Rockprincess, tackling six furlongs for first time, bolted up on a ‘good to soft’ Redcar surface eleven days ago and I’m confident of a follow-up in the Nursery Handicap over a similar distance on Newcastle tapeta this afternoon when stable-jockey Kevin Stott replaces ‘number 2’ Tony Eaves on the Belardo filly.
Good recent form at this time of year is so advantageous given the majority of two-year-old thoroughbreds have gone ‘over the top’ on the back of strenuous campaigns, which involve more than six months of constant training.
Kevin Ryan’s charge carries a 6lbs penalty but improved much more than that and so, on the time-handicap, comes out clear ‘best-in’ and I’ll have a decent level stake wager; this after all was undoubtedly my favourite period of the flat season, the back-end during which we’d make hay by waiting patiently for the so-called ‘right time’ and therefore, it’s ‘back to basics’ as Sir John Major said when Prime Minister twenty-five years ago.
Third (of 19!) to Rockprincess was Enraged, an Adaay filly which also achieved a career-best, ridden by veteran Graham Lee, booked again; I’ll have a saver on Julie Camacho’s charge
World Of Dreams, winner of two ‘bumpers’ last season, looks ‘a penalty-kick without a goalie’ if able to jump proficiently in the shallow-looking Maiden Hurdle over an extended two miles of ‘good to soft’ Fontwell; trainer Anthony Honeyball will be tense because this 5-year-old Kayf Tara gelding represents a hugely-expensive purchase for his operation.
Apparently World Of Dreams has had a wind operation (many do nowadays!) and so there can’t be any excuse whatsoever he’s not able to justify short-priced favouritism; I’m excited by his presence because fifth in the Aintree ‘bumper’ to Knappers Hill last April was way beyond anything this opposition will ever aspire to, can’t find semblance of any competition.
Here We Have It is tops for a Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles at Hexham, a glorious ‘Borders’ venue where Persian Blade carried my colours to victory over fences ‘donkeys years’ ago under Mick Hammond!
Only winner I ever had over the bigger obstacles!
A 345 days absence will put most punters off consistent, hitherto luckless Here We Have It but I’m aware this six-year-old gelding ‘is fit enough if good enough…’ and justifies selection.
Selections, Newcastle, 2.25 Rockprincess (e.w); Fontwell, 12.40 World Of Dreams; Hexham, 3.40 Here We Have It (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