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Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:34am Thursday 17th April 2014 in Sport
Hamza's claims of becoming one of the leading sprinters in the land can be bolstered by victory in the Connaught Access Flooring Abernant Stakes at Newmarket.
The five-year-old gelding has yet to win in Pattern company, but his last two outings would suggest he is developing nicely with age.
Kevin Ryan's inmate was beaten less than two lengths in the Prix de l'Abbaye on Arc weekend at Longchamp, after which he demonstrated in Dubai last month that he is still on the upgrade.
Despite having been largely unconsidered for the Al Quoz Sprint, which featured a raft of Group One-winning speedballs from across the globe, Hamza turned in a smashing effort to finish sixth.
The gelded son of Amadeus Wolf only went down by two and a quarter lengths to Amber Moon, which was a genuinely fine run given he had been off the track since last October.
Assuming he has done everything right since returning to his stables in North Yorkshire, there is every chance this two-times course and distance winner can carry on the good work in what looks a pretty ordinary renewal of this Group Three over six furlongs.
The main event, of course, is the Novae Bloodstock Insurance Craven Stakes, in which Toormore should continue to flourish.
Last season's unbeaten champion juvenile is unlikely to have it all his own way, as Be Ready looks a particularly dangerous foe.
That said, even minimal improvement from a startling two-year-old campaign really ought to be enough to get him home ahead of the 2000 Guineas next month - especially with this one-mile trip seemingly made to measure.
Defeat in the Craven is almost unthinkable if he is to be recognised as a leading Classic hope, such was Kingman's ludicrously easy victory in the Greenham at the weekend.
It would be foolish to crib Mull Of Killough's chances of back-to-back victories in the other Group Three on the card, the Weatherbys Hamilton Insurance Earl of Sefton Stakes.
Jane Chapple-Hyam's hugely likeable eight-year-old comes alive at the two Newmarket courses, where he has won four times from just six visits and been second in a Cambridgeshire.
Mull Of Killough has not hit the mark since his comprehensive success in the Earl of Sefton 12 months ago, but he has, admittedly, been campaigned all around in the world in races at the Melbourne Cup meeting and, most recently, the Godolphin Mile at Meydan.
Versatile in terms of ground, he rates a safe option in a trappy-looking encounter.
Cloudscape is a most absorbing entry in the newmarketracecourses.co.uk Handicap.
John Gosden's Dansili colt has only been sighted on a racecourse once, but gained lots of admirers with the style in which he drew three lengths clear in a solid one-mile maiden at Kempton in December.
Cloudscape still holds a Derby entry and should have no problems stepping up to a mile and a quarter for this, such is his stout pedigree.
Waseem Faris should make a successful swift turnaround in the Malosa Medical Apprentice Handicap at Ripon, while Baby Shine can atone for an unlucky fall at Limerick last time by winning the EBF/TBA Mares' Novices' Chase Finale at Cheltenham.
CHELTENHAM: 2.05 Flementime, 2.40 Baby Shine, 3.15 L'Unique, 3.50 Time For Rupert, 4.25 Trackmate, 5.00 Sixty Something, 5.30 Coco Shambhala.
NEWMARKET: 1.45 Rise Up Lotus, 2.20 Satellite, 2.55 Johann Strauss, 3.30 HAMZA (NAP), 4.05 Toormore, 4.40 Mull Of Killough, 5.10 Sighora, 5.40 Cloudscape.
RIPON: 1.55 Reassert, 2.30 Barkston Ash, 3.05 Red Refraction, 3.40 Marcret, 4.15 Grevillea, 4.50 Waseem Faris, 5.25 Yenhaab, 5.55 False Witness.
TIPPERARY: 4.35 Canary Row, 5.05 Coldstream, 5.35 Fiosrach, 6.05 Spirited, 6.35 Boqa, 7.05 Elegant Peace, 7.35 South South West.
DOUBLE: Hamza and Toormore.
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