WHEN ST Nicholas Abbey won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster in 2009, he was hailed as racing’s new Messiah and was fully expected to win last season’s 2,000 Guineas, Derby, Arc, Breeders’ Cup and anything else connections could squeeze in along the way!
Sadly, his bubble burst in the Guineas (his only run as a three-year-old) and he was even more of a disappointment when only third in a Listed contest on his reappearance last month. He runs in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester this afternoon and I’d far rather lay him on Betdaq than back him. There was nothing encouraging about his Curragh blowout and the ground will be plenty quick enough for him here.
In HARRIS TWEED he meets a highly progressive four-year-old, who not only goes on any ground, but also is extremely straightforward and enjoys dominating his fields. He looks set to be allowed to lead his four rivals from the front and will take some pegging back.
Elsewhere, on a really tough looking Chester card, I like the look of the Frankie Dettori-ridden AHTOUG in the Victor Chandler Handicap over five furlongs at 3.30pm. He showed bundles of speed on his seasonal reappearance at Sandown before tiring late on and I expect him to come on a lot for that run. I’ll be at Chester this afternoon and will be posting all my other fancies and news on Twitter @BillEsdaile.
There will be plenty of Investec Oaks and Derby clues at Lingfield tomorrow, although the Oaks Trial at 2.40pm seems to be a virtually impossible puzzle to solve. If you held a gun to my head, I’d probably side with Always The Lady, but I wouldn’t be confident. The Derby Trial, half an hour later, looks an equally muddling affair and both Measuring Time and Hurricane Higgins are likely sorts. However, at the prices, I’m prepared to take a chance on Ed Dunlop’s LAUGHING JACK to dramatically step up from his Windsor maiden win.
You need to get the hat pin out to find the winner of the 29 runner Victoria Cup at Ascot tomorrow. The progressive Horseradish and Hawkeyethenoo are sure to be in the shake-up, but it may just pay to have a few quid each-way on AL MUHEER at around 25/1. He seems to save his best for the Berkshire venue and could spring a surprise from what is fast becoming an insulting mark.
Following the very successful Cheltenham Fairway to Furlong at Celtic Manor – a unique concept created by Yourgolftravel.com combining championship golf with some of the UK’s top horseracing fixtures – the next event takes place on Monday 13th June at The Berkshire Golf Club on the eve of Royal Ascot.
Following the golf, guests will be treated to a Royal Ascot preview and charity ball in the evening in aid of Cancer Research and will then attend the first day of Royal Ascot on the Tuesday. For more information,
visit www.fairwaytofurlong.com or call 0800 043 1860.
HARRIS TWEED 2.55pm Chester (today)
AHTOUG 3.30pm Chester (today)
LAUGHING JACK e/w 3.10pm Lingfield (tomorrow)
AL MUHEER e/w 3.25pm Ascot (tomorrow)