Nahanni will almost certainly be favourite to go one better in a somewhat uncompetitive eight-runner Novice Stakes over a mile and a half of Kempton polytrack this afternoon on a day when, significantly all-weather racing dominates ‘Super-Saturday’ and, given the way ‘Clerks’ of courses have continually abused ground conditions for NH racing, we might just see more than six artificial surfaces in the next few years; the ‘Sport Of Kings’ is indeed so different to my early times on the English racing scene which is being de-characterised as a consequence.
To all intents and purposes, apart from obvious major fixtures, Cheltenham, Liverpool and other set-in-stone profile weekends, jumping is now demeaned, is it surprising?
Serious punting on desperate, unreliable ground is a ‘no go’ for professionals like myself and ‘we’ simply will not guess the outcomes. Computing race-times from bad ground is a waste of time
The forthcoming period of year was always my absolute ‘favourite’ with Hunter chasers and mares-in-form a firm focus for making betting pay from jumpers, with a serious professional approach; I can still produce the goods but it’s definitely a far cry from the halcyon days of Arkle, Persian War, Istabraaq and so many household names which are etched in my memory forever.
Four weeks ago Nahannim, blinkered and ridden by veteran Robert Winston, shaped well on debut when runner-up over course and distance to stable-companion Wild Crusade, even-money favourite and mount of Tom Marquand in the second colours of Godolphin; only half a length separated the principals.
On my time-handicap Nahaani achieved a mark good enough to win this-type race nine times out of ten and the Frankel colt is selected to beat the only possible form danger, once-raced Mjahim, trained by John Gosden; improvement is expected and will be needed. Three of their rivals are unraced and others are similarly inexperienced.
It’s an intriguing race well worth monitoring closely for future winners.
Earlier over a similar distance, consistent, hitherto luckless Big Wing will not be a surprise if causing one in the Novice Stakes on Lingfield ‘poly’ which rides superbly; Richard Hannon’s charge has posted several efforts which have resulted in the Free Eagle gelding being allotted a BHA rating of 70. Each-way is advised and, significantly, stable jockey Sean Levey replaces a ‘green’ apprentice.
Finally don’t be afraid to take on those ‘shorties’ in the English Premier League which resumes today; license to print money, laying them!
Selections, Wetherby, 12.50 Our Jet; Lingfield, 3.45 Big Wing (e.w); Kempton, 5.55 Nahaani.
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