Ascot leads the way in drawing the curtain on the turf flat season with a fantastic six-race card supported by a stellar cast, which is boosted by the increasingly likely opportunity to see Gleneagles – whom at this point has been spotted less times than the Loch ness monster. However, recent history has taught this writer to not get overly giddy at such an appetising thought because if there’s an excuse to be had then they will find it. In deep conversation with some likeminded racing enthusiasts just last night we were all confident on one outcome; the value of a group one, of lack thereof. There’s more dodgems going on in racing than a gypsy fairground and as a result those left in by the time racing comes around are perhaps not of the quality we have come to expect passing the line at racings “top” meetings. With owners & trainers so caught up in the value of the horse’s post-racing career, one can’t help think that they are biting their nose to spite their face in the fact that their horses are just not being tested on course and as a result future purchasers of progeny could well be being sold a lemon. Those trends will take some years to come to fruition, if at all, but it’s still something that’s very much a reason to be concerned.
If there’s any punctuation or grammatical mistakes in this copy it’s owing to the fact that my fingers remain firmly crossed in that Gleneagles shows his face on course today and does what I think he’s more than capable – winning the QEII.
Find it somewhat difficult to believe the current going of good-to-soft given there’s not been that much rain knocking around so I would say it’ll be on the better side of that description. Those who’d not be opposed to seeing Gleneagles run and for it to be on the softer side are fans of KODI BEAR who’s become somewhat of a forgotten horse in today’s contest, but to my eye has all the speed needed to be competitive. Being competitive and bridging the ratings gap at group one level are two very different things. However, if Gleneagles is declared a non-runner then I’ll be putting on my best running shoes and darting to the nearest bookmakers to get the best of the prices. Currently at 9/1 he surely won’t trade much lower to 6’s.
The 13:20 at Ascot is one of the best races of the day to my eye. The ever-likable MUHAARAR has looked on the up since his win earlier in the season at Newbury taking the Greenham in style and has since taken some big prizes and is favoured by the market to do so again today. Most certainly has the speed to win this, but at the prices I’m looking elsewhere. TWILIGHT SON if still available at 6/1 looks a very smart inmate in the Henry Candy yard, but has been drawn in Scotland in stall 20, but his run last time out was very eye catching on similar ground than can be expected today – has been upped 13lb for that win, but very unexposed and the handicapper has likely weighed in on that fact. It seems that I’ve become the Fahey fanboy, but once again it’s Saturday and one of his horses grace my copy. This time in the form of EASTERN IMPACT – comes here off the same mark as his last time out win over C&D and showed that day that he has taken another step forward despite being generously campaigned. Equally as generous is the current 25/1 on offer.
The 23-runner cavalry charge, also known as the Balmoral Handicap the ends today’s card is as competitive a handicap as you’ll see. Well, I’m hoping not that competitive as I’ll be seen trackside shouting home BUCKSTAY, whom is still available at 9/1. Was given a peach of a ride last time out by Jamie Spencer to pass them all to take the contest in great fashion. Was put up 6lb for that, and to me still leaves him with some room for desert. Has a plum draw in 5 and a jockey on board who knows him well.