Godolphin’s progressive Dream Child is turned out quickly after failing by the narrowest of margins to get his head in front four days ago over 9.5f here at Wolverhampton. He got hampered that day over 1f out at a crucial stage of the race and as a result had to re-organize himself pretty quickly – which can be a difficult task for an inexperienced horse. He quickened nicely nonetheless and almost got there on the line. He travelled strongly throughout and followed up nicely on a hugely impressive success over 12f at Wolverhampton back in January.
Dream Child is still lightly raced and the fact that he can race off the same mark today as four days ago, makes him a huge chance here. The step up in trip poses no problem whatsoever. He proved his stamina before. Judged on this latest performance, he should be a couple pounds higher rated and potentially goes all the way into pattern class after this in my mind. No doubt Dream Child is the most talented runner in this field.
The main dangers are Noble Gift who’s holding his form well and he should run a good race once more. Luv You Whatever has excellent form and was able to translate his Southwell forms to the tapeta last time out. But has to overcome another hike in the mark, which means a career best is required. I’m usually not for the short favourites, but think in this case that Noble Child should be a good deal shorter. With Adam Kirby booked for the ride I hope he won’t meet trouble in-running this time and then he should simply have too much on the plate for the rest.
7.45 Wolverhampton: Class 2 Handicap, 12 furlongs
Dream Child @ 11/10 Coral – 10pts win
This is a Handicap which lacks the competitiveness of what one would have seen in recent weeks in this very similar slot. Not too many of the runners in the line-up give the impression to be either particularly well handicapped or have conditions in favour to achieve a career best performance. That makes Tha’ir a very fair favourite and his last win was rates a big performance, no doubt. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could follow on and he has every chance here, but I’m not sure if he should be much shorter in the betting than what he is now, given that he has to deal with a rise in the mark.
Mushreq is a consistent performer, though doesn’t seem to be as good this season as he was the last years. First time tongue tie fitted doesn’t instil much confidence and as the top weight is one to avoid here today. Berling ran a fine second behind Tha’ir recently, and another bold bid is one the cards. He’s to overcome a wide draw once again and may find one or two too good today. Belgian Bill didn’t quite have the run of the race in the very same race and stayed on nicely. If that is an indication that he gets the trip these days, then he’ll be a big runner. Francis Of Assisi, if fit after a break, is a very interesting runner, now in Godolphin colours, while Star Right may well be able to build on a promising last run.
However the most interesting runner and also the only really overpriced one in my mind, is Mike De Kock’s Flying The Flag. He was a Group 3 winner in Ireland over 10f back in 2013, joined subsequently De Kock’s yard without setting the world alight in two starts in pattern class in the UK. Dropped into handicap company on his seasonal reappearance earlier this month, he travelled very well but had a tough ride turning widest and losing loads of ground. He really stayed on very strongly eventually.
That performance came over 1m but general perception is that he is best over further. The step up in trip should suit perfectly today and his mark of 106 gives him a very nice chance to run big. De Kock was pretty bullish talking about Flying The Flag which is a significant boost for his chances: “He’s catching the eye in his exercise gallops. He ran on well after a rest last time and I fancy he’ll be very competitive here.”
6.15 Meydan: Class 1 Handicap, 10 furlongs
Flying The Flag @ 7/1 Paddy Power – 5pts win
This is a really fascinating contest. The betting already reveals that the race is as open as it gets, with almost any of the seven runners in with a very fair chance. Current favourite Trojan Rocket has been nicely improving this winter and won two on the bounce. Can he overcome a new career highest mark? Ballista showed a return to form lately and can race off the same mark as when beaten only on the line the last time. Same applies to Mishaal who improved nicely on the All-Weather and was only beaten in a photo at Lingfield last time out. Quiet Warrior and Golden Amber aren’t out of the equation either. And let’s not make the mistake to rule out classy Chookie Royale, despite a significant drop n trip.
What makes this race particularly compelling from a tactical point of view is the fact that most runners are known to be right up with the pace, if not making all. It’ll be interesting to see how that pans out. On the deep Chelmsford polytrack this could easily end in a test of stamina, rather than end speed.
I feel that this may play into the hands of Chookie Royale who is a top class performer over seven furlongs. He’s the class act in this field, as a result has to give weight away and the drop in trip to 6f doesn’t look ideal at the first glance. But with the pace in mind and the fine form he showed lately, I think he could be ready to run a big race. Trainer Keith Dalgleish isn’t travelling 383 miles with his top performer to have a good night out. At the current odds, I think he is too big in the market and should be much closer towards the head of it.
8.10 Chelmsford: Class 2 Handicap, 6 furlongs:
Chookie Royale @ 13/2 Coral – 5pts win
Didn’t tip many winners in recent days, but The Hangman went in yesterday at Vaal at advised 10/1 odds! He clearly found something back of his former best and was a rather easy winner in the end. Because it worked yesterday, I gonna stick with South Africa today again
The 1.40 on a rather low grade Kenilworth card looks set up for one of the three year olds to take. The older horses are largely exposed and didn’t show anything that instils confidence in them, neithert hat they’d be able to produce anything better than the level they have performed to so far.
