Newbury host its first flat racing of the season this weekend and we have a competitive and informative card.
John Gosden has his string very well forward (four winners on Wednesday) and he saddles Dante and Derby entry Western Hymn (3.05) in the 10f Conditions race for three-year-olds.
All seven who go to post are previous winners and both Andrew Balding’s Scotland and Sir Michael Stoute’s Snow Sky are highly respected, but the selection created a very favourable impression when scoring at Kempton Park on his sole start back in December and, with the stable in such good form, he is taken to maintain his unbeaten record.
There are two valuable handicaps on the card and Gosden can land a quick double courtesy of Muwaary (3.40) another unbeaten colt from the yard in the next.
The selection scored over C&D on good to firm ground back in July but was not seen since although it is worth noting that he still holds entries for both the Newmarket (50/1 at BetVictor) and Irish Guineas.
Paul Hanagan takes the ride and it should also be pointed out that he could have ridden Zarwaan from the Ed Dunlop stable.
Muwaary is bred to appreciate good or fast ground but conditions (good to soft and drying out) at the time of writing should not be a problem and the Gosden bandwagon is set to roll on.
In the concluding 10f Fillies’ maiden it will take a good one to lower the colours of Casual Smile (5.45) for Andrew Balding despite the fact that she was a beaten favourite in two of three starts as a juvenile. She still holds an entry in the Oaks and this daughter of Sea The Stars should appreciate this trip stepping up from a mile where she travelled well but lacked a finishing kick.
As with all Newbury maidens there are lots of well-bred newcomers including the daughter of New Approach Approaching Star who cost 175,000 Euros as a juvenile.
Ayr host the first day of their Scottish National meeting and Sign Of A Victory (2.10) should get favourite backers off to a winning start for Nicky Henderson.
This looks a good piece of placing by the stable with a gelding who has won two of his three starts over timber including when landing the odds at Newbury last month.