Master Sergeant lurks menacingly among twelve ‘decs’ for an ‘aged’ twelve-runner Novice Stakes over a mile of Southwell tapeta today when the once-raced John Gosden-trained Shamardal colt definitely has similarly-profiled Blue Train to beat; both are owned by dominant Godolphin and Charlie Appleby’s runner is the likely favourite. Two magnificent trainers with potentially useful three-year-olds promise to serve up a treat and my time-handicap indicates it will be difficult to nominate the winner.
It’s unlikely any other rival will be able to figure, four are un-raced and are tasked with a difficult situation in a race full of intrigue.
Blue Trail made an encouraging debut twelve days ago when runner-up to our strong fancy Stormy Ocean over the straight tapeta mile of Newcastle; the winner, positively-ridden by Robert Winston, carried the second colours of Godolphin!
It’s quite incredible to think of the commitment Sheikh Mohammed is prepared to make, given all the adverse ‘politics’ surrounding him, but since the loss of elder brother, and partner, Hamdan Al Maktoum, he’s ‘upped the ante’ and we should be grateful espying such magnificent thoroughbreds on a daily basis.
Master Sergeant drops back in trip from ten furlongs which was too far four weeks ago, also at Gosforth Park, according to Gosden’s faithful veteran jockey Rav Havlin; it was significant his mount was backed into favouritism first-up and looked in business approaching the final furlong only to empty quickly in a race won by West Wind Blows.
‘Pricing up’ will be most interesting; hopefully Blue Train collars the bulk of support because I’m keen to play Master Sergeant in an each-way trixie with twice-raced Rcihard Hannon-trained Mekbat, one of eleven lined up for a Maiden Stakes over seven furlongs of Lingfield polytrack.
This looks a three-cornered fight involving Wyvern, Lumley and Mekbat, third to odds-on Tranquil Night in a fast-run dash over a similar distance around Kempton thirteen days ago when the Zelzal colt was an unfancied 12/1 chance. Hannon’s improve considerably for experience.
Go Steady represents a snip in the Novices’ Hurdle over two and a half miles of ‘soft’ Leicester; with the racing family Skelton in tremendous form we must cash in as Harry attempts to catch Brian Hughes in the Championship race.
Selections, Lingfield, 2.00 Mekbat (e.w); Leicester, 2.20 Go Steady (e.w); Southwell, 5.00 Master Sergeant (e.w).