Several reasons to think we might well have further reasons to celebrate this week
Alan was the punters pal on Wednesday when he sent out two 11-1 winners, Haughty in the afternoon at Salisbury and Open Champion at Kempton’s evening meeting.
First time headgear played a big part in both successes. Haughty, on an 11lb lower mark than she was this time last year, quickened up well in the straight to gain a well-deserved first success for Robin Mathew, and the cheekpieces kept the mare straight in the final furlong, whereas runner-up Racing Demon hung right under pressure at the business end, being beaten a neck.
Like Haughty, Open Champion had been given a chance by the handicapper, who had dropped him 10lb since the spring, and, much to the delight of James Stafford’s Thurloe Royal Marsden Cancer Charity syndicate members, he got the race in the stewards room, having been carried right in the final furlong by Intergalacticat, who was first past the post.
Bit Harsh looks to have solid prospects of maintaining our good run when he returns to Wolverhampton tomorrow. It was at Dunstall Park where he completed a hat-trick of all-weather wins in February, and, though he was disappointing at Lingfield last time, two miles there seemed to stretch him, so dropping back in trip here is a bonus.
We have four runners on Saturday, three of them coming in the space of an hour. Haseefah has done exceptionally well for Michael Rembaum and Michael Tuckey since she kicked hurdling into touch after Newbury’s Christmas meeting two years ago, winning at Chester and Goodwood as well as picking up good prize money at Newmarket and back at Goodwood.
Haseefah returns to HQ for a fillies only handicap, and, having been freshened up with a seven week break, she is reunited with George Bass, who struck up a happy association with her when winning those two races.
Also in action at Newmarket is Outgun, who is looking to win his first race for his owner-breeders, the Kingston Stud. He showed plenty of promise in three runs on the all-weather last year, and there was a lot to like about his first run on turf at Newbury on his comeback, where he finished third in what was his first handicap.
Outgun, for whom James Doyle has been booked, was subsequently fourth back at Newbury. In all probability, Outgun would have been runner-up granted any sort of run, as it he was repeatedly denied daylight and it was only in the last 200 yards that he got a clear run through. He now goes up in trip, which ought to suit him well.
Robert and Lucy Dickinson will be hoping that the weathermen forecasting a week for Newbury have got it wrong, as Greystoke is better when there is some juice in the ground, as was evident when he shook off a bout of second-itis in the soft at Chester in May.
Finally, Callum Hutchinson rides Lunar Shadow at Bath’s evening meeting. The Apple Tree Stud must have been delighted how well Lunar Shadow has been holding her own on the all-weather this year, and their mare ran right up to that form when a close third under a welter burden at Epsom in July.
Lunar Shadow has since given her owners a thrill or two over hurdles at Stratford a fortnight ago, still being close enough, having travelled well, when she paid the penalty for getting the third last flight wrong. Back on the Flat, she remains interesting.