Favourite Sail For Gold looks pretty short though, given the fact that he had nine career starts already without looking all that progressive. He won a maiden race over a mile on his penultimate run and performed with credit on handicap debut and he may have still a bit more to offer dropping to 1.400m, but for all of that he is a good deal too short. Around Not Across makes more appeal on his Handicap debut after winning over 1.200m a maiden in fine form. Opening mark looks fair and stepping up in trip may well suit on only his fourth career start. However he is also a pretty short price.
Fire Master looks a pretty big price in comparison. He is also still lightly raced, won a maiden over 1.200m in good style and followed up with a strong performance in a MR77 Handicap stepping up to a mile, when he was less than two lengths beaten in third in the end. He was disappointing subsequently, but something was amiss in the latest and if he can reproduce his penultimate run, he must be in with a big chance as he is dropping in class today and is the highest rated individual here. He could have still plenty of improvement left, dropping to more suitable 1.400m should work in his favour. The downside is that he has 61.5kg to shoulder which is massive obviously.
But he is not giving too much weight away to the other 3yo’s which are all on big weights here due to the fact that is actually only a MR72 and the older horses a group of poor individuals. On balance, he should be a good deal shorter in the betting in my mind.
1.40 Kenilworth – MR72 Handicap:
Fire Master @ 6/1 Sportingbet – 5pts win
A quick trip to South Africa today or the feature Handicap on the Vaal card – a very competitive looking MR92 Handicap. Many runners are of interest here, but I can’t let the top weight go unbacked at a pretty huge price. That is because The Hangman is clearly the class act in this field.
One has to remember that the five year old is a former winner of the big Grade 1 Champion Stakes! He hasn’t been in the winners circle since a Grade 2 triumph back in December 2012, though he was a good third behind subsequent Guineas runner-up Forest Indigo (who was that day then only denied by Triple Crown winner Louis The King) last February.
Since then he hasn’t shown too much. However his second start after rest tomorrow should see him in much better light given that he drops a good deal in class right in higher end of Handicaps. Trip should suit perfectly and rated a career lowest now, he must rate a big chance if he can regain something of his former best.
2.15 Vaal – MR 92 Handicap:
The Hangman at 10/1 Sportingbet – 5pts win
Dream Child is on a four-timer and looks rock solid to perform strongly once again in the Wolverhampton feature today. Dropping to 9f shouldn’t be a problem as she has won over this trip before. With a good apprentice booked, the rise in the weight is offset to an extend. However one has to wonder how much improvement is still in her. Also she has a huge weight to shoulder today because of the big difference in ratings. She may well be good enough, but she better be at her best.
As always I try to oppose those short favourites and I feel with Boonga Roogeta there is one mare in the race who has the ability to cause an upset. She has won on the All-Weather in the past was mostly seen on turf in the last couple of seasons. She has slipped to a very handy mark now, as she won off similar or higher three races in the past. The last one at Brighton last May off 9lb higher than today. She likes to go from the front, and with her ability to get further she may well be able to dictate matters, set a strong gallop and fend off all her rivals.
She has been off the track for a while, but has performed strongly as a fresh horse in the past, and this record instils confidence that a big run is on the cards with her regular rider in the saddle too. Paddy Power is offering a huge price in this small field and it looks huge value to my eyes, so I’m bullish with the stake.
Boonga Roogeta @ 8/1 PP – 10pts win
The progressive Shyron looks a very worthy favourite and is chasing a hat-trick today. He won with a bit in hand the last time. But while he’s renewing rivalry with a couple of runners today, and on this last performance looks likely to be up to his revised mark, it also has to be stated that he got the run of the race and bumped into two rivals, which meet him on better terms this time. He looks the likeliest winner, but is a very short price in this strong handicap.
One would expect that Grey Mirage will perform with credit once more, though he may need some assistance from the handicapper to be able to win in this class again. Related didn’t quite get a clear run in the home straight the last time and may get closer to Shyron with a clear passage. Another one who was interfered in the very same race was Brigliadoro. He still finished well enough in the end and run with credit over a mile the next time in a hot race that threw up a nice winner subsequently. Dropping back to 7f again, he may be able to outrun his price tag today.
Money Team is still trying to win a race on the All-Weather but came very close the last time when he stayed on nicely. He goes 2lb up in the mark and tries 7f for the first time. The way he finishes his races suggests that it’s worth a try, also on pedigree it looks not unlikely that he gets the trip. The apprentice on board is well worth his 3lb claim and that should give Money Term every chance to run big today.
Brigliadoro @ 14/1 Coral – 5pts win
Money Team @ 16/1 Coral – 5pts win