This intriguing staying contest sees last years St. Leger sixth Forever Now reappearing. The Galileo son is still generally lightly raced and has been progressive throughout his three year old campaign. He won a Listed contest over 1m 6f at Goodwood, following on from a fine third in the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy. There is every chance that he has still a bit more to offer.
The only question mark is the ground. He has some sort of form with a bit of give in the ground, but he showed his best on a better surface. Todays conditions at Nottingham are soft, though the good weather may help. One has to consider though that Forever Now is a very short price. On that basis I think it’s possible to oppose him here on his seasonal reappearance.
The filly Island Remede has the benefit of a recent run and finished a very creditable runner-up to Windshear in a Conditions Stakes over 12f on her seasonal reappearance. She clearly loves the mud and that should ensure that she’s in with a good chance to run well today.
The Ralf Beckett trained Cinnilla progressed nicely through the ranks last season, though she was found out in better class on heavy ground in France at the end of the year. Lightly raced Deuce Again has done well on the All-Weather recently, but this is a completely different test and it remains to be seen if she’s suited by it.
Clearly the most interesting runner is Godolphin’s Blue Rambler. Unbeaten in France as a three year old, where he won a Listed race over 12f in softish conditions, he moved yards subsequently but ran only once for Charlie Appleby last season, when he finished a fair third in a hot Handicap. He steps up in trip now but that shouldn’t be a problem on pedigree, and he’ll love the ground today.
First time headgear is interesting and suggests he’s not in it for a public gallop. The yard is going strongly too. While there are question marks about fitness after a long lay-off, he may have still a good deal of improvement left in him. With conditions sure to suit, I expect a big run and he looks overpriced in this field.
3.40 Nottingham: Barry Hills Further Flight Stakes (Listed)
Blue Rambler @ 13/2 Stanjames – 5pts win