Brioni will rekindle some happy memories for yours truly at Kempton on Wednesday

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April 1, 2024

It will be another quiet week for Alan, but we have a couple of runners heading to Ludlow on Tuesday, and the more the ground dries out the better the chance of Royal Deeside in the two mile handicap hurdle.

Royal Deeside was beaten 19 lengths by his market-rival over the course and distance in February, but he ran much better than that winning distance suggests, especially as he hated those testing conditions.

Senior Citizen, who at the age of 11 is just that, gave Harry Myddelton a great ride until blundering three out in his first hunter chase at Taunton in January. That was his comeback after an 11 months absence, so, hopefully, he’ll come on for that in Ludlow’s hunter chase which has cut up to just six runners.

Alan never has his youngsters revved up in their first season, but I’d like to think that I am eagle-eyed in my morning visits to the Barbury gallops, and come the autumn I relish picking out one or two juveniles who might develop into money-spinning handicappers in their second season.

One who did catch my eye in the early autumn last year was Brioni, who makes his seasonal debut in the mile maiden at Kempton on Wednesday. He was bought for 130,00gns at the Newmarket Craven meeting Breeze-Up Sale last April, a reasonable price considering he hails from an excellent family.

I was at Sandown in September when Brioni had his first run in a tasty little novice over seven furlongs in soft ground, He started at 40-1, no surprise as Alan has a first-time out two-year-old winner arguably every third Pancake day, but he ran an absolute blinder to finish a close third.

Alan was keen to give Brioni a second run for experience before putting him away for the winter, and stepped up to a mile on the polytrack surface at Kempton, he held his own when things became tight half way up the straight and in a blanket finish Brioni stuck on bravely to finish a neck second behind a 700,000gns Sea The Stars colt whom Roger Varian rates highly.

I’ll be interested to see how he shapes on his reappearance on the Sunbury course, where it all started for me as a spotty faced 12-year-old, my first day’s racing with my dear old dad at Kempton’s Easter meeting 64 years ago.