With five winners from our last six runners at the time of writing and seven in all since our last update, there is a definite feel good factor around Bedford House Stables ahead of what promises to be a fruitful weekend as we send some of our better handicappers out in search of another win or two. But first to the Magnificent Seven.
First up was Second Step at Newbury. He’d suggested when winning his maiden that the step up to a mile and a half would be in his favour and that’s exactly how things panned out, never looking in any danger of defeat and probably winning a shade more readily than the winning margin suggests. He’s gone up to 92 in the BHA ratings now, which allows him to contests some of the better three-year-old handicaps, so we’ll take him to Goodwood next ahead of a trip to York where he is one of a number we have that could run in the Melrose.
We were a bit aggrieved that Velox had gone up in the official ratings despite finishing only seventh at Epsom and a 9lb rise after his win at Sandown in the competitive mile handicap hasn’t gone down too well either, not least given that he was ridden by a 5lb claimer, so arguably he has gone up 14lb. He won well for sure, aided by the slightly stiffer track and an out-and-out gallop, but it’s unlikely that he would have won with another 14lb on his back so we’ll have to see how he gets on off his new mark. It makes sense to run him at Goodwood next in the big mile handicap as he’s almost certainly guaranteed a good pace there, and it also frees up Ayaar to run at Ascot, where he goes very well, on the preceding Saturday in the seven-furlong handicap.
We have written before about how poorly handicapped we felt Roseburg has been all year but he keeps surprising us and we’ll have to come to the conclusion soon that he saves his best for the racecourse as he certainly doesn’t work like a 102 horse (his new BHA rating) at home. His latest success at Haydock was his most impressive yet, making his ground almost effortlessly on the bridle, and for all he would stay a mile and a half if given the chance there’s no need to step him up in trip yet given the speed he showed at Haydock. The valuable mile-and-a-quarter handicap at Goodwood is his next target and, if his current rate of progress continues, it might be his last handicap.
Our other winners have been Lawyer, Patterned, Kleo and Mizzou. Lawyer did well to win on the rain-softened ground at Windsor given his form on the all weather didn’t really suggest he would handle it. He’s probably going to be forced up into a better class of handicap from now on, so he might struggle a little, but we seem to have ascertained, if nothing else, that a mile is his best trip. Handicaps lie ahead now for our three maiden winners. Patterned had no trouble with the ground at Windsor despite being a Dansili but she found herself in a weak race, once the favourite was withdrawn. Nonetheless Patterned showed a good attitude and should step up on this form once she goes handicapping as she’s from a family with plenty of stamina in it and a steadily-run mile wouldn’t have seen her to best advantage.
Kleo’s win represents her sire’s (Kavafi) second winner in a month, Alketios being the other one, and we have heard unconfirmed reports that Kleo’s win at Lingfield has alerted Coolmore to her sire’s potential. The story goes they have sent their representatives to track him down somewhere in deepest Bulgaria and extradite him! Kleo will probably stay a bit further if required, though we imagine she will be kept at a mile and a quarter for the time being. Mizzou was another beneficiary of a favourite being withdrawn and he made no mistake at Pontefract winning by a wide margin after torrential rain altered conditions enormously. We had a similar scenario last year with Norway Cross, who so far hasn’t been able to live up to the handicap mark she was allotted for that win, so hopefully Mizzou will be given more of a chance.
For all our winners we have had our disappointments too, none more so than Havana Cooler who finished out of the money in the Old Newton Cup. It seems likely that he needs much faster ground than he had at Haydock as both Ryan, who rode him in the Melrose, and Adam who rode him on Saturday, said the same thing: he couldn’t get any sort of grip on the ground. He could run at Goodwood, though the ground there would have to be fast, or not watered, for him to do so, but then again we may just head straight to the Ebor and keep our fingers crossed that the weather stays fine and any watering is kept to a strict minimum.
We have our first two-year-old runners of the season in the next couple of days with Lady Of Dubai engaged at Newmarket and Grand Spirit entered at Nottingham. The filly has been working the better of the two but we’re not really too fussed what happens first time out as we are looking to build a career with them and few people ever remember where a particular horse finished first time out. A more likely winner is Mount Logan who runs at Newmarket but he’s significantly higher in the weights than when winning a weaker race at Goodwood and this is a much sterner test that will tell us whether we were right last year to have entered him in Group 3 company. Looking to the weekend, annoyingly Elhaame just missed the cut in the John Smith’s at York – we were hoping to run with the view that the drop back to a mile and a quarter away from Ascot will suit him. Thankfully Ayaar just scraped in in the Bunbury Cup (no watering, please) and Kinshasa is entered in the valuable mile-and-a-half handicap at Ascot.
Looking further ahead Volume still has the Irish Oaks in her sights. We’re under no illusions about the task facing her, but even if she only managed another place that would make her CV read significantly better.
(picture, courtesy of Toby Connors: Velox in the winners enclosure at Sandown)