm/and good to firm ground conditions were regularly forecast for flat-race meetings; never again, unfortunately.
It was mythical to suggest thoroughbreds would break down on such surfaces and smacked of ignorance; a truly great International jockey once assured me if there was the slightest suggestion of pain when they ‘let themselves down’ it would be impossible to get horses to stride out naturally. Cragside was a fantastic example, bless him, and wonderful memories of a lovely horse which are etched in my heart forever.
Selections, Wolverhampton, 4.30 Sea Oscar (e.w); Uttoxeter, 5.45 Aumerle (e.w); 8.15 Rumble B (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