The in-form Mayfair Gold switches to turf at Newmarket on Friday

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May 17

Our jumpers have gone six weeks without a winner, but most of the Flat horses have been performing as expected, so we are entitled to be optimistic about the chances of Hourless maintaining the progress he has shown for the Apple Tree Stud when he runs at Bath this evening.

Hourless showed big improvement when bolting up at Wolverhampton a month ago, and as he is now only 2lb higher, it is not surprising that the bookies have him favourite on his switch back to turf.

It will be a busy morning at Barbury tomorrow, with horseboxes pulling out for Salisbury, Newmarket and Fontwell. Lionella is interesting at the Wiltshire course, having run a blinder when coming from off the pace to finish second at Lingfield, the filly’s first race for five months.

The form looks good as the winner followed up next time out, and reverting to turf won’t be a problem as Lionella showed promise twice at Newbury last season.

Similarly, we’ll be looking for another bold run from Mayfair Gold, who tries grass for the first time in public when going for the hat-trick at Newmarket. There was a four month break between the filly opening her score at Southwell and winning again at Chelmsford, but she is looking quite useful and, though she now drops back to the mile, Mayfair Gold is not short of speed, having overcome a slow pace to get up close home on the second occasion.

Dickens, twice a winner of the Flat, got stuck in the mud at Market Rasen last time,  but he should enjoy the drier ground when he attempts to open his hurdling account at Fontwell.

Doubtless, Alan will be at Newbury on Friday, when we run an interesting newcomer in Inkaman, an unraced Cracksman three-year-old who cost 42,000gns at Tattersalls 18 months ago, and also Sword Beach, whose recent Flat form has been disappointing. However, he is 10lb lower than when he won twice in a week the season before last, so fingers crossed he can recapture some of his old sparkle here.

Our other Friday runner is Grandeur d’Ame at Aintree. He won well at Huntingdon and Stratford before finding the ground a bit too soft when going for the hat-trick at Warwick.