Wonderful memories of the Great Met at Epsom

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April 24

We have endured eight places since Hourless gave Barbury their last winner nine days ago, but Alan makes a two-pronged attack on the once-historic Great Metropolitan Handicap at Epsom on Tuesday.

Haseefah (Hollie Doyle) has run his best races at Goodwood and Chester, while Open Champion‘s (James Doyle) sole victory came at Lingfield, so both our representatives ought to be suited by Epsom’s switchback course.

I’m old enough to remember the Great Met being run over two and a quarter miles up until the mid 80’s. It was a unique race which started at the winning post before the runners would race away from the stands for the first three furlongs, after which they would turn right and race across the famous infield until rejoining the main course a mile from home.

Open Champion carries the colours of the Thurloe Royal Marsden Cancer Charity syndicate, who are enjoying a great end of April, having celebrated an exciting debut success from Royal Ascot-bound Dapper Valley at Newbury last Friday.

James Stafford and his Thurloe team have done a marvellous job of promoting the wonderful work of the Royal Marsden, and, though their Cesarewitch winner Buzz was sadly retired from racing last week, James is hoping that Open Champion might supplement Dapper Valley’s gains and top up the charity box still further by getting in the money here.

Our other runner tomorrow is Mr Rumbalicious, who got his head in front for the first time on the polytrack at Lingfield last time and now switches to a tapeta surface at Wolverhampton.

Alan’s focus reverts to jumping on Thursday, when Egbert is an interesting runner under in the handicap hurdle. Both this three miles and better ground should suit Egbert, and Alan, who plans to send him over fences next season, hopes he will be competitive even with topweight.