It was great to hear the news yesterday that race goers will be able to return to courses. Initially in a test phase, Doncaster’s St Leger meeting has been earmarked as one of the first events to return. Fingers crossed this will mark the long-awaited return for crowds at racecourses across the country.
On to today where I have a selections from Fontwell and Goodwood.
The opener at Fontwell is a 2m 3f novice hurdle. At the top of the market, there is an interesting favourite in the shape of Zarafshan for Emma Lavelle. This should take all the beating. The 4-year-old was once seen finishing 2nd to one time Derby favourite Sir Dragonet of Aiden O’Brien. Since then, the horse has switched codes and has run 4 times for Emma Lavelle since leaving Dermot Weld and the flat behind. The horse has steadily improved. He ended last season with finishing 2nd in a juvenile hurdle and will have improved from that. Rated 122, he comes into a race where connections look to have found an ideal opportunity. He is my selections to get off the mark over hurdles here at Fontwell.
The fillies handicap has just the 6 runners, with Hateya top weight for Jim Boyle. However, it’s at the bottom end of the weights where one has caught my interest. This comes in the shape of Roger Varian’s Jaaizah. She’s yet to break her maiden, however, she ran well when 2nd in a novice at Haydock on soft ground. Currently, the ground at Goodwood is soft, so a horse that is versatile on underfoot conditions should have an advantage. Her run in a handicap last time out at Beverley was a shade disappointing where she finished 4th. She had a slow start that day and if she learns from that run, she will hold every chance off a mark of 79. Roger Varian’s stable is flying at the moment with a strike rate of around 25%. I’m hoping that will continue to improve with Jaaizah here.