Thursday Racing: Christopher Wood Fit and Ready to Score7 min read
Aidan O’Brien announced on Wednesday he was bringing a strong team to York for the Ebor meeting next week, including Guineas winner Saxon Warrior who is likely to meet Roaring Lion for the fifth time with the score currently tied at 2-2.
There was a glint in the eye of the Ballydoyle handler when talking about his star colt who has been backed into (from 9/2) following the trainer’s bullish noises and also in light of confirmation that Arc winner Enable ( to double up at Longchamp) will miss York.
Connections of Saxon Warrior must surely regret running the colt in the Irish Derby just a week before his Eclipse run when he was beaten just a neck by Roaring Lion. Despite Enable’s absence the Juddmonte International looks like being the race-of-the-season to date.
Salisbury’s Group 3 Sovereign Stakes is today’s feature and back down to a mile I must give Elarqam (4.10) a last chance dropping back to a mile, having looked a non-stayer over 10f in the York Stakes last time.
Andre Fabre would not have had many – if any – runners at Salisbury and his Plumatic would appreciate any rain that might hit the track. South Seas and previous winner of this race Zonderland have not been at their best so far this season but could easily bounce back, but I do feel this is Elarqam’s race to lose.
Concello (2.10) was let down by her inexperience when second at Lingfield – well backed – on debut and she is entitled to know more this afternoon for Archie Watson with Oisin Murphy taking over in the saddle. It will be interesting to see if connections try and recoup Lingfield losses.
Hyanna (4.40) has been a revelation since joining Eve Johnson-Houghton and she is only 4lbs higher than when scoring at Newmarket last time. The lightly-raced Crystal Moonlight is likely to be all the rage given her high-profile connections, but she was readily brushed aside at Chester last month and needs to bounce back to form today.
Of the older horses Frown is 7lbs higher and needs to show she is as effective on turf and High On Light may not have got home over 2m last time – today’s drop in trip should suit.
At Beverley Glass Slippers (2.00) was all dressed up with nowhere to go at Goodwood last time and the hope is that Kevin Ryan’s filly can cope with the drop back to the minimum trip in the opener. The yard’s horses have been running well without winning of late, but the hope is that this filly gets to go to the ball.
At Yarmouth I’m hoping to see Courtside (6.25) get back to winning ways having looked in need of a step up in trip when a close third at Newbury last month off a 1lb lower mark. The winner, fourth and fifth have since won so the form is solid, and the extra furlong is another positive.
Lonely Boy (2.20) has a moderate draw to overcome at Wolverhampton, but he travelled like the best horse for much of the race when run out of it close home at Yarmouth last time. He is given the chance to atone.
Sister Celine (3.20) is fitted with cheek-pieces for the first time having stayed on at just one pace when third at Doncaster last time which suggests Roger Charlton may not have thought his filly was concentrating fully. The selection steps up in trip to 1m 6f this afternoon and connections will be keen to get a win into a filly who cost 130,000gns as a yearling.
Jumira Prince (5.35) impressed on soft ground at Doncaster back in April despite only winning by half a length and he bounced back to form when runner up at Newcastle last time. A 4lbs rise doesn’t make life easier at Chepstow this evening, but he responded well to first-time cheekpieces at Gosforth Park and the hope is that he can maintain that improvement this evening.
We have 134 entries for our race night on Thursday.
The going is currently Soft and there are 7 races on the card.
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Christopher Wood (8.15) has been off the track for 70-days since racing too keenly at Sandown on ground which may have been a shade too quick. The selection has been dropped a couple of pounds in the weights, Jason Watson take off another valuable 3lbs and the cut in the ground will certainly help.
Christopher Wood (NAP)