The card for the second day of the Punchestown Festival is as good as I’ve seen, the two bumpers are peerless, but as for having a bet I’m stumped. I backed Supasundae at Cheltenham but he’s no 9/4 shot! I backed Bellshill at Aintree but can you back these Mullins hotpots going to the well again? I have always thought the Punchestown Gold Cup would be Road to Riches best chance of a G1 win this season but didn’t anticipate this strength of opposition. I am putting all of the runners in both bumpers in my tracker, recommend you do the same!
Ascot is an excellent midweek card (more of this please BHA!) with plenty of future winners on show, Notebook at the ready!
#startracking Wednesday runners
Pontefract 3.45 ENGAGE She won on debut over Doncaster’s straight mile needing every yard to get up on the line in a C5 maiden. Surprisingly she dropped a furlong when upped three grades to run in the valuable Sales race at Newmarket when she comfortably led to The Dip before being outpaced. The winner, Alice Springs, is 1,000 Guineas bound. She should enjoy the 10F trip in this C3 fillies handicap on Good ground and you can’t fault the yards form. Her handicap mark reflects her form but hopefully age, trip and experience can bring improvement. Little curious to why Liam Jones gets the ride when both Durcan and Donohoe are at the meeting?
Engage is a one star* win selection @ 11/4 general.
ENGAGE – “This smart filly is from the first crop of Pour Moi, an emphatic winner of the 2011 Epsom Derby, who is from the brilliant family of Bosra Sham and Lammtarra. This filly’s female line also boasts plenty of class acts, including her dam’s half sister Solemia, who won The Arc in 2012. This filly’s half sister Stormina was the winner of six races, including three at Listed level, and is the dam of Silasol, the Champion 2YO filly in France.” Highclere Website 10th Sept.2015
ENGAGE “proves tough when winning on debut Engage looked a smart filly in the making when winning on her debut this afternoon at Doncaster. Having broken well from the stalls jockey Stevie Donohoe settled the filly in behind the odds on favourite Langlauf in about fourth. Engage travelled strongly through the race but as they approached the two and a half furlong pole the pace began to quicken and she lost her position as the rest of the field came to challenge. At this point Stevie switched Engage to the stand side and, under his urgings, she began to run on gamely and looked like she might scrape into a place. However once inside the final furlong it became clear she was gaining ground with every stride and she stuck her head out well to eventually pass the post a short head in front. Engage battled hard inside the final furlong and Stevie was very complimentary about her, stating she is sure to improve for the run as well as a step up in trip.” Highclere Website 15th August, 2015
Ascot 4.30 MOHEET Cost £800K at the Craven Breeze ups 2014 and was a wide margin winner of only start as a 2yo. It just didn’t go right for him last year, 3rd in the Craven, 8th in the Guineas and 10th in the Derby and then back to a mile when 3rd in the G3 Thoroughbred Stakes at Goodwood. He wintered in Qatar running 3rd at Doha.
He had traffic problems in the Guineas, Goodwood and Doha and all this talented son of High Chaparrel needs is a bit of luck and to find his best trip. He starts off his 4yo campaign in Listed company on Ascot’s straight mile. Much as Richard Hannon’s horses have benefitted from a run Moheet ticks plenty of boxes and @ 16/1 with Coral he is a one star* each way bet.
Wolverhampton 5.45 DORA’S FIELD Now here’s a conundrum. Everybody saw her really promising run at Newmarket, “The fifth DORA’S FIELD travelled well, became unbalanced in the Dip but wasn’t asked to get competitive. As that was her third run we all await her handicap mark. Fillies only, 10F, galloping track as she has a bit of size about her.” Yet here she is in a 8½F C5 maiden on Tapeta and she still hasn’t got a handicap mark. She is as big as 6/1 in places with the Godolphin filly a warm order. It has to be a Watching Brief, running on fourth?
Pontefract 2.35 HAMMER GUN Definite signs of ability on debut as 2yo at Leicester when given a hands and heels introduction. Knew much more second time out in an 8½F C5 maiden at Nottingham and did best of the rest behind the very impressive Derby hope Mr Khalid. Should improve for step up to 10F on 3yo debut, has Ted Durcan on board and is a one star win selection @ 4/1 general.
Pontefract 2.35 ARISTOCLES Stoute runs two in this 10F C5 maiden at Pontefract with Steve Donohoe partnering what the market sees as the second string. This homebred son of High Chaparrel out of a Selkirk mare will appreciate the trip but hasn’t been put in either of his races to date. He will supposedly get a handicap mark after this his third run and that is where his future lies. Watching Brief.
Pontefract 3.45 ENGAGE (See above)
Pontefract 2.00 MELESINA Non Runner
Pontefract 2.00 SPRINGFORTH For fans of the Fahey yard this 2yo debutante is a joy. Sired by Fahey’s July Cup winner G1 Mayson out of Spirit Na Heiraan, who was a full sister of G2 Canadian Stakes winner Barefoot Lady, and both trained by #FantasticMrFahey! Homebred by the Steel’s using a David Armstrong sire!
An early February foal will be an interesting Watching Brief.
Pontefract 3.10 NORMANDY KNIGHT Three runs in C5 resulting in two wins (OR61 + OR66) and a second (OR71). Runs off OR72 here and neither the ground nor the trip should be an issue. The two areas of concern are whether he is ready to roll first time up and is seven pound claimer Hayley Irvine (0-7 for the yard) up to the job around a trappy Pontefract track? At 16/1 with Betfred it’s worth a one star* each way wager to find out!
Pontefract 3.45 COSMIC HALO She has done me some real favours in the past especially at York with Paul Hanagan on board but is on a losing run of fifteen going back to September 2014! No longer a betting medium unless its 10F/York/Hanagan!
Pontefract 5.25 PICCARDO Eye catching 3yo 6F sprinter at the bottom of the handicap off just OR65. Three less than average runs as a 2yo (dwelt, OK and un-steerable round bend at Kempton!) and absolutely no interest in the market 6/1 to 10/1. Has to be a Watching Brief for this gelded son of Piccolo. No doubt Hamilton will ping him out of two and make every yard!
Luca Cumani Website 26th April “We have liked War Story for a while and it will be interesting to see what handicap mark he is given.” Ears prick up when Cumani is asking about a handicap mark! Put WAR STORY in your tracker.
#FantasticMrFahey In First Place April 23, Doncaster, 3rd “The front pair pulled clear in this race for newcomers, but this son of Bated Breath shaped promisingly. Trainer Richard Fahey has said his juveniles have been needing the experience, and having travelled well, In First Place looked a little lost when asked for his effort. He should do better when next seen.” David Baxter 2yo’s to Follow Racing Post April 26th In First Place April 23, Doncaster, 3rd The front pair pulled clear in this race for newcomers, but this son of Bated Breath shaped promisingly. Trainer Richard Fahey has said his juveniles have been needing the experience, and having travelled well, In First Place looked a little lost when asked for his effort. He should do better when next seen.