Spirit Of Nguru puts the judgement of his trainer William Haggas firmly on the line in the opening Novice Stakes over seven furlongs of Kempton polytrack today when there is also another eight-raced programme scheduled for Wolverhampton on its excellent tapeta surface; jumpers are catered for at Ayr where ground conditions are forecast ‘good to soft’ which could turn out to be much worse given the horrific weather at the weekend.
I’ve come to the obvious conclusion, yet again, that turf racing compared to AWR really is somewhat of a guessing game and unless I’m absolutely certain of the validity of serious punting, with all boxes ticked, I’ll swerve the National Hunt scene; in the past it made little sense until February onwards and indeed the Scottish card this afternoon doesn’t meet anything like time-handicap median requirements.
Four weeks ago Spirit Of Nguru was sent to Redcar for an ‘education’ which involved a long journey from Newmarket and a debut over similar distance and passed with flying colours on both counts; fourth to Barney’s Gift, beaten just under four lengths, represented a good effort and the Invincible Spirit colt, an unfancied 13/2 chance, (big price for a Haggas runner!) finished with gusto under stable jockey Tom Marquand.
One of the obvious favourites today will be once-raced Godolphin-owned Noble Order, beaten four lengths by Claymore at Newmarket last month when fourth was My Prospero, an Iffraaj colt which is housed with Haggas!
Now then don’t you think William will be fully aware of the respective merits of Spirit Of Nguru and My Prospero?
It will be most intriguing, betting shows fascinating and just as interesting how the worst-drawn, twice-raced runners, Dubai Immo (Hollie Doyle) and The Moonsaballoon (Luke Morris) fare in division one of the Novice Stakes over a mile. The latter comes out better, virtue of a 5lbs fillies’ allowance.
Sir Mark Prescott’s charge is also guaranteed to get the trip and you just know ‘The Sniper’ will have worked out a plan with his ultra-shrewd guv’nor. Should be worth monitoring but if one of them is withdrawn we’ll have a solid bet!
Finally we come to an outstanding short-priced ‘penalty-kick’ in an eight-runner Median Auction Maiden Stakes over seven furlongs of Dunstall Park because Wonder Elmossman, second in five starts and drawn one, is clear best-in under Everton fan Martin Dwyer.
If supporting the beleaguered ‘Blues’ hasn’t taken a mental toll on the fun-loving veteran Dwyer will get job done!
Selections, Kempton, 12.15 Spirit Of Nguru (e.w); 1.25 Themoonsaballoon (e.w); Wolverhampton, 6.30 Wonder Elmossman.
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