Picual has an obvious opportunity, by process of elimination!
Picual is the sole Sir Michael Stoute-trained declaration in a seven-runner Fillies’ Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of Newcastle tapeta tonight and should ‘build’ sufficiently on an encouraging ‘quiet’ debut to prevail under champion all-weather jockey Richard Kingscote.
Originally my selection was stable-companion Equal Share but, disappointingly, she became a late ‘scratching’ yesterday afternoon
‘Stoutey’ never allows a jockey to hit two-year-olds first time out’ were words I’ll never forget; they were uttered by the late, great Walter Swinburn a few days after being ‘legged’ up by the Newmarket-based ‘genius’ forty years ago, onto Shergar!
Walter was seventeen and enjoyed being interviewed, then!
Stoute’s trust in ‘the lad’ was pivotal but Sir Michael, like myself. has always placed tremendous emphasis on jockeyship; ‘Kingy’ was aboard unfancied 12/1 shot Picual when sixth (of 12!) over a similar distance on Kempton polytrack ten weeks ago to heavily-backed Godolphin-owned pair Tinderbox and Silk Romance. It was a baptism of fire for sure.
Noticeable was the half-decent effort of Picual, a Lope De Vega juvenile which runs in colours of ‘Juddmonte’, formerly Prince Khalded Abdulla; she responded well by finishing off with gusto, enjoying the ‘first day at school!’
It was good to see Stoute looking in good form at Ascot last Saturday, he lost his long-time partner, Coral, several months ago and it brought back great memories of the Champion trainer whose tussles with Sir Henry Cecil were legendary.
Of colossal interest is the attempt by Pocket The Profit to complete a five-timer and defy three penalties (amounting to 18lbs!) in the Nursery Handicap over five furlongs under Mark Crehan who still claims 3lbs apprentice allowance.
When beating Brazen Akoya four lengths ten days ago, on a similar surface around Wolverhampton, George Boughey’s charge carried one pound more than the runner-up, now better off by 20lbs!
Methinks this will be ‘the final straw on the camel’s back’ as the saying goes and I’ll bet placings are reversed, but it will be fascinating nonetheless; let’s ‘weight’ and see, eh?
Selections, Newcastle, 6.30 Picual; 7.00 Brazen Akoya (e.w); 8.00 Royal Invitation;
NEWBURY, 4.30 DULAS (E.W) is an each-way ‘special’ which has been readied for such an opportunity and James Doyle will be instructed to be positive from the stalls, right down the centre!
